Prof. Phyllis CheslerThe writer, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum and recipient of the 2013 National Jewish Book Award, is the author of sixteen books, including Women and Madness, Woman's Inhumanity to Woman, and The New Anti-Semitism. She has written four studies about honor killing, Her latest books are An American Bride in Kabul, (Palgrave Macmillan) and Living History: On The Front Lines for Israel and the Jews.Professor Chesler may be reached at her website www.phyllis-chesler.com
Many Catholics disagree with Vatican policies. Some no longer follow tradition. Many such Catholics still enter churches at times of birth, baptism, marriage, and death. Some Catholics take confession--but continue sinning. Many Catholics celebrate only the major holidays--and many Catholics are either life-long and devoted members of the flock or return to the faithful fold after a crisis or revelation.
Oddly enough, disaffected Catholics--those who mock priestly hypocrisy; expose sexual abuse scandals with relish; and strongly oppose the Church's stand on many issues, including birth control, abortion, gay rights, divorce, and the Latin liturgy--nevertheless, do not launch full-scale, decades-long, global campaigns against the Vatican and the democratically elected Pope.
Catholics do not call for a boycott of the Vatican nor do they use the UN as a venue to de-legitimize or defame it among the nations. They do not infiltrate the Vatican or work with fifth columnists within the Papal State who also wish to bring the Pope and his minions down. Catholics do not demand that the Vatican end its "occupation" of Italy or turn over global church property and wealth to those who despise Catholic doctrine.
Catholic-Americans have not repeatedly enlisted leading-light academics and celebrities to join them in denouncing Vatican policies nor have they dis-invited, refused to invite or, black shirt style, drowned out the words of Catholic lecturers known to favor Vatican policies. Likewise, they have not helped create on-campus displays that attack the Church--year after year, and at which they physically and verbally assault students and teachers who are known Church-goers.
Most Catholic-American free thinkers, ex-Catholics, and those with major secular "attitudes," do not bring lawsuits in their own cities to deprive the Church of its not-for-profit status. (A handful have certainly tried to do so).
Victims of priestly sexual abuse have sued and sometimes won closed settlements. So have victims in other religions.
Priests and nuns who've left the Church sometimes denounce it. They write articles, they lecture. More often, they continue "good works on earth," live simply, and explain that they could no longer remain celibate or live within cloistered walls. Some priests and nuns marry each other. I have met them and many are still quite "spiritual," even as they sometimes undertake radical political work.
Only American Jews--our precious people, our remaining remnant, do such things; only American Jews launch campaigns against the one-and-only Jewish state and they do so year after year and decade after decade. Most live outside of Israel, some are Israeli citizens.
What can one say? Are they suicidal Jew-haters? Do they believe they are saving the Jews by appeasing our enemies? (They do not see it this way).
Do they think they are at least saving themselves in their own countries and circles of influence? (They do and they believe they have the right to do so).
Or, do they believe they represent the "best" ethical values of Judaism? That they are Heaven's agents, redeeming the rest of us from our provincialism, clannishness, and hard-hearted nationalism? (They believe this).
I meant to include this comparison of American Jews and Catholics in my column yesterday but then decided it was worthy of its own article.
As everyone knows, I was once a left-liberal but am so no longer; however, I have been and remain a radical feminist. I hope that liberal American Jews consider the ways in which they are different from liberal American Catholics. Perhaps this might lead to some self-reflection.