Ever since the explosive year, 1789, when the Judaeo-Masonic French Revolution set off the movement to knock down the walls of Europe’s ghettos, and spill their contents into every corner of Christendom, the Jews have been gaining one victory after another. As the nineteenth century progressed, the governments of Europe (whose policies were made in Europe’s lodges) even granted the Jews citizenship on an equal footing with Christians. Belgium did it in 1815, Denmark in 1849, Norway in 1851, England in 1858, Switzerland in 1865, Austria-Hungary in 1867, Germany in 1870.
But as the Jews have climbed from height to height, buying up the world’s Main Streets, and buying off its leaders, they have not lost sight of the depth from which, so lately, they have risen. Nor have they forgotten for a moment who it is that formerly kept them in such effective line. Their continuing bitter hatred for the Church bears witness to this. And since the Church is the communion of all her faithful children, gathered from every age, the Jews have reserved a special contempt for those supremely faithful among the faithful: our canonized saints.
Among the papers and periodicals that the Jews put out for their fellow Jews, it is an exceptional issue that does not contain an attack on some haloed and prayed-to Catholic whose memory is especially loathsome in Jewry. Recent victims have included: Saint Albert the Great, whom the Jews have never forgiven for sitting on an ecclesiastical commission that condemned their Talmud to be burned, over seven hundred years ago; Saint Pius X, whom the “brotherhood” Jews have indicted for his refusal to cooperate with a group of Italian officials because they had taken part in a synagogue service; and Saint Bernadette of Lourdes, whom Manhattan Jews have accused of a “disposition to bigotry” for insisting, in one of her prayers, that the Jews killed Christ.
Our Lord’s beloved disciple, Saint John the Evangelist, gets a resounding blast from the American Association for Jewish Education in its widely-discussed book, Of Them Which Say They Are Jews. Saint John, say the Jewish educators, is ultimately responsible for 2,000 years of Christian animosity toward the Jews. His gospel “makes of them utterly ‘the synagogue of Satan.’ Later events hardened the process into the classical anti-semitism of dogmatic theology and the consequent laws and customs of Christian society.”
Another recent Jewish book, Rabbi Ernest Trattner’s Understanding the Talmud, puts Pope Saint Pius V in the same list with Adolf Hitler, as an enemy of the Jewish religion!
Nor is this “publishing” attack on the saints a new strategy for the Jews. Established works of Jewish reference that have been in use for years are riddled with similar hateful accounts. The Encyclopedia of Jewish Knowledge, edited by the “scholarly” Jacob De Haas, has a gloating article telling how the Spanish marranos (fraudulent Jewish converts to the Faith) murdered Saint Peter Arbues, the Inquisitor who was exposing their perfidy. “In the crime,” boasts the article, “some of the greatest of the marranos, members of the Santangel family, participated.”
The old synagogue classic, Milman’s History of the Jews, gives vituperative space to several saints, but saves a particular venom for Blessed Bernardine of Feltre. He is the fifteenth-century Franciscan friar who hit the Jewish usurers of his day a mortal blow by establishing Catholic charitable agencies where the poor could get financial help, free of interest rates. Because of the militant preaching of Blessed Bernardine, the cities of Trent, Perugia, Gubbio, and Ravenna passed laws expelling all Jews from their territories.
In the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Blessed Bernardine is described as a “Franciscan monk and Jew-baiter,” but his account is abbreviated to make room for more famous Church “villains.”
That aging set of tomes, the Jewish Encyclopedia, is an arsenal of recriminations against the saints. They are listed individually and also under such headings as Chronology, Councils of the Church, Polemics, Popes, and Church Fathers. The Jewish complaint under this last entry is summarized: “The Church Fathers looked upon the Jews as demons, their synagogues as houses of Satan.”
This reasonable reaction, however, has yet to materialize. Indeed, the trend of the moment could not (even by deliberate plan) be better calculated to aid the Jews. Never before have so many Catholics written and published so many biographies of the saints. Yet, never has such lamentable treatment of the saints been presented to the world in the name of Catholic hagiography.
It is true there are still some reverent lives of the saints being written. It is also true that among the objectionable ones, not all are equally so. But there is a common spirit that, more or less, they share: a condescension toward the saints, as though contemporary authors, being enlightened men of superior culture, are presenting the saints for the first time in their proper perspective; as though they are finally handing us the true picture that centuries of tradition and love had served only to obscure.
Who are the writers of these new biographies of the saints? They are anyone who has the time, the typewriter, and the publishing connections necessary. By no standard are they the people who should be telling our saints’ stories. Even when they are capable writers (and that immediately narrows the field), they are people so pathetically remote from the persecutions, the penances, and the prayers of the saints that the holy subjects of their books emerge either as exotic curiosities, or as pious “good citizens” molded to the sanctity-standards of the author. In no case will the saint appear to be the flowering and fulfillment of all Christian life — the complete successes that balance out the half-tries and total failures of the rest of the Church’s family.
For a number of years, there has been an increasing volume of “convert” hagiography. A broad background of heresy, recently and hastily painted over, is apparently considered an eminent qualification for undertaking a book on a saint. We have, thus, been treated to such unlikely performances as: the biographer of John Wesley adapting his Methodist talents to the story of Saint Peter Claver, and the son of a pair of Salvation Army officers beating the drum for Saint Thomas More.
A popular, and perhaps inevitable, innovation in this field is a book of brief biographies entitled Saints for Now, in which the convert-editor invited lifelong Catholics, fellow-converts, and very-much-unconverted heretics to contribute the life of a saint.
The current big name in Catholic hagiography is a convert from Methodist-Episcopalianism. He has achieved his eminence by re-editing and re-issuing that standard work on the saints in English, The Lives of the Saints, by Father Alban Butler. A kind of self-made scholar, Mr. Donald Attwater has revised the late Father Herbert Thurston’s revision of Father Butler’s Lives, throwing out a number of “uncertainly venerated saints” and discarding all that still remained (after Father Thurston’s axe-work) of the Butler exhortations and homilies.
But in neither of these things does Attwater’s chief vice lie. It is found, rather, in his “scholarship” — the devastating remarks that follow upon the biographical accounts of the saints, most especially the saints of the first ten centuries. Saint Sebastian, the famous Roman martyr who was shot with arrows and clubbed to death in the year 288, is a worthy example. After giving Sebastian’s full story (the way it is found in the Roman martyrology, the priest’s breviary, and all the tradition of the Church), Attwater goes on to discredit the details as merely a “pious fable.” His “scholarly” proof? Well, it seems that among the many representations of Saint Sebastian that have come down to us in art, there are two early ones (a cathedral window in Germany and a mosaic in Rome) which leave out the arrows. Therefore, concludes Attwater, we have been hoaxed by the Church these sixteen centuries. For clearly, from this antique evidence, Saint Sebastian was not shot with arrows, and if this most colorful fact of his story is wrong, well, manifestly the rest can be of no value.
Deserving of particular mention, too, is Mr. Attwater’s London colleague, the Galway-born Jesuit biographer of Jesuit saints, Father James Brodrick. The Brodrick method is more direct. He goes after one saint at a time, bare-fisted, until he levels the holy man to Brodrick-size. A representative example is his job on Saint Francis Xavier. Just once does Father Brodrick commend Saint Francis. With an insidious string of adjectives, he declares the saint was “devout, selfless, chivalrous, and ruthless.” Before he finishes, Father Brodrick has deplored Saint Francis Xavier’s noble birth, his manner of teaching, his parish methods, his “ignorance” of Buddhism, his haste in baptizing, his clothes, his friends, his “abominable” literary style, his appraisal of men, his enthusiasm for the Inquisition, and his firm belief that people who die outside the Church will not be saved.
More devilish than this style of straight-forward punching at the saints, and still new to the world of hagiography, is the psychiatric approach: the evaluation of the saints in terms of those current myths of fantasy and filth which fall under the general head of psychological studies.
Only two years ago, The American Ecclesiastical Review printed the speech delivered by a mid-western auxiliary bishop to the newly-convened Guild of Catholic Psychiatrists. In his speech, the bishop advocated the application of psychiatric principles to many phases of Church activity, but especially to studies of the lives of the saints: “The hagiographer will explore the terrain with greater skill if a capable Catholic psychiatrist be at his side.”
Cited to the assembled psychiatrists as a worthy example of what the bishop meant was a new life of Saint Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower of Jesus. This book, by a French-born English priest, won itself some space in Time magazine under the caption, “Saintly Neurotics,” and has since been hailed in other Masonic and Jewish sheets as a promising sign of new liberalism within the Church.
The influence of this kind of talk about the saints has already begun to be felt. Devotees of the saints should be prepared (as one of them lately was not) to hear nuns in their parochial grammar schools make statements like this: “Lives of the saints? Oh, no, we don’t give them to the children any more. The saints, you know, are very abnormal personalities. It’s too much for a child to assimilate at such an impressionable age.”
Nuns who talk this way, and priests who write like Saint Therese’s new biographer, do not, however, concoct these ideas all on their own. They are not innovators but parrots — repeating, with Catholic accents, doctrines and dialectics that have their origin in the camp of the saints’ pledged enemies, the Jews.
Naturally, the Jews have everything to gain by any Catholic attack on the saints. But there must be an especial satisfaction in Jewdom when a thoroughly Jewish device is adopted by Catholics as a means of depreciating and debunking the saints. The psychoanalytic method of psychiatry, born in the brain of Viennese Jew Sigmund Freud, is purebred Jewish. The Jews boast of it.
Back in 1926, the B’nai B’rith Magazine for March carried an article entitled, “Is Psychoanalysis a Jewish Movement?” The answer was resoundingly affirmative, and a subsequent issue of the magazine (July, 1926) flaunted the fact that, “The doctrines of psychology originated by Sigmund Freud were first preached by him from a B’nai B’rith platform.”
Just a year ago last February, the Hillel Society of Harvard University had a full evening on the Jewishness of psychiatry, in a talk delivered by Dr. David Bakan, Jewish psychologist of the University of Missouri. Dr. Bakan had lately done a book on the theme, saying that it is impossible to understand Freudian theory if you do not understand it is Jewish. To an appreciative Hillel audience, Dr. Bakan summarized: “Freud’s psychology and Jewish mysticism are one in spirit. ”
In past issues, when The Point has decried various Jewish inroads and influences in American Catholic life, it has singled out the Church’s saints as exemplars of resistance to, and victory over, the Jews. In ages of Faith, it has been the glory of Catholics to be on the side of the saints, battling against the seed and synagogue of Satan. It is this realization that makes the apostasy of our “psychiatric” hagiographers such an incredible one: they have entered the battle and turned on the saints, with weapons supplied them by the Jews.
Those who want orthodox and traditional handling of the stories of the Church’s saints are urged to look for an old edition, pre-revision, of Father Alban Butler’s Lives of the Saints. Another valuable set of volumes, lately hard to get in English, is Dom Prosper Gueranger’s The Liturgical Year. Dom Gueranger, the tireless restorer of French monasticism in the last century, presents the saints in the light of their annual feast-day commemoration, reproducing the details of the saints’ lives which appear in the priest’s breviary.
Absolutely the best and, sadly, the hardest to find copies of, are those lives of the saints that were written by saints. Steady searching, however, will be rewarded with (for examples) Saint Gregory the Great’s life of Saint Benedict, Saint Athanasius’ life of Saint Anthony of the Desert, Saint Jerome’s life of Saint Hilarion, Saint Bonaventure’s life of Saint Francis, or the lives of Saints Malachy, Romuald, and Dominic Savio, written respectively by Saint Bernard, Saint Peter Damian, and Saint John Bosco.