Saturday, May 17, 2003
Dubious sources in Catholic Family News
Residents of St. Blog's will recall that the scandal involving Robert Sungenis and CAI in 2002 was sparked by his use of dubious sources in his article "Conversion of the Jews Not Necessary? The Apocalyptic Ramifications of a Novel Teaching." 1.
One of the key sources of last year's controversy was Sungenis' praise of Fr. Denis Fahey, a proponent of the Jewish Zionist conspiry who is held in high regard by both the SSPX and various White Supremacist organizations, and whose book The Kingship of Christ and the Conversion of the Jewish Nation received rave review by John Vennari in The Remnant (and is in fact, sold by the Remant bookstore).
Regretfully, in the past month evidence of another recent traditionalist use of dubious sources has surfaced. The latest issue of Catholic Family News, edited by John Vennari, features an article on The Attack on the Oberammergau Passion Play, which, besides prominent mention of Fr. Fahey, also mentions as a credible source Judaism's Strange Gods by Michael Hoffman II.2.
18. Talmud, Back to the Sources: Reading the Classic Jewish Texts, Robert Goldenberg (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), pp. 166-167. Cited from Judaism's Strange Gods, Michael Hoffman II, p. 6.> This is not the first time Michael Hoffman II is referred to by Catholic Family News. The March 2003 article "The Talmudic Touch: The Real Story of the Offertory's Replacement" by Craig Heimbichner also cites Hoffman's book as a source.
So, one may ask: just who is Michael A. Hoffman II? -- According to his website, he is a revisionist historian and investigative reporter, self-proclaimed source for "suppressed information on Judaism's strange gods, secret societies and psychological warfare and radical history", and when he's not inveighing against Zionism, the Talmud, and the Holocaust, or defending white separatism , he's attacking Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger as "covert adherents of the religion of Judaism. They are crypto-rabbis, loyal to Talmudic doctrine, rather than the authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ, which they betray". He even refers to the Holy Father as "the Judas Iscariot of our time." One doesn't have to look very far to find similar polemics on "The Jewish Mentality".
Traditionalists may have legitimate grievances about the post-Vatican II church and the right to express them -- and it is entirely possible to do so in a respectful and credible manner. However, one can only conclude that Vennari's high praise of such a controversial source3 as "one of the finest contemporary books on the subject of the Talmud" in the pages of Catholic Family News can only result in the further tarnishing and discrediting of the Catholic traditionalist movement.4
1) After the fallout Sungenis promised readers that this article, along with another titled "The Jewish Talmud - A Sacred Book?", will both "be reposted in the first week of November  with much more significant information, as well as a good measure of sensitivity to all parties involved." (Readers are still waiting).
2) Actual text of citations as of May 17, 2003. Perhaps Vennari may choose to retract his commendation (and remove mention of ) Michael A. Hoffman in subsequent revisions to his article.
3) In February 2003, the Anti-Defamation League has released a report of responding to the distortions of Michael Hoffman.
4) To give credit where credit's due: it was a post to a traditionalist mailing list that raised attention to Vennari's citations of Hoffman. I did some further googling on Hoffman and felt compelled to express concerns to a broader audience.