Sunday, June 6, 2004

Anti-Jewish Beautification?

From Jim Davila over at

"ANNE CATHERINE EMMERICH, whose visions were a source for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, is being beatified. (Via Bible and Interpretation News.)

Two thoughts. First, the timing is unfortunate. Although this seems to have been in the works for more than thirty years, by announcing it now the Catholic Church gives the impression that the decision to beatify her was influenced by the media attention to the movie and her influence on it. I don't think this is actually the case, but it would have looked better to put off the announcement a few years. Traditionally, the Church takes its time about such matters anyhow.

Second, however virtuous her life might have been, I have reservations about rewarding Emmerich in this way when her writings are so obviously anti-Semitic. Now there's ample precedent: John Chrysostom's sermons against the Jews (or, if you insist, 'against the Judaizers,' although 'Jews' is accurate as well) are virulently anti-Semitic, but he's still a saint. Nevertheless, I think the Church should be more concerned about such issues, especially given the media spotlight that's been on the Emmerich visions recently."

I would have to agree with that assessment. While it is not my place to tell the Catholic Church who to beautify and bestow sainthoods upon, I do think they should put more thought into the message they are sending with these actions. While we can point to many Jew-haters who were sainted in the past, I think perhaps there should be a new precidence. But I will admit that I am not unbiased.


The background image on this page is a Hebrew translation of the verse from Bob Dylan's song  It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), from which the title of this blog is taken. Translation courtesy of Yoram Aharon of Hod-HaSharon's page--found via YudelLine-- which has many Dylan lyrics in Hebrew.