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Friday, January 19, 2007

Carl Schmitt, Israel Shamir and Robert Sungenis

A response to Robert Sungenis' "Christopher Blosser and the Catholic ADL: A Review of Mr. Blosser’s Website"

Last week I had posted a brief notation on Sungenis quoting Shamir quoting Schmitt, responding to one of Catholic Apologetics International's "news alerts" promoting Israel Shamir's essay "The Tyranny of Liberalism" to CAI readers. (Note: Sungenis has since removed it from his "news alerts" page in light of this recent controversy).

It's not the first time Israel Shamir has been promoted by an extremist self-styled "traditionalist" Catholic. Back in July we had noted E. Michael Jones' "Culture Wars' Troubling Praise of Israel Shamir" (Fringewatch July 3, 2006) and Shamir's own controversial reputation among the left. Apparently once a darling of the Palestinian cause, his anti-semitism proved so toxic that he was deemed a public relations disaster and eventually disowned by his comrades (See Nigel Parry's The Israel Shamir Case and Roland Rance's Israel Shamir: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?, from the Socialist Viewpoint). One might get a sense of Shamir's worldview by his conclusion from his recent essay that:

Armed with Schmitt’s thesis and Bauer’s testimony, we may conclude: "the 'liberal democracy and human rights' doctrine carried by the US marines across the Tigris and the Oxus is a form of secularised Judaism. Considering the predominance of Jews in mass media and especially among the media lords, it is only natural that the ideology they promote is so close to Jewish heart.
Shamir's writings are similar to that of other anti-semites: society's ills perceived through the lens of a global Zionist conspiracy, "Talmudic" (or in some cases, secular) Judaism set against Christian civilization.

In this particular article Shamir makes use of Carl Schmitt, a Nazi legal scholar whose writings laid the ideological groundwork for the Third Reich. As I noted in my original post, while I am not necessarily opposed to an academic study of Carl Schmitt, in light of Shamir's own reputation and polemical worldview it certainly made for a curious picture to find Sungenis quoting Shamir quoting Schmitt -- so soon after last year's controversy when Sungenis was once again outed for his reliance upon questionable ideological sources (See Michael Forrest' Sungenis and the Jews).

Sungenis has posted a response to CAI entitled "Christopher Blosser and the Catholic ADL: A Review of Mr. Blosser’s Website" [.pdf format]. (In the event Sungenis decides to remove this piece following this critique, you may read it in its entirety here).

I am sorry to disappoint Sungenis, but his response to me reveals his knack for using dubious sources and a consistent failure to check his facts.

[Read The Rest . . . ].

My Refusal to "Debate" Sungenis:

Sungenis begins with the charge:

When I was alerted to Mr. Blosser’s website, I told Chris Campbell (our CAI promotional director) to ask Mr. Blosser if he would like to debate this and other Jewish issues in a public forum. Mr. Blosser returned the email stating: “debating is not my forte.”
Not true, and easily refuted by recourse to the historical record. Christian Campbell contacted me on 1/11/07 with the inquiry:
Do you wish to debate Sungenis about this and/or other topics (Zionism, Judaism, etc) in a public forum?

We would be happy to accommodate you. Sungenis is more than willing to debate and more then willing to remove anything that is questionable. As he is very busy, often times sources fall through the cracks.

I wrote back to Mr. Campbell:
Public speaking is not my forte. However, I may be persuaded to respond in writing to a particular article he has written on Zionism, Judaism, etc. (as time permits).
While I'm not enthused about speaking in public (being rather stage-shy in front of an audience), this is not to say I would be averse to responding online. I made this perfectly clear to Mr. Campbell in my response to his email, who then responded:
"I will forward on this email to Sungenis to see if he wants to debate with you online, via your blog and CAI's site, etc."

Consequently, I question Sungenis' skewed presentation of my response to Campbell. A disappointing, but from what I have seen, not entirely unexpected move on Sungenis' part.

Sungenis' Defense of Schmitt

Getting to the heart of his attack, Sungenis defends Carl Schmitt:

For the record, let’s examine Mr. Blosser’s accusations. Blosser says Carl Schmitt “had an active role in the Third Reich.” But the website he gives for verification (which is written by a Jewish author no less), never says that Schmitt “had an active role in the Third Reich.” The closest it says is that he had “ties to Nazi ideology and party.” ( So according to even this Jewish author, Schmitt was not actually IN the Nazi party, much less had an “active role” in the party. In fact, in a closing paragraph, the Jewish author admits:
“the SS publication Das schwarze Korps accused Schmitt of being an opportunist and called his anti-semitism a mere mock-up, citing earlier statements in which he criticized the Nazi's racial theories.”
So which is it, Mr. Blosser? Was Schmitt anti-semite or anti-Nazi? Curious minds want to know.
Contra Sungenis, we find -- from the same source -- ample evidence that Schmitt, while not a racial anti-semite (true), nevertheless bore a personal animosity towards the Jews and played an active role in the Nazi party. According to the article in question:
Schmitt's theories in ["The Concept of the Political"] were later used by the Nazis for an ideological foundation of their dictatorship, and Schmitt was later accused of having justified the “Führer” state with regard to legal philosophy. In fact, Schmitt, who became a professor at the University of Berlin in 1933 (a position he held until the end of World War II) joined the NSDAP on May 1, 1933; he quickly was appointed “preußischer Staatsrat” by Hermann Göring and became the president of the “Vereinigung nationalsozialistischer Juristen” (“Union of National-Socialist Jurists”) in November.

Half a year later, in June 1934, Schmitt became editor in chief for the professional newspaper “Deutsche Juristen-Zeitung” (“German jurisprudents' newspaper”); in July 1934, he justified the political murders of the Night of the Long Knives as the “highest form of administrative justice” (“höchste Form administrativer Justiz”).

Schmitt presented himself as a radical anti-semite and also was the chairman of a law teachers' convention in Berlin in October 1936, where he demanded that German law be cleansed from the “Jewish spirit” (“jüdischem Geist”); nevertheless, two months later, in December, the SS publication “Das schwarze Korps” accused Schmitt of being an opportunist and called his anti-semitism a mere mock-up, citing earlier statements in which he criticised the Nazi's racial theories. After this, Schmitt soon lost all of his prominent offices, and retreated from his position as a leading Nazi jurist, although he remained as a professor in Berlin.

One can charitably conclude that, in his haste to respond to me, Sungenis might have neglected to read the full text of the article.

Schmitt and Heideggar

As a study in intellectual capitulation to National Socialism, Carl Schmitt might be compared to his contemporary, the German philosopher Martin Heideggar -- both were initially enthusiastic about the advent of the Third Reich. Both joined the Party in 1933 of their own volition, and came to be appointed to signifiant academic positions within the Reich. Neither of whom were motivated by a racial hatred of the Jews, and yet their influence

Heideggar is a fascinating case, in that he perceived National Socialism as the realization of his own philosophical "revolution of Authenticity" -- when the Reich failed to live up to his metaphysical expectations, he bailed; the Nazis in return questioned his loyalty to the cause. I very much recommend Rudiger Safranski's Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil (Harvard UP, 1998) as an accessible study of this tragic yet captivating figure. As Safranski notes:

'We are faced with a Heidegger who is woven into his own dream of a history of being, and his movements on the political state are those of a philosophical dreamer. In a late letter he would concede to Jaspers that he had dreamed "politically" and therefore had been mistaken. But that he was politically mistaken because he had dreamed "philosophically" -- that he would never admit, because as a philosopher who wished to discover the essence of historical time he was bound to defend -- even to himself -- his philosophical interpretative competence for what was happening in political history.' [p. 234]

On the other hand, Carl Schmitt's infatuation with National Socialism appears to be motivated by something more than a philosophical interest. The blogger Waggish in his discussion of Carl Schmitt (12 June 2006) mentions some troubling biographical notes from Schmitt's academic career under National Socialism:

  • In June, 1934, when he called Hitler’s “Long Knives” purges “the highest form of administrative justice.”
  • In October 1936, Schmitt declared to a convention of law professors that German law must be cleansed of the “Jewish spirit.”
  • October, 1936 again, Schmitt also quoted Hitler: “In that I defend myself against the Jews, I struggle to do the work of the Lord.”
  • In 1938, Schmitt wrote that Jews sit around waiting for Christians to die in battle and “then eat the flesh of those killed and live off it” (The Leviathan in the State Theory of Thomas Hobbes).
  • Months and years after the war, Schmitt wrote in his journals such statements as “Jews remain Jews while Communists can improve themselves and change. The real enemy is the assimilated Jew.”
Racially-motivated or not, ideas have consequences. And if you take all of Schmitt's quotations together, I would say that they imply a personal attitude toward Jews (I dearly hope Sungenis would agree with me here) that most Catholics today, including Pope John Paul II and our present Benedict XVI, would find deeply disturbing and objectionable.

This particular subject is explored at length in Raphael Gross' Carl Schmitt and the Jews, recently translated into English and due out in June 2007 by the University of Wisconsin Press.

Gross questions the "antisemitism of opportunity" thesis -- that Schmitt's anti-semitism was a temporary affectation to gain favor with the Nazis:

Through a reading of Schmitt's corpus, some of which became available only after his death, Gross highlights the importance of the "Jewish Question" on the breadth of Schmitt's work. According to Gross, Schmitt's antisemitism was at the core of his work—before, during, and after the Nazi era. His influential polarities of "friend and foe," "law and nomos," "behemoth and Leviathan," and "ketechon and Antichrist" emerge from a conceptual template in which "the Jew" is defined as adversary, undermining the Christian order with secularization. The presence of this template at the heart of Schmitt's work, Gross contends, calls for a major reassessment of Schmitt's role within contemporary cultural and legal theory.
Looks to be an interesting read, howebeit not one likely to be mentioned by or endorsed on Catholic Apologetics International.

Q: What is "anti-Semitism"?

A common strategy of those who intellectually flirt with (or worse, embrace) the ideological right is to confine the definition of antisemitism to a purely racial hatred of the Jewish people, so as to excuse or explain away any other form of animosity toward the Jewish people. It is not suprising, then, that Sungenis has posted to his website -- perhaps as a defense -- Fr. Denis Fahey's oft-cited explanation of anti-semitism, which proceeds along these lines:

. . . many Catholic writers speak of papal condemnations of Anti-Semitism without explaining the meaning of the term and never even allude to the documents which insist on the rights of Our Divine Lord, Head of the Mystical Body, Priest and King. Thus, very many are completely ignorant of the duty incumbent on all Catholics of standing positively for Our Lord’s reign in society in opposition to Jewish naturalism.

The result is that numbers of Catholics are so ignorant of Catholic doctrine that they hurl the accusation of Anti-Semitism against those who are battling for the rights of Christ the King thus effectively aiding the enemies of Our Divine Lord. Secondly, many Catholic writers copy unquestioningly what they read in the naturalistic or anti-supernatural Press and do not distinguish between Anti-Semitism in the correct Catholic sense, as explained above, and “Anti-Semitism,” as the Jews understand it. For the Jews, “Anti-Semitism” is anything that is in opposition to the naturalistic Messianic domination of their nation over all the others. Quite logically, the leaders of the Jewish nation hold that to stand for the Rights of Christ the King is to be “Anti-Semitic.”

Unfortunately, Fahey's restricted definition of anti-semitism didn't prohibit him from indulging in fantasies of Judeo-Masonic conspiracies so off the wall that Hillaire Belloc was moved to say "The thing is nonsense on the face of it."

This is a bit of a tangent, but a fair, yet critical treatment of Fr. Fahey is Sr. Mary Christine Athans' The Coughlin-Fahey Connection: Father Charles E. Coughlin, Father Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp., and Religious Anti-Semitism in the United States, 1938-1954 (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 1991), an appraisal of Fahey's life and thought along with a look at his considerable influence over the "radio priest" Fr. Charles Coughlin. (Given that it's out of print and rather pricey, I may write a lengthier review of Athan's book if readers are interested).

According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, "anti-semitism" was coined in 1879 by Wilhelm Marr to designate anti-Jewish campaigns in central Europe at that time. Although it is a misnomer (implying discrimination against all semites), it is commonly understood to mean "hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group" (Merriam-Webster).

In 1964 Fr. Edward Flannery published The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty Three Centuries of Anti-Semitism, according to whom:

The distinguishing mark of anti-semitism is a hatred, contempt and stereotyping of the Jewish people as such. . . . it should be distinguished therefore from indiscriminate hostility to which all peoples and groups have been prey; from anti-Judaism, a theological construct, with which it has often been intermingled; and from anti-Jewish manifestations that may lead to -- or in history have led to -- but do not possess the attributes specified above.
Flannery's book documents many kinds of anti-semitism, from the classical anti-semitism of Greeks & Romans (motivated by offense at the Jewish refusal to conform to the religious and social standards of Hellenistic culture) to the religious anti-semitism and anti-Judaism of the Christian Church (manifesting itself in persecution, pogroms, massacres, social degradations, and forced baptisms) to the contemporary, racial anti-semitism of modern times (motivated by economic resentment and racial hatred, and culminating in the Holocaust).

The Anguish of the Jews, revised and updated in 1984, is considered to be a classic history of the subject. I agree, as Flannery does, that one must make distictions: neither disagreement with Zionism nor theological differences alone constitutes anti-semitism. But when manifested in such cases as Fr. Fahey's wholesale denunciation of "Jewish naturalism", or Carl Schmitt's call for a purge of "the Jewish spirit" from libraries, or Fr. Coughlin's serializing of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in his weekly Catholic paper, the line is blurred, and the consequences of such actions are all too similar to those brought about by a purely secular, racial hatred.

Upon reading Flannery's history one can only conclude that Fahey's equasion of anti-semitism with racial hatred, while etymologically correct, is gravely insufficient.

Global Anti-Semitism Review Act: "Marriage of State and Synagogue"?

The rest of Sungenis' response is rather trivial and covers old ground -- jabs at Jacob Michael (Sungenis and the Jews: Comments on a Controversy), Michael Forrest, and David Palm, erstwhile colleagues of Sungenis who have since distanced themselves in light of Sungenis' increasing radicalism. All of whom have already written replies to Bob's most recent accusations, and whose responses can be found here); likewise jabs at Jewish converts Roy Schoeman and David Moss and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops ("lackeys for Zionism and Judaism"); the ecumenical journal First Things -- all of whom together with yours truly constitute a "Catholic Anti-Defamation League" utterly beholden to "Neocon/Zionist political and religious ideology."

On the other hand, Sungenis appears to be quite perturbed over the passing of the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 and the appointment of Gregg Rickman in May 2006 to the post of Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism.

According to the State Department:

Shaped by Senator George Voinovich (Republican of Ohio) and Representatives Christopher Smith (Republican of New Jersey) and Tom Lantos (Democrat of California), the act mandates a one-time State Department Report on Global Anti-Semitism and subsequent inclusion of information about anti-Semitism in the department's annual reports on human rights and on international religious freedom.

Concern over the rising tide of anti-semitism in the world today? -- Surely a good thing. At the same time, the Pittsburgh Jurist reports that unnamed sources in the State Department did express criticism that this move constitues a "bureaucratic nuisance", creating yet more paperwork -- which I think is a valid concern. For Sungenis, however, the advent of the Act implies something more . . . devious:

In introducing Mr. Rickman to the job, the State Department gave him the Report on Global Anti-Semitism soon after his installation. It contains 12 descriptions of “anti-semitism.” Number 4 on the list says the following:
“Criticism of the Jewish religion or its religious leaders or literature (especially the Talmud and Kabbalah) is anti-Semitic.”

Number 7 says:

“Blaming Jewish leaders and their followers for inciting the Roman crucifixion of Christ is anti-Semitic.”

So, it looks like every good Catholic who is faithful to his religion is now classed as an anti-smite by the U.S. government. If you criticize the blatantly anti-Christian literature known as the Talmud, you are “anti-semitic.” If you even say an unkind word about the preposterous mystical musings of Jewish sages who wrote the Kabbalah, you are an “anti-semite.”

Some key problems with Sungenis' warning:
  1. The 2005 Report on Global Anti-Semitism" mentioned in Sungenis' paper and allegedly given to Rickman upon his appointment engages in a brief discussion of what constitutes anti-semitism and documents some blatantly anti-semitic incidents (desecration of Holocaust gravesites; vandalism of synagogues, an arson of a Jewish school, etc.). Anyone can read through the list and one gets a sense of precisely the kind of incidents the State Department is justifiably concerned about.

    However, what it does not contain is "12 descriptions of anti-semitism" as Sungenis describes. I've searched in vain for the specific quotations and am unable to turn up an itemized list of any sort, much less specific charges that "Criticism of the Jewish religion or its religious leaders or literature (especially the Talmud and Kabbalah)" or "blaming Jewish leaders for inciting the Roman crucifixion of Christ", in any context constitute anti-semitism. However, if we do a quick google-search we discover . . .

  2. . . . the source of Sungenis' news is none other than a frequently quoted source of CAI's "news alerts": the hyperbolic rantings of the "Reverend" Ted Pike ( "The Real Motive Behind the Department of Global Anti-Semitism). The "twelve points" Sungenis discloses are actually presented by Ted Pike himself, and are not actually conveyed in any kind of itemized format in the Report on Global Anti-Semitism. Yet this is deliberately inferred in Sungenis' presentation of events and his conclusion that "every good Catholic who is faithful to his religion is now classed as an anti-smite by the U.S. government."

    Sadly, again, a use of dubious sources and failure to do some simple fact-checking -- and Sungenis doesn't even have the integrity of crediting the source of this claim.

Sungenis concludes:
If you think about it, it turns out that the very country that claims it separates Church and State is now the very country that protects one religion above all others. It is a fact that Judaism is now protected like no other religion in the history of the United States, complete with laws against anyone who would dare criticize it. It is our first State-protected, State-advanced, religion. My, my, they certainly have some chutzpah, don’t they? I wonder what George Washington would say?

And who was behind this blatant censorship of our freedom of speech? That’s right, the ADL and the Jewish lobby in Congress. And do you know what is going to happen if these Jewish lobbyists get Congress to enforce this and other “Hate Crime” bills? Anyone who transgresses item Nos. 4 and 7 can be arrested and thrown in jail, including Mr. Forrest, Mr. Michael, Mr. Suprenant and Mr. Blosser, not to mention being thrown in jail for transgressing items 1 through 12, which, to varying degrees, are as ludicrous as Nos. 4 and 7. So, if you are wondering why I’m on this warpath, this is it; not to mention that the quagmire we now know as the “War in Iraq” (which has put the whole world on nuclear alert) was instigated mainly by the Jewish advisors in Bush’s administration.

Never mind that Sungenis' tone sounds like that of Fr. Coughlin with every passing day, please read the text of the State Departmment's report itself, and the nature of the incidents which are of concern to those who penned the Act: signs of an impending Global Zionist Domination or a legitimate cause of concern, worthy of monitoring in light of, say, past history? -- In the words of then Secretary Powell: "We must not permit anti-Semitic crimes to be shrugged off as inevitable side effects of inter-ethnic conflicts. Political disagreements do not justify physical assaults against Jews in our streets, the destruction of Jewish schools, or the desecration of synagogues and cemeteries. There is no justification for anti-Semitism."

You can imagine the same indictment coming from our own Holy Father, as when he met with met with the Anti-Defamation League in October 2006.

In his response to me, Sungenis remarks that he has made

"a concerted effort to clear up the so-called “source problem,” as miniscule as it is [by assigning] my capable assistant, Mr. Benjamin Douglas (who is also known for his impeccable scholarship) to be the fact-checker and source-exonerator for CAI articles on Jewish issues."
Perhaps Douglas should have taken a look at Sungenis' response to me before it went to press. I am open to correction, if Sungenis can in fact provide a link to the U.S. Report on Global Anti-Semitism which indicates what he says they mean.

My own hunch is that Sungenis simply read Ted Pike's own "news alert" and -- in typical fashion -- conveyed it verbatim.

Lastly, a clarification about my "other websites"

Sungenis accuses me of "running" a number of blogs and websites. Again, as Sungenis didn't check his facts, some clarification is in order:

  • Fringewatcher, with Matt Anger -- which, according to Sungenis, "alerts his audience to people like me who expose his NeoCon/Zionist “FIRST” and Catholicism second, political beliefs." Readers are invited to review the archives and judge for themselves. On a historical note, I was invited to this blog back in 2005, at the time I assisted Mr. Anger in compiling research into the ideological background and radical ties of John Sharpe and Derek Holland of IHS Press. I continue to contribute on occasion.

  • I also, apparently, "run a website totally devoted to the cause of Israel," entitled Catholic Friends of Israel -- again, a collaborative effort, founded by Don Kenner in September 2005. I joined the following year (July of 2006) with minor contributions of under a dozen posts, Don taking on the lion's share of the work and to whom I give due credit.

    To frustrate Sungenis' one-sided stereotype of "Neocon-Zionists", I might add that, from our correspondence with each other, Don is actually far more sympathetic to paleocons than the neocons, and in fact disagrees with me on the Iraq war ("before the Iraq war even began", he recently reminded me). However, we are mutually agreed on Israel's right to defend its existence as a nation against those who wish to obliterate it and the Jewish people. But again -- I am merely a participant of this website.

  • On the other hand, I do maintain and take credit for a website and blog on The Catholic Church, Iraq, and the Just War Tradition -- which "advances the war in Iraq and US/Israeli hegemony . . . a virtual “Who’s Who?” among Neocon warmongers and ideologues." The purpose of the website itself is to document, for research purposes, the Catholic debate over the legitimacy of the war. As readers can see, it is neutral in its effort to garner the viewpoints of those both pro and con: Michael Novak, Fr. Neuhaus, then-Cardinal Ratzinger,

    My blog is admittedly a little more biased -- for example, in "Pope Benedict, Modern Weaponry and Civilian Casualties", I disagree on Pope Benedict's prudential observation that "given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a 'just war.'" The last time I checked, however, the application of just war criteria was an area which Pope Benedict himself himself recognized "a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics."

  • According to Sungenis, "Blosser runs another blog designed to support NeoCon Catholic Republicans." While I do maintain the blog, its purpose is clear -- during the Presidential Campaign of 2004 we had a collective blog entitled Catholic Kerry Watch, a vehicle to give voice to those scandalized by Kerry's persistent claims that one could be a "pro-choice Catholic" on abortion and consistently support legislation in opposition to the clear teaching of the Church on any number of life issues (abortion, euthanasia, embroynic stem cell research). As the "pro-choice Catholic" phenomenon extends well beyond Senator Kerry to Catholic politicians on both sides of the partisan isle (Sen. Ted Kennedy, Governor Arnold Schwarcheneggar, Mayor Rudy Giuliani), Catholics in the Public Square was a natural offshoot of this project.

  • Finally, I'd like to thank Sungenis for recognizing The Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club; howbeit given notable events of April 2005, we now have The Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club, and I blog at The Benedict Blog.

    Against The Grain remains a vehicle for personal expression, whereas The Benedict Blog is exclusively devoted to monthly news "roundups" about our Holy Father.

In closing

As stated in my original post, I am certainly not opposed to a study of Carl Schmitt. One might benefit from a study of his work and a number of scholars have done so. However, any scholar bearing a personal animus toward Jews (fairly explicit -- in the case of Shamir, and certainly of concern in Schmitt as well) should be treated with caution and a degree of "academic objectivity."

I also think it is entirely possible to offer criticism of the Bush administration's proposal to roll back the tide of terrorism by transplanting liberal democracy on foreign soil -- and I think you'll find some conservatives who have done so without allusions to the expansion of "US / Israeli hegemony" and global Zionist conspiracies. Fr. Richard Neuhaus, for instance, offered a cogent discussion of this topic in his "Public Square" column ("Internationalisms" (First Things 148 (December 2004): 64-84).

My own personal opinion is that in light of Sungenis' past reference and persistent use of dubious sources (as documented by Bill Cork in 2002, and Michael Forrest in 2006), he does not at this time possess the ability to maintain a critical distance. This is evident in the general quality of websites that he uses has his sources (The Reverend Ted Pike, Israel Shamir, Michael Hoffman II, the National Vanguard, among others).

Sungenis quoting Shamir quoting Schmitt does not imply that Sungenis "is a Nazi." Nonetheless, I maintain that promoting an essay by Israel Shamir as a "news alert" to readers (not all of whom are, I would imagine, as intellectually discerning as Sungenis) seems to me a cause for concern, especially for a Catholic organization which had formerly indicated to its readers in September 2006:

. . . ever since our critique of the Reflections on Covenant and Missions statement was issued in 2002. We began to focus on politics, culture and other peripheral issues that were not the frame and substance of our former work, which started in 1993. Although those areas certainly have their merit, they have detracted from the expertise we offered to the public in the area of biblical studies. Hence, we are retreating from those more controversial areas for the foreseeable future so that we can concentrate on our areas of strength.


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Against The Grain is the personal blog of Christopher Blosser - web designer and all around maintenance guy for the original Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club (Now Pope Benedict XVI).

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