Those interested in discovering the true function of the Hillel movement, however, need not search beyond its name. America’s Hillel Houses are so called in honor of the rabbi who was for years, until his death in 10 A. D., the leader of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin. As a religious adviser to King Herod, Rabbi Hillel was one of the chief promoters of the slaughter of the Holy Innocents — that mass-murder scheme which was devised in hopes of killing Our Blessed Lord when He was a newborn baby at Bethlehem.
That such a prediction could be made matter-of-factly, even approvingly, indicates not merely a colossal provincialism, but also a loss of Faith.
In the second issue of The Point, dated March, 1952, we warned of the possibility of a national schismatical church being formed in this country. We are not sure of the motives of those who advocate Mass in the vernacular, but we are sure that one of the first, necessary steps toward establishing this schismatical American Catholic Church would be to substitute English, the language of the nation, for Latin, the language of the Church.
Across the nation this month, America’s great secular universities will resume production. Once more their doors will open and hundreds of thousands of eager young Americans will come flocking in, fervently convinced that to be processed by these universities, to cheer at their football games, and, ultimately, to receive their Degrees, is all one could ask by way of Higher Education.
But some young Americans will disagree with this multitude. Some, because they are Catholics, will feel that to attend the aforesaid universities would be gravely dangerous. And so, both to safeguard their Faith from the perils of secular education, and in the hope of nourishing it by a Catholic one, they will enroll themselves at those American colleges which were established in the name of the Church.
Though such motivation by no means accounts for the entire enrollment at Catholic colleges, the fact that it should account even for part of it is cause for annual September solicitude. For these students are not going to get the Catholic education they seek, but a secular education under Catholic auspices.
A Catholic education, as it was once given in those great universities that graced Europe’s past, is an education in which the Faith animates and permeates all that is taught. It is an education of which Our Lady is Queen — not in any soft, pietistic sense, but in the sense that all studies are undertaken for the supreme purpose of increasing love and knowledge of Her and Her Son.
This kind of education is the birthright of the American Catholic colleges. But it is a birthright they have sold, becoming instead the mimics and toadies of colleges set up precisely in defiance of Catholic education.
The American Catholic colleges ape secular colleges both in the kinds of subjects they teach, trying to match them course for course, and in the way they teach those subjects. Whatever their secular models consider important and inviolable, they consider so, too. Thus, if they are informed that “science” disagrees with Genesis, the Catholic colleges meekly set to work to make Genesis toe the mark.
Even the classes in religion which the Catholic colleges require for their Catholic students are given with an eye to secular standards. They are devoted mainly to the study of Apologetics — i. e., not what the Faith is, but how to answer heretical and infidel objections to it. The students leave these classes outfitted with a humble apology for everything from the Crusades to Cardinal Segura.
Nothing is so indicative of the state of American Catholic colleges as the fact that they have produced not a single teacher of the kind and the caliber that once abounded in Catholic colleges. They have, for instance, produced no great teacher of Holy Scripture, one who would know the subject thoroughly and inspire his students with a feeling and love for it. Nor have they produced a great Catholic historian, who instead of timidly and blindly following the anti-Catholic line taught in American schools, would lead his students to see history through the eyes of the Church. Nor a great theologian, who could teach the basic dogmas of the Faith in a way to make his students both understand and cherish them. These deficiencies in colleges calling themselves Catholic are at once remarkable, disgraceful, and pathetic.
Yet not only have they produced no great teachers in these fields, these are not even the fields the American Catholic colleges are interested in. They do not want to set themselves apart as distinctively Catholic. They want to make the grade with secular colleges, and are willing to perform any apostasy to do so. For example, they boast of the Protestants and Jews they have in attendance, and of the fact they never “proselytize” them — implying thereby that they have another, equally valuable truth to give their students, quite apart from the Truth of the Faith.
Still, despite all their efforts, the American Catholic colleges remain, in the eyes of their secular idols, hopelessly second-rate. And though this is glaringly evident, the Catholic colleges continue doggedly to follow the same futile path. They continue to hustle their promising young instructors off to places like Harvard and Yale, and try not to notice that places like Harvard and Yale never reciprocate.
But suppose suddenly, miraculously, the Catholic colleges were to change? Suppose when the students come back this month they were to be told that there would be no more aping of secular colleges; that from now on they would be taught thoroughly Catholic subjects in a thoroughly Catholic way? What would happen?
For one thing, it would cause more excitement in the country than an atom bomb dropped on New York City.
It would also mean that at last the Catholic colleges had stopped being the blind, though culpable, dupes of the Masons and the Jews. For, long ago, those twin enemies of the Church formulated and announced a scheme: they would rob Catholic youth of their Faith and render them submissive, by denying them a Catholic education and giving them instead one deliberately and subtly calculated to achieve Masonic and Jewish ends. This is the kind of education called in America “secular” — the kind of education now being given in America’s Catholic colleges.
Christianity is not, unqualifiedly, the religion of love. There are thousands of loves with which Christianity can have no part: love of wealth, for instance, love of honors, love of the pleasures of this world; also love of one’s neighbor, in the provincial, colloquial, community sense (that it required Our Lord’s parable of the Good Samaritan to explode); also, love of one’s family, in the possessive, selfish sense (which drove Our Lord to declare that anyone who does not hate father and mother and his own life also, cannot be His disciple.)
Christianity is not even, in the abstract sense, the religion of the love of God. It is not the religion of the love of the God we arrive at by reason. It is the religion of the love of the God Who is revealed to us.
It is the religion of the love of God-made-man, Whom we must first accept through Faith, and then must love with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and our whole strength: efforts of love we never could make toward God had He not become Incarnate; efforts of love we now must make toward Him, as to a baby in one of our stables, as to a teacher on one of our mountains, as to a victim on one of our crosses, as to a lifeless body in one of our graves; and, finally, as to a triumphant victor over our death, and a hostage in our tabernacles until the end of time.
Christianity is the love of the Word-made-flesh Who dwelt amongst us. It is a love of Him so intense that we are willing to share it with anyone who will take it, even with our enemies.
This love of Jesus, with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and our whole strength, is the love we are called upon to share with others. It is when a stranger has become our friend through his love of Jesus, that he then deserves to be called the “neighbor” whom we are to “love as ourselves.”
On the last day, one vast horde of human beings, who are going to be labeled “the goats,” when separated from “the sheep,” will hear our loving Jesus shout to them: “Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire.” I hope that on that occasion our sentimental evangelicals, our Community-Chest Christians, our American proponents of “Preach love, brother” will not be too disappointed at the astringency of Our Lord’s words.
It was not many months ago that the public press carried a news release from Tel Aviv which stated that a certain Portuguese Jew, by the name of Jacob Amalak, was currently visiting the state of Israel in order to hire rabbis whom he would bring back to the Jewish communities in Portugal. The article explained that in the last few years several thousands of Portuguese Marranos (Jews who have become Catholics) have reverted to Judaism. What is more, at least three thousand of these Marranos are from families which have been formally Catholic for the past four centuries, but have perpetuated, in secret, their Jewish doctrine and rituals.
For nineteen hundred years, now, the Jew has been to the Church a conscious and sustained cause of anxiety. And, ultimately considered, the worry has been less for the obstinate, Talmudic, controllable-in-a-ghetto Jew, than for the baptized one, the Jew whom the Church has established as a Christian, and set free in the Christians’ world.
Only by realizing that the Church has had, equivalently, to adopt a “fingers-crossed” attitude toward most Jewish converts, is it possible to understand her historic inertia in the matter of apostolate to the Jews. Indeed, our traditions have, in the past, led not merely to hesitancy in evangelizing the Jews, they have discouraged all but the most guarded contact with them. His Holiness, Pope Innocent III, was thus echoing the common sentiment of Christendom when, in speaking about the Jews, he warned, “They repay their hosts, as the proverb says, after the fashion of the rat hidden in the sack, or the snake in the bosom, or the burning brand in one’s lap.”
If the Portuguese Jews we mentioned at the outset are rather a remote illustration of what Pope Innocent meant, we propose to our readers the recent and devastatingly apropos case of the American Jewish convert, Leon Paul. Writing last month in Columbia, the official publication of the Knights of Columbus, Mr. Paul seems almost to have anticipated us and to have reasoned that the surest way to escape being called “a snake in the bosom” is to establish, ahead of time, that the bosom is a snake, too. To accomplish this, he proceeds to explain that the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God, is a Jewish convert, just like Leon Paul!
Mr. Paul leaves it to his readers to resolve the serpentine innuendoes in his statement. He fails to tell us, for example, at just which point in her life the Virginal Mother of God, chosen from all eternity as the bride of the Holy Ghost, immaculately conceived in the womb of Saint Ann, could be said to be without the Faith, and at just which point she received it.
Ultimately, in any discussion of the Church’s astringent outlook on the Jews and their conversion, there are these two questions: Isn’t it possible for a Jew to be sincerely converted and save his soul? Isn’t the Jewish nation going to be converted toward the end of the world?
To neither question does the Church answer with a rousingly affirmative, “Of course!” To both questions, her answer is a deliberate, thoughtful, “Yes.”
We have seen what gives the Church pause with regard to the individual Jewish convert, as she has known him down the centuries. Here, briefly, is why the Church has never been over-enthusiastic about the pending conversion of the Jewish nation. She has traditionally taught that (1) the conversion of the Jews will take place at the very end of the world; that (2) its primary purpose will be for a triumph over the Jews, the triumph of Christ, their rightful and long-rejected king; and that (3) to bring about this conversion, God will have to send Saint Elias, who will find it necessary to preach, die, and resurrect (to the accompaniment of some very persuasive earthquakes) before the Jews finally accept the Catholic Faith.