Christophobes at the Gates

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s “exposé” of “radical
traditionalists” as “anti-Semites” indicates a new phase in
the war against the Catholic Church.
Christopher A. Ferrara

“Unfounded charges of anti-Jewish sentiments not only malign the innocent.
They also create a ‘boy who cried wolf’ syndrome, in that they may
well render society insensitive to real bigotry when it does come along. I have
known Chris Ferrara and Michael Matt for many years. The notion that they hate
Jews is so absurd as to be beneath contempt.”
-Rabbi Mayer Schiller

“It is time for us to recognize the charge of anti-Semitism for what
it often is: a political weapon intended to silence critics of liberalism.”

-Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Jesus weeps over Jerusalem

(Posted Feb. 20, 2007 By now many readers of this
newspaper will have heard of the nonsensical and error-filled “report”
on the traditionalist movement by an outfit called the Southern Poverty Law
Center (SPLC). SPLC’s self-bestowed mission is to rid America of “hate
and intolerance,” which is how the far-Left describes any sort of effective
opposition to Liberalism’s claim to possession of the entire world.

Karl Keating of Catholic Answers deserves a great deal of credit for being
the only spokesman in the Novus Ordo establishment who has been publicly critical
of the SPLC smear job.

Keating practiced law before he decided to devote himself full time to Catholic
apologetics, and a well-deserved lawyerly contempt is on display in his critique,
which appears in “Karl Keating’s E-Letter” of February 6,
2007, under the title “A Botched Report on a Worthy Issue.”

There are, however, serious shortcomings in Keating’s critique, which
fails to take issue with SPLC on first principles, as even non-Catholic conservatives
have done. If Keating’s critique is any indication, the Novus Ordo constituency
of which he is such a prominent representative has failed to grasp that the
traditionalist movement is not some dispensable minority group whose fate at
the hands of the Liberal inquisition is more or less a matter of indifference
to the “mainstream” Church. Rather, this opening attack on the traditionalist
movement is an attack on traditional Roman Catholicism itself as the only formidable
obstacle to worldwide Liberal hegemony. Hence this article will discuss both
SPLC’s “exposé” and Keating’s critique in the
larger context of the crisis in the Church and the growing threat posed to her
by Liberal social order.

A Bogus “Exposé”

Without a shred of evidence (because there is none), the SPLC “report”
spins the tale of a sinister organized “network” of a dozen “radical
traditionalist” groups, most of which are legally and otherwise unrelated,
and some of which are in direct opposition to the others on certain issues.
(I had not even heard of several members of the “network” before
the report appeared.)

The non-existent “network,” which is gratuitously accused of “preaching
anti-Semitism to as many as 100,000 followers,” is alleged to include
The Remnant, Catholic Family News, Fatima Crusader magazine and the Society
of Saint Pius X—none of which preach “anti-Semitism” to anyone,
much less 100,000 people. In fact, the report fails to present evidentiary quotations
from the publications of any of the “dirty dozen” traditionalist
“hate groups” assigned to the fictive “network,” which
omission should demonstrate to any objective reader that SPLC has no case. (As
we shall see, however, lack of evidence does not matter for the preordained
outcome of SPLC “investigations.”)

I myself stand accused of “anti-Semitism” for nothing more than
defending the Catholic Church’s traditional prayer for the conversion
of the Jews (still in use with papal approval) and for objecting, on the pages
of this newspaper, that Pope Benedict had “abased himself by entering
a synagogue, this time in Cologne, to listen to the vain prayers of liberal
rabbis who condone abortion, divorce and ‘gay’ rights.” Typical
of the deviousness of the report is that it quotes only my words “abased
himself by entering a synagogue” while cropping out the rest of the phrase,
which explains why I believe this is so. The only other “evidence”
against me is that “Ferrara writes for anti-Semitic journals like The
Remnant.” That is, one false charge is used to “substantiate”
another—an old trick of the professional defamer.

SPLC also seems exercised by my representation of Theresa Schiavo in the federal
litigation that attempted to save her life. In the course of denouncing my book
The Great Façade as one of the “two treatises” of the evil
traditionalist movement, SPLC thought it important to mention that “Christopher
Ferrara was the lawyer for the parents of Terri Schiavo, the woman in a persistent
vegetative state who became a cause célèbre for Christian Right
leaders who unsuccessfully fought to prevent her feeding tube from being removed
in 2005.” Evidently, opponents of euthanasia are presumptive villains
in SPLC’s search for “hate and intolerance.”

SPLC’s “Hate Group” Factory

The report appears on the SPLC website under the following heading: “Intelligence
Report exposes anti-Semitic ‘radical traditionalist Catholic’ movement.’”
The “Intelligence Report” is the online and print quarterly by which
SPLC adds new villains to its ever-expanding inventory of “hate groups.”
I say inventory, because for SPLC “hate groups” are a capital asset.
Let me explain.

While SPLC, a nonprofit based in Montgomery, AL, was once dedicated to groundbreaking
civil rights litigation, with the waning of the civil rights movement it has
morphed into a self-appointed watchdog over “hate and intolerance”
and the activities of “hate groups” in America.

By “hate and intolerance” SPLC means any opposition to a dogmatic
pluralism that protects the promulgation of every conceivable form of error
and vice, while persecuting the defenders of truth and traditional morality.
Hence, for example, SPLC has denounced Pat Buchanan as a “racist”
whose writings against unrestrained immigration contain “echoes of Nazi
ideology” that are “clear and chilling.” SPLC’s quivering
antennae are so sensitive to any perceived deviation from political correctness
that it has declared the Lord of the Rings film trilogy to be “a glorified
vision of white patriarchy” that is alarmingly “Eurocentric.”

By “hate group” SPLC means not only the few bona fide racists and
neo-Nazi crackpots it manages to dredge up from the muck of obscurity, but also
perfectly respectable groups or individuals, including conservative think tanks,
whose opinions transgress the Liberal status quo. Roman Catholic traditionalists
certainly fit into the latter category, so it was only a matter of time before
SPLC got to us in its hunt for inventory.

The “Intelligence Project” is SPLC’s equivalent of an R &
D department. The “Project” literally develops SPLC’s raw
goods inventory of “hate groups,” which are then “manufactured”
into finished consumer goods in the form of the quarterly editions of “The
Intelligence Report.” The “Intelligence Report” is posted
on the web and mailed to SPLC’s 300,000 (so it claims) supporters, who
are urged to fear, loathe and oppose the latest assortment of “hate groups”
by sending SPLC money, evidently so that SPLC can publish the next edition of
“The Intelligence Report” identifying still more “hate groups”
to fear, loathe and oppose, and so on throughout the market cycle. This fundraising
technique produces an enormous flow of donations, far in excess of what it costs
to produce “The Intelligence Report.” There’s money in them
thar “hate groups.”

So, when SPLC decides to invest in a new capital asset (the newest “hate
group”) its R&D team at the “Intelligence Project” will
develop that asset—essentially by building up a villain on paper. In fact,
the entire market cycle of this operation exists on paper: paper villains du
jour are marketed to the market segment, whose members, if sufficiently alarmed
and outraged, send back paper checks for deposit into SPLC’s bulging coffers.
And it doesn’t matter how insignificant a “hate group” may
be in the real world. Many of the “hate groups” SPLC lines up for
denunciation are kitchen table operations which would have remained utterly
unknown if not for SPLC trumpeting the findings of its “investigations.”
(One particularly amusing instance is a gentleman on SPLC’s “radar”
whose principal occupations appear to be walking his two dogs in the park and
teaching English to Asian refugees.[i]) But once SPLC writers work their magic,
even the most inconsequential “hate group” is converted from raw
goods to the finished product of “The Intelligence Report,” with
its latest loud alarums.

In short, when SPLC undertakes one of its “investigations” into
a “hate group,” it is not actually seeking the truth about that
group. Rather, it is investing in the acquisition of a new capital asset, without
which SPLC could not justify its existence. You see, then, how it works.

SPLC’s Credibility Gap

SPLC, with an annual income of more than $30 million and an endowment of more
than $150 million, has itself been the subject of at least three major exposés:
in Harpers magazine, Human Events and the Montgomery Advertiser (whose series
on SPLC was a 1995 Pulitzer Prize finalist). These exposés variously
accuse SPLC of financial mismanagement and improprieties, misleading fundraising,
reckless allegations against the innocent, misrepresentations and errors of
fact, and bullying tactics of the sort employed by the king of anti-Semite mongering,
Abe Foxman.

Speaking of Abe Foxman, he and the chief rabbi of Rome, Riccardo di Segni,
boycotted a conference on Nostra Aetate hosted by Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger,
a Jewish convert, precisely because the Cardinal is a Jewish convert. As John
Allen has reported: “By boycotting a 2005 event featuring French Cardinal
Jean-Marie Lustiger, the former archbishop of Paris who is a convert from Judaism,
Jewish leaders showed ‘we don’t have to renounce our dignity,’
the Chief Rabbi of Rome told a national convention of the Anti-Defamation League
on Friday…. Di Segni thanked Abraham Foxman, National Director of the
Anti-Defamation League, for taking the same position.”[ii] So, according
to Foxman and Di Segni, mere Jewish participation in a conference with a Jewish
convert to Catholicism is a threat to “our dignity.” Some forty
years of Catholic-Jewish “dialogue,” including Pope John Paul II’s
visit to Di Segni’s own synagogue, have done nothing to lessen this sort
of Christophobia, even though Lustiger is one of the most liberal prelates in
the world.

Ironically, no one has assessed SPLC’s agenda more harshly than the conservative
Jewish columnist David Horowitz: “The purpose of this fear-mongering is
transparent. It is to fill the already wealthy coffers of your organization
by exploiting unsuspecting donors into helping you promote leftwing agendas
under the guise of civil rights.”[iii] In an Open Letter to SPLC President
Morris Dees, Horowitz denounced an SPLC hatchet job on conservative think tanks,
noting that the “report is so tendentious, so filled with transparent
misrepresentations and smears that if you continue to post the report you will
create for your Southern Poverty Law Center a well-earned reputation as a hate
group itself.”

Horowitz’s assessment applies with particular aptness to SPLC’s
“Intelligence Report” on traditionalists. Indeed, the first mistake
to avoid in assessing this “exposé” is to assume that SPLC’s
far-Left polemicists are bona fide “investigators” who conduct legitimate
“investigations.” They are, rather, professional smear-merchants
of the Left.

Keating’s Critique

Which brings us back to Karl Keating’s critique. Keating does not make
the mistake of treating the SPLC report as a serious investigation of traditionalists.
Quite the contrary, he pronounces it “a mess,” and points out a
number of whoppers which show that the “investigators,” apparently
led by one Heidi Beirich, know nothing about the Catholic Faith and next-to-nothing
about the very subject of their “investigation.”

My personal favorite is from Beirich’s apparent surveillance of a conference
put on by Catholic Family News: “apostate priests conducted a rendition
of the Latin Mass, a format dating to the Middle Ages…” It is amazing
how much ignorance of Catholicism is compacted into this one phrase. (The obvious
errors aside, it appears Beirich thinks altar servers in cassocks were “apostate

Simply hilarious is Beirich’s identification of blogger and traditionalist-basher
Stephen Hand, who was working as a paralegal last time I spoke with him, as
“a respected Catholic theologian.” And this, mind you, after a purported
“three-year investigation” by Beirich. With good reason does Keating
conclude: “[O]ne is led to believe that not only did the people writing
the report have no pre-existing familiarity with the Traditionalist movement
but that, in all likelihood, not a single one of them was a Catholic.”

Keating is on the right track when he observes: “The greatest fault of
the SPLC report is its lumping all Traditionalists into the anti-Semitism category.
There are some authentically anti-Semitic people within Catholic Traditionalism,
but I also know that they are not representative of the movement.” But
let us make an immediate caveat: not only are these “authentically anti-Semitic
people” not representative of the traditionalist movement, they are not
in the movement at all, but rather regard with contempt those of us who are,
as the fulminating hate mail this newspaper receives will confirm.

One can only hope that Keating is merely being arch, therefore, when he proposes
that SPLC, which aggressively promotes abortion, “gay rights” and
“gay marriage,” hire Catholics to investigate their fellow Catholics
for “anti-Semitism.” He writes: “I have a suggestion. Perhaps
the SPLC could use a small portion of its substantial endowment to fund an investigatory
team consisting of Catholics who know the Church, its history, and the faith
and who know how to conduct an investigation that will end up being factually

An investigation? But why, given Keating’s own conclusion that the few
“authentically anti-Semitic people” within traditionalism are not
representative of the movement? Keating does not explain this self-contradiction.

If Keating’s suggestion was meant as a subtly sarcastic closing remark
instead of a serious proposal, I’m afraid it doesn’t come across
that way on the printed page. Catholics on blogs and elsewhere are wondering
what sort of “investigation” Keating’s “team of investigators”
would conduct, and why it would have to be funded. Is he proposing a salaried
“investigative team” of Catholic anti-Semite hunters, perhaps with
expense accounts on the SPLC tab—pro-abortion blood money financing a
Catholic-on-Catholic witch-hunt? And for what? To “investigate”
a few traditionalists who, as Keating himself admits, are atypical? Again, we
can only hope Keating isn’t serious.

Keating is to be commended for having the hardihood to lambaste SPLC for its
blundering incompetence, when no other spokesman for his constituency was willing
to speak out. But by taking the rhetorical stance of a neutral observer who
suggests that SPLC’s bogus “investigation” was warranted even
if incompetent, Keating has not only contradicted himself but also vitiated
what should have been a simple defense of innocent people against a vicious
smear by a demagogic, Christophobic, pro-abortion, pro-sodomy, fear-mongering
far-Left organization that even Jewish commentators like David Horowitz rightly
hold in contempt.

Another problem with Keating’s critique is that while he notes that SPLC
has “muddied” the issue of alleged traditionalist “anti-Semitism,”
he himself has done so by failing to define the term. Heidi Beirich at least
explained to the press that by anti-Semitism she means “hating Jews.”[iv]
Under that definition, which is the only reasonable one, virtually everyone
SPLC accuses is innocent of the charge, for no true Catholic traditionalist
would even countenance hatred of the Jewish people. Surely, Mr. Keating would
agree with that proposition.

One must also take exception to Keating’s deduction that “anyone
having familiarity with the people who attend, for example, indult Latin Masses
will see in short order that almost no one there harbors prejudice against Jews,
just as almost no one attending vernacular Masses harbors such prejudice.”
While Keating hereby exempts from the category “true anti-Semite”
this writer and the editor of this newspaper—both of whom have been members
of indult parishes for many years and attend approved Masses each and every
Sunday—one must still ask what is his empirical basis for proposing a
correlation between Latin Mass indults or vernacular Masses and a reduced incidence
of “prejudice against Jews” (another elastic term that really must
be defined). I have heard people who attend both indult and vernacular Masses,
including Jewish converts, express legitimate opinions SPLC would pounce upon
as “prejudiced against Jews.” This kind of anecdotal evidence proves
nothing, especially if one does not even define “anti-Semitism”
(or “prejudice against the Jews”) to begin with.

Falling for an Old Trick

The Left has long used false allegations of “anti-Semitism” to
distract and discredit its opponents, especially Catholics. The most infamous
example of this is the libel of Pope Pius XII. As recently reported in National
Catholic Register, former KGB general Ion Mihai Pacepa has revealed a KGB plot
to portray Pius XII as “‘a coldhearted Nazi sympathizer’ as
part of a plan for destroying the Vatican’s moral authority.”[ia]
The libel of Pius XII began, of course, with the play The Deputy, whose producer,
one Erwin Piscator, “was a fervent communist with close links to Moscow,”
according to Pacepa.

Now the same stratagem is being employed to discredit Roman Catholic traditionalists.
The Left wants leading Catholics like Mr. Keating to distract themselves with
a debate over how many “anti-Semites” there are in the traditionalist
movement, while the entire world is anti-Catholic and the Church’s enemies
are surrounding her and moving in for the kill. The worst thing Catholics could
do at this critical juncture in Church history is to fall for the same old Liberal

Are Christ and His Church “Anti-Semitic”?

One wonders whether Keating is aware that he has stepped onto a very slippery
slope by publicly crediting the idea that the ill-defined “anti-Semitism”
of a few unidentified traditionalists is “a worthy issue” for “investigation.”
Keating should know better than anyone that it is practically impossible for
any Catholic, himself included, to engage in any serious defense of the Church
before a hostile “modern world” without incurring the false accusation
of “anti-Semitism.” All Catholics of any degree of militancy are
potential targets of this libel. Even Bill Donahue of the Catholic League has
just been accused of “anti-Semitism,” and has had to post a defense
of himself on the Catholic League website.

Catholic teaching itself is a fertile ground for the roving commissions of
anti-Semite mongers, who constantly seek to twist into race hatred the Church’s
traditional solicitude for the eternal welfare of the Jewish people, which is
necessarily combined with a realistic recognition of the fundamental theological
opposition between those who follow Christ and the Gospel and those who are
determined to reject both.

Consider, for example, the perennial belief of Catholics, based on the teaching
of the Fathers, that the temple of the Antichrist will be “the Jewish
temple, rebuilt by Antichrist in Jerusalem,” that the Antichrist himself
“will probably be Jewish, possibly from the tribe of Dan,” and that
he will “seduce many of the Jewish people by attempting to fulfill the
political aspirations they held for the Messiah.” This is precisely the
sort of statement demagogic critics of the Church would seize upon as “anti-Semitic.”
Yet those words appear on the Catholic Answers website in an article Mr. Keating’s
organization published in 2004, entitled “The Antichrist,” which
bears an imprimatur from Bishop Brom of San Diego.[v]

Now, SPLC denounces an unnamed “bespectacled” traditionalist as
an “anti-Semite” merely for noting that “the 1911 Catholic
Encyclopedia ‘predicts the anti-Christ will come from Jewry’…”
But the Catholic Answers article is far more extensive on this point, including
these teachings of Hippolytus and Cyril of Jerusalem:


“[I]t is in reality out of the tribe of Dan, then, that tyrant and king,
that dread judge, that son of the devil, is destined to spring and arise…
Above all, moreover, he will love the nation of the Jews. And with all these
[Jews] he will work signs and terrible wonders, false wonders and not true,
in order to deceive his impious equals. . . . And after that he will build the
temple in Jerusalem and will restore it again speedily and give it over to the

St. Cyril:

“Having beguiled the Jews by the lying signs and wonders of his magical
deceit, until they believe he is the expected Christ, he shall afterwards be
characterized by all manner of wicked deeds of inhumanity and lawlessness, as
if to outdo all the unjust and impious men who have gone before him….”

Why would a Catholic bishop, and a liberal one at that, give his imprimatur
to such an article? The answer is that the article in no way expresses “anti-Semitism,”
but rather the consensus of the Church Fathers on how, according to the traditional
interpretation of Scriptural prophecy, the opposition between two radically
opposed world views will work itself out in the time of the Antichrist.

Consider, as another example, the traditional Good Friday liturgy, viewed as
“anti-Semitic” by SPLC, in which Catholics pray “for the “perfidious
Jews [from the Latin perfidus, meaning nothing more than “unfaithful”]
that our God and Lord would remove the veil from their hearts: that they also
may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ… Almighty and everlasting God…
hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people: that acknowledging
the light of Thy truth, which is Christ, they may be rescued from their darkness….”

With papal approval, Latin Mass communities around the world continue to pray
every Good Friday that the Jewish people will be rescued from their blindness
and darkness. Is that prayer intention “anti-Semitic” or “prejudiced
against Jews”? If it is, then so was Our Lord Himself. For it was He,
the Jewish Messiah, who prophesied of His own people: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem!
thou that stoneth the prophets and killeth those that are sent to thee! How
often would I have gathered together thy children, as a hen gathers her chicks
under her wings, but thou wouldst not! Behold thy house shall be left to thee
desolate.” (Matt. 23:37) And it was Our Lord who said to Saint John, the
Jewish evangelist: “I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews,
and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan… Behold, I will bring of the
synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie.” (Apoc.
2:9, 3:9).

What is Our Lord saying in these scriptural passages? As the Church teaches,
He is not saying that the Jewish people are to be hated, for such hatred would
be a grave sin entirely contrary to the Faith. Our Lord wept with grief, not
anger, over the foreseen fate of Jerusalem (cf. Lk. 19:41-42). Rather, Our Lord
is saying that the Jews who culpably reject their own Messiah—not all
Jews by any means—would come to hate Him, and thus would betray their
own heritage as sons of Abraham. In consequence of their hatred of Christ, their
house would be desolate and their synagogue a synagogue of Satan.

The synagogue of Satan refers, then, to the haters of Christ, not hatred of
Jews by Christians, which our religion forbids under pain of mortal sin. Far
from hating the Jewish people, Catholics are obliged to love them and seek their
conversion so that they can be united with us in the Mystical Body of Christ,
wherein, as Saint Paul teaches, “by one Spirit are we all baptized into
one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles…”[vi] Catholics cannot
possibly hate the very people they are entreating to join their eternal family,
whose Father has a Jewish Son, born of a Jewish mother.

Stoking Christophobia

Yet “The Synagogue of Satan” is the very title of Mark Potok’s
lead editorial for the SPLC report. Potok aims to use the very words of Our
Lord to incite in his readers the fear and loathing of traditional Catholics,
prompting us to wonder if, when all is said and done, it is not Our Lord Himself
these witch-hunters regard as the ultimate “anti-Semite,” without
having the candor to admit their Christophobia.

What else but an ingrained Christophobia could account for SPLC’s attack
on traditionalists because they still defend Our Lord’s unalterable teaching
on the Jewish people, reflected in the entire Tradition of the Church—including
the Good Friday liturgy, which commands Catholics to love and embrace the Jews
by praying that they would come live with us in the household of the Faith.

What else but Christophobia could account for the spate of lawsuits all over
this country seeking the removal of Nativity scenes and Crosses from every inch
of public ground, and even the banning of the very word Christmas?

What else but Christophobia could account for the endless series of Hollywood
movies mocking and blaspheming Christ and denigrating His Church, while Judaism
and other non-Christian religions are treated respectfully?

What else but Christophobia could account for the nearly hysterical opposition
of Abe Foxman and certain other liberal Jewish leaders to Mel Gibson’s
movie on the Passion?

And what else but Christophobia could account for Foxman’s boycotting
of a Catholic-Jewish conference merely because it was presided over by a Jewish
convert cardinal? As already noted, Foxman and the chief rabbi of Rome shunned
the company of Cardinal Lustiger simply and only because Lustiger had had the
effrontery to become a Christian when he was a young man.

The “anti-Semitism” such people profess to oppose has nothing to
do, therefore, with racial hatred of the Jews—and they know it. Rather,
it has everything to do with conversion to Christ as such. The “anti-Semitism”
they see everywhere is really the theological opposition of Christ’s teaching
to their view of the world. They fear and loathe the Word Himself.

Jews of Good Will Oppose the Christophobes

But there are many Jews of good will who oppose this Christophobic campaign.
Perhaps the most dramatic example is Orthodox Rabbi Daniel Lapin, founder of
Toward Tradition. Rabbi Lapin’s public record is full of courageous statements
of opposition to the Christophobes. Lapin is “a strong supporter of Pope
Pius XII as a righteous gentile, a term he believes should be renamed ‘righteous
Christian.’” He has “lamented that the Holocaust Memorial
Museum presents anti-Christian propaganda…” Lapin has warned that
“the biggest danger to the Jewish people is not Christianity but secular

Lapin has also denounced the Christophobic double standard of “religious
liberty,” noting that “We see obsequious regard for faiths like
Judaism and even Islam, while Christianity is treated with contempt.”
He protests that “Nationwide, Christmas Nativity scenes are banned from
city halls and shopping malls but Chanukah menorahs are permitted. (They are
only cultural symbols, not religious, you see.).”[viii]

In comments particularly pertinent to this piece, Lapin, as Wikipedia reports,
“argues that Jewish-born liberals have redefined ‘Judaism’
to mean ‘liberalism’—and redefined ‘anti-liberalism’
as ‘anti-Semitism.’ Lapin has said: ‘It is time for us to
recognize the charge of anti-Semitism for what it often is: a political weapon
intended to silence critics of liberalism.’”

Another example of Jews who oppose the Christophobes is Rabbi Mayer Schiller,
who not only subscribes to this newspaper but also has gone out of his way to
defend it and the traditionalist movement in general. In addition to the quotation
that begins this article, the Rabbi has written: “The Remnant presents
a consistent, coherent God-centered, counter-revolutionary world view. In a
civilization permeated by evil and decadence it stands firm as an island of
sanity.” Rabbi Schiller was prominently featured in a documentary on the
Message of Fatima produced by the apostolate of another “anti-Semite”
smeared by SPLC: Father Nicholas Gruner. In fact, it was I who interviewed Rabbi
Schiller for that documentary, to which he provided key comments on the post-conciliar
crisis in the Church that could have been uttered by any Roman Catholic traditionalist.

Jews for Morality, headed by Rabbi Yehuda Levin, is still another example of
Jewish opposition to Christophobia. Rabbi Levin, listed as # 7 of Inside the
Vatican’s “Top Ten People of 2006,” has worked with Judie
Brown of American Life League, numerous bishops and the Pope himself to defend
the Catholic party against attack by the forces of political correctness. For
instance, when Fr. Paul Marx, former head of Human Life International, was denounced
as an “anti-Semite,” Levin came to his defense. As Inside the Vatican
notes: “Rabbi Levin’s active support for Catholic causes and values
is enough to make Catholics themselves blush.”[ix] Levin himself was widely
denounced by far-Left spokesmen for his leading role in organizing opposition
to a “Gay Pride Parade” in Jerusalem that was ultimately cancelled.
In a letter to Pope Benedict, Levin pleaded for papal intervention in the affair:
“We plead for the Most Esteemed Pontiff to strongly condemn the intended
upcoming sacrilege…”[x] Not even Catholics refer to the Pope any
longer as “Pontiff”—another symptom of the postconciliar malaise
in the Church.

One final example: Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation, whose President
is the prominent conservative Jewish political columnist Don Feder. This organization
has consistently opposed Foxman, the ADL and other Christophobes, and has even
decried “Hollywood’s Anti-Christian Crusade.”[xi] As the organization’s
statement of purpose declares: “Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation
was organized because we recognize that Christians are the last remaining obstacle
to the moral deconstruction of America, because attacks on Christians are motivated
by hatred for the values they espouse.” Precisely.

Who Are the Real Haters?

It was utterly predictable that Feder would become a target of SPLC’s
endless inquisition. Only a few months ago the “Intelligence Report”
denounced Feder for “the defamation of homosexuals,” because he
had declared in an address to a conference hosted by Vision America that “American
society is in a ‘headlong drive to normalize perversion and demonize dissent.’”[xii]

The demonization of dissent from the tyranny of Liberalism is what SPLC is
really up to. And there are no more militant dissenters from Liberal tyranny
than Roman Catholic traditionalists with their persistent defense of that robust
Catholicism so feared and hated by the same Christophobic regime that has “legalized”
abortion and “gay marriage” while banning Nativity scenes and Crosses
from the public square.

Who, then, is really the hate group in this controversy? Karl Keating needed
to address that fundamental question instead of leaving the impression that
the only problems with SPLC are exaggeration and investigative incompetence
regarding a “worthy issue.” Even rabbis can see that the “issue”
is not worthy at all. It is a dark day for the Church when Orthodox rabbis are
more outspoken in their defense of Catholics than Catholics are.

Why Is SPLC So Fond of Vatican II?

Still another problem with Keating’s critique is its failure to mention
a main thrust of the SPLC report: its attempt to stigmatize traditionalists
not only for alleged “anti-Semitism,” but also for their failure
to adhere to the supposed “new orientation” of the Catholic Church
since Vatican II. SPLC wants everyone to fear and loathe traditionalists because,
as Heidi Beirich puts it, they “reject the teachings of the modern papacy”
(what teachings?), the Church’s supposed recent distancing of itself “from
anti-Semitic teachings [what anti-Semitic teachings?] and the idea of forcing
its view of the world on unbelievers” (i.e., Christendom and traditional
evangelization). Summing it all up, Beirich refers to “the shadowy world
of radical traditionalist Catholicism, also known as ‘integrism’
or Catholic separatism. This religious subculture’s teachings have little in
common with the modern Roman Catholic Church and its universalistic theology.”

Note well: the pro-abortion, pro-“gay rights” far-Left has adopted
the neo-Catholic epithet “integrism,” establishing as a litmus test
for Catholics their willingness not to be “integrists,” but rather
to embrace the fiction of a “modern Roman Catholic Church” with
a new “universalistic theology.” According to the Southern Poverty
Law Center, a good Catholic is one who believes that since Vatican II the Church
has revised her teachings—indeed her entire theology—in ways that
uniformly delight the Church’s worst enemies. And “radical traditionalists”
are deemed a “hate group” precisely because they have rejected the
myth that the Church officially repudiated her own past during and after the

In short, the far-Left wants all Catholics to be “Vatican II Catholics.”
That is why, as Michael Matt reports, the first question to him from SPLC “investigator”
Rhonda Brownstein (a lawyer, no less) was “which parts of Vatican II The
Remnant rejects.” In their ignorance of the immutability of the Faith,
which the Council did not and could not change, Brownstein, Beirich, Potok and
the far-Left as a whole nevertheless perceive correctly that there is something
about the Council and its aftermath which represents a victory of Liberalism
over the Church—a victory the far-Left now seeks to consolidate. That
should speak volumes to every Catholic.

There could be no clearer confirmation than this “investigation”
of the traditionalist movement that the postconciliar aggiornamento has served
the aims of the Church’s enemies. Yet, as traditionalists know well, not
one of the postconciliar changes in the Church has been imposed upon the faithful
by a binding disciplinary command or doctrinal pronouncement. (The Vatican itself
now acknowledges, for example, that Pope Paul VI never legally prohibited the
traditional Latin Mass.) No Catholic has ever been obliged by the Council or
the postconciliar Popes to believe or to do a single thing that departs from
the practice of the Faith before the Council.

The far-Left’s truly diabolical strategy of setting up an illusory “modern
Roman Catholic Church” and “modern papacy” in opposition to
the perennial Faith is, therefore, a startling vindication (however inadvertent)
of traditionalist opposition to the aggiornamento and its disastrous consequences.
Moreover, by conferring its seal of approval on the destructive ecclesial novelties
of the past forty years, the far-Left has rather cleverly enlisted in Liberalism’s
war against the Church all the Catholics who have defended those novelties (none
of them binding on the faithful) against traditionalist opposition. No Catholic
should consent to be placed in that position.

Thus the question now squarely presented to every Catholic, traditionalist
and non-traditionalist alike, is this: Do you really wish to be the kind of
Catholic approved by the Southern Poverty Law Center? Or, stated conversely:
Should you not wish to be the kind of Catholic condemned by the Southern Poverty
Law Center? That is, a Roman Catholic traditionalist, which is nothing other
than what all Catholics were before 1965. SPLC’s “investigators”
know that much, even if they know little else about the subject.

The SPLC’s “exposé” makes it clear that we have entered
a new and especially perilous phase in the great conflict between the Church
and Liberalism: the phase in which the Church’s enemies will seek to divide
and conquer by branding the defenders of the unalterable Faith as “hate
criminals,” while offering what only appears to be a reprieve to Catholics
who are willing to temporize.

An Appeal for Mutual Assistance

Thanks are owed to Karl Keating for taking SPLC to task. But I would invite
him and his colleagues to join with us in recognizing, as even the cited rabbis
recognize, that this witch-hunt for “anti-Semitic” traditionalists
is not something that will safely pass them by. Rather, it is a warning to all
Catholics that if we do not unite for our common defense and the defense of
Holy Church against her external enemies, the ever-more-powerful regime of dogmatic
pluralism will extinguish everywhere—from the heights of the Vatican to
the lowliest parish pulpit—any uncompromising public defense of the Catholic
religion, or indeed any religion that seeks to defend something as basic as
the natural law.

Consider these developments:

In France, a member of parliament was just fined the equivalent $4,000 for
a few critical remarks on “gay marriage.”

A leading French traditionalist has been hauled into court several times for
alleged “anti-Semitic” writings, escaping liability each time only
because he had used Jewish sources to support his entirely legitimate contentions.

German home schoolers are being taken from their parents and locked up in psychiatric

As WorldNet Daily reports: “Two Christians in Australia have been indicted
for criticizing Islam, and another for criticizing Zionism.

“A filmmaker has been threatened with arrest for using the word ‘homosexual’
rather than ‘gay.’

“Now a German priest faces jail time for publicly criticizing abortionists,
and in Holland, ‘fornicators’ and ‘adulterers’ are protected
classes and cannot be criticized.”[xiii]

In England, as the Bishop of Paisley has warned, the 2006 Equality Act “will
force Catholic adoption agencies to place children with same-sex couples and
thereby go against the teaching and practice of the Catholic Church… or
else face legal challenge and possible prosecution.”[xiv]

Under German and French hate crimes law, criminal cases can be opened against
Americans based on the international propagation of website material, leaving
the accused subject to arrest if he sets foot in either country.

The New Word Order is relentlessly establishing a universal rule of criminal
law to enforce political correctness, along with abortion on demand and “gay
rights.” And America will be no exception. EWTN is already censoring its
own broadcasts to Canada for fear of hate crimes liability. Meanwhile, the Democrat-controlled
Congress is pressing ever closer to the enactment of thought crimes legislation
in America. The pending Conyers federal “hate crimes” bill would
allow prosecutors to introduce evidence of religious beliefs in “hate
crimes” prosecutions involving acts of violence. Abe Foxman’s ADL
has concocted the “David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act” (H.R. 245),
which was actually passed by the House in 2005 under a different title. Under
this legislation, even an alleged attempted assault (no physical contact) carries
a ten year federal prison term if the alleged motive was “race, color,
national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability…”All
the accuser need do is claim that the alleged assailant “came at me”
or “raised his fist and threatened me” in order to trigger federal
jurisdiction. And how long will it be before the requirement of physical violence
or attempted violence is dropped and words alone become the crime, as they already
are in Europe?

Not even purely political speech is safe from repression. Catholic Answers
itself has already been subjected to an IRS investigation prompted by the frivolous
complaint of the execrable Frances Kissling, merely because it published a voter’s
guide on life issues. The recently floated Pelosi lobbying bill would require
organizations and even parishes that make broadly defined political action appeals
to more than 500 members of the general public to register and submit onerous
reports to the government under penalty of fines and criminal sanctions.

And while all this is going on, organizations like the ADL and the SPLC, with
its “hate groups” list and “hate groups map,” are clearly
paving the way for criminal prosecutions of thought crimes like those now taking
place in Europe and Canada.

Vatican expert John Allen, who is no traditionalist, sums up the situation
this way: “Can the train-wreck of a church/state crisis be avoided? Benedict
XVI is, among other things, a musician, and he has tried to strike the right
tone; the question is whether he or anyone else can complete the score, while
also managing to stay out of jail.”[xv] As the tyrannical modern state
and the tyranny of public opinion combine against Christianity, let no Catholic
delude himself that he can placate these forces by agreeing to remain silent
about certain aspects of the Catholic Faith, such as the teaching of Our Lord
Himself concerning the Jewish people. There will be no refuge of respectability
even for the somewhat more politically correct Catholic, nor any friendly accord
with the Church’s enemies setting limits to the persecution that has already

As even Rabbi Lapin of Toward Tradition has said apropos Abe Foxman and The
Passion of Christ: “What he [Foxman] is saying is that the only way to
escape the wrath of Foxman is to repudiate your faith.”[xvi] The same
is true on every other front of the war of the Christophobes against Christ
and His Church: capitulate or be condemned to the Liberal Inquisition. Unless
Catholics, both traditionalist and non-traditionalist, unite and begin a joint
counterattack now, it may soon be too late to resist without risking a jail

The World Needs the Church Militant

But no counterattack can be effective without a revival of the Church militant.
Traditionalists understand that at present the laity is an army without generals.
We cannot combat the forces arrayed against us with any decisive impact so long
as the leadership of the Church remains debilitated by the recently emergent
viruses of “ecumenism,” “dialogue,” “inter-religious
dialogue” and “collegiality.” Nor will the army increase in
numbers and fervor on the strength of an ever-more-degenerate vernacular liturgy
(never imposed on the Church de jure) that even culturally literate Protestants
find unbearable.

Only the Church militant, in all her authority, power and glory, can lead a
counterattack that would deter persecution and save our civilization. This is
not triumphal boasting, but rather a matter of common sense readily grasped
by non-Catholics. Take, for example, Rabbi Levin of Jews for Morality, who has
recently observed: “I am saying with certitude—with a logical certitude—that
the group in Western Civilization and perhaps in World Civilization with the
most potential to act as a catalyst for a moral counterattack, pushing back
the barbarians… are Catholics. You don’t have to be a prophet to
understand that.”[xvii] It is a symptom of the depth of the Church’s
current malaise that this rabbi sees what Catholics have all but completely
lost sight of in the postconciliar delirium of “dialogue with the modern

But the necessary ecclesial revival can and will happen before this world comes
to an end. The renowned Italian Catholic intellectual, Antonio Socci, has recognized
this in his groundbreaking book Il Quarto Segreto di Fatima (“The Fourth
Secret of Fatima”). While Socci set out to refute traditionalist contentions
concerning the Third Secret of Fatima, the Consecration of Russia and the crisis
in the Church, Socci admits that “in the end, I had to surrender.”
Socci is now convinced, along with every traditionalist, that the Third Secret
must predict the near-apocalyptic events in the Church since the Council. He
is also convinced that when the Consecration is finally done it will be a testament
to the power of the papacy as a divine instrument, producing a victory even
greater than the one against Islam at Lepanto—“an extraordinary
change of the world, an overthrow of the mentality dominating modernity, probably
following dramatic events for humanity.” And with this, writes Socci,
the Church will undergo “a clear ‘conversion’ to doctrinal
orthodoxy after the frightening abandonments following the Council, and, I hold,
a return also to adoration, therefore also a return to the bimillenial liturgy
of the Church…”

Last December, Socci signed a public manifesto calling for the universal “liberation”
of the traditional Latin Mass. The “Socci Manifesto” forthrightly
decries “the disaster, the actual cultural destruction, represented by
the ‘prohibition’ of the liturgy of Saint Pius V and the disappearance
of Latin as sacred language of the Catholic Church” and declares that
“the effects were disastrous. The road to incredible abuses in the liturgy
was opened.” Socci has delivered a stunning vindication of the traditionalist
cause within the very mainstream of the post-conciliar establishment. But many
more such breakthroughs are needed before our situation can be reversed—breakthroughs,
above all, at the level of the Vatican.

Back in 1998 Mr. Keating wrote these words as editor of This Rock magazine:
“The mainstream Traditionalist movement is right about so much (about
nearly everything, one is tempted to say), but it is plagued with a few malcontents
whose understanding of doctrine and liturgy is proportionate to their docility
and sweet-temperedness.”[xviii] Let us grant the validity of that rather
elegantly stated objection, while pointing out that there are unfortunate personalities
at the margins of every movement, most certainly including those movements of
a “Novus Ordo” character. Having granted the objection, however,
let us answer it with a much larger one: that a few crackpots who call themselves
traditionalists are nothing compared with the legions of crackpots who have
celebrated the sacking of the Roman liturgy and the near-total destruction of
the Church militant over the past forty years. They comprise a movement all
Catholics, not just traditionalists, should have been opposing from the moment
it began.

A Fraternal Plea

I conclude with a plea to our non-traditionalist brethren in America to admit
openly, as Antonio Socci has done so courageously in Italy, what they must already
know in their hearts: that the future of the Church, and thus the world, lies
in the recovery of Catholic Tradition. The Church’s human element must
be fully reconnected to Tradition if there is to be an end to what Cardinal
Ratzinger called “a continuing process of decay that has gone on largely
on the basis of appeals to the Council…” The traditionalist movement
is right—not because its members have any special merit, but because they
have simply gone on being what Catholics always were before the Church was afflicted
by that same confusion the enemies of the Faith would have every Catholic embrace
as a new orthodoxy acceptable to the world, so that we might all be trampled
underfoot as the salt that has lost its savor.

Let Catholics, by the grace of God, overcome the human divisions that have
plagued the Church and made her vulnerable to her enemies because of a failed
experiment in novelty that no one is bound to continue. All Catholics, whether
or not they call themselves traditionalists, must return to Tradition without
reserve if they would arm themselves against a world that is warring on the
Church as never before. And by the world’s hatred we will know that we
have lived up to our duty as confirmed soldiers of Christ. “If the world
hates you, know that it has hated me before you. If you had been of the world,
the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have
chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19).
In our day it is truer than ever that the world’s hatred is the sign of
Catholic fidelity, and the world’s approval the sign that a Catholic has
lost his way. That is the lesson we should all learn from this affair.

Send a Comment

This article of yours on the SPLC and Catholic tradition is one of the best
that I have ever read. Thank God that there are still people like you who have
the courage to write about and defend the faith against its enemies. If only
your words could reach a more wider audience then they do now. Many people agree
with you and would stand up and be more vocal if they had the leadership to
help them do so.

Sadly, as you well know, this is something that we rarely get from our Bishops.
Just recently, for example, the NJ Catholic bishops conference agreed to remain
almost silent on the states new "gay marriage" law providing that
it was downgraded to a "civil union." The almost absolute silence
of our bishops is a devastating shame. Keep up the great work in defending tradition.
R. Kearney

February 21: I long have said the SPLC is nothing but a coterie of hyper-hypocritical,
Christ-hating, Trotskyite monsters. It is a perfect example of Marxist Antonio
Gramsci’s call for revolutionaries to make the long march through the
institutions, weaving in slowly, and then when exposed, pleading innocence while
simultaneously smearing those who begin to tell the truth about the Christ-hating
basis for the subversion. Unlike Ferrara, I see no value ever in the SPLC; it
began as a Christ-hating cultural Marxist group and so today is no different
than it was at its inception. Inherent in the SPLC at its birth was this recent
series of overt Christophobia acts.

The difference is the boldness. Now that SPLC is, in addition to being filthy
rich, in bed in with various and sundry Christ-hating academics, journalists,
and government officials who also have woven into the fabric of American life,
it can be more open in its Christophobia, as well as its hatred of all European
ethnic and cultural groups. The SPLC, like a Trotsky or Zinoviev, assumes that
its lies and smears will be taken as Gospel and so pushes its war against Christ,
calling it tolerance of diversity.

Perhaps The Remnant is producing the Solzhenitsyns to catalogue the atrocities
of the boldest and most sanctimonious Christ-hating monsters of our time and
place. James Cantrell

February 22: I enjoyed Christopher Ferrara’s article. But I wonder if it was
worth the trouble. I think the SPLC may be a force to be reckoned with but only
in their own minds. I have been in law enforcement for 26 years and have never
heard of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Maybe they ‘educate’ a few high school
security guards down South but I’d be very surprised if they’re taken seriously
anywhere else. My advice? Ignore them–everybody else does! F. Malone

February 23: As a traditional Catholic and a Southerner I’m doubly damned in
the eyes of the SPLC. Frankly I’d be ashamed to be in their good graces. But
they do have influence. They won’t hesitate to make an accusation of racism
or anti-Semitism. Once the accusation is made, it has to be answered. Since
you can’t prove that you’re not racist or anti-Semitic, you no longer have a
place at the table. Politics isn’t reason, but force. No one should be influenced
by fallacies. But people are. H. Crews

February 24: F. Malone says the SPLC should be ignored because it has no power.
That assertion could not be more wrong, and I wonder how anyone who read the
articles by Ferrara and Matt could come to such an erroneous conclusion. The
SPLC has the ears of all kinds of powerful people in journalism and academia
who are full allies in the Christ-hating culture war. In addition, many law
enforcement agencies not merely pay attention to SPLC ‘intelligence reports’
but also use the SPLC, as they use the ADL, as an unofficial source of spying
on citizens. The threat to the livelihoods of people from that has grown with
the rise of the Orwellian ‘hate crimes’ laws, which to be passed
require the lies and distortions and Christ-hating perspectives of the SPLC
and similar groups.

What the SPLC wants is to spy and spread its lies and Christ-hating without
any question of it, its activists, its financiers, and their motives. F. Malone’s
suggestion would give the SPLC everything it needs to continue to wage war against
Christ and for its form of cultural Marxism. Not only should The Remnant continue
to call attention to this Christ-hating coterie of deceivers but it also should
call upon others to do the same. Ignore the SPLC and it will sneak around and
attack even more people more savagely. Ignoring the SPLC is as reasonable as
a call to ignore Stalin or Hitler. J. Cantrell
February 24: Hopefully, your article will enlighten many who continue to think
the SPLC is a worthiwhile organization. There is one thing, however, you did
not touch upon. SPLC actually provides TRAINING to law enforcement agencies
around the country. From what I’ve read (on the internet) SPLC trains law enforcement
in the recognition of "hate-criminals" and potential terrorists. I
do not not how much of this actually takes place; but the thought of any law
enforcement officers being trained by this group is frightening. In 2004, I
was part of a protest of the SPLC in Montgomery, Al. I carried a sign that said,
"SPLC is a Hate Organization". Thank you for your article. I hope
it will helpl wake people up.
J. Allen (Tuscaloosa, Al.)