I was reading this document on the website of the apologist, Robert Sungenis. The essay is sharply critical of the remarks of emeritus Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza concerning Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate (relation of the Church to non-Christian religions).
On the whole, I found Sungenis’ remarks to be a cogent expression of legitimate Catholic teaching regarding the Jewish people, and a good refutation of the errors of Zionism which permeate many modern protestant churches and even Catholic priests and bishops. I would have preferred Sungenis to adopt a more respectful tone to Bishop Fiorenza (who is, after all, a successor to the Apostles), but his criticisms generally seem orthodox and accurate.
However, I was shocked by this quote (which spans pages 5 and 6):
the pope cannot mean that “Christians” are responsible for the deaths of Jews in World War II, since historical records reveal that no Christians killed or claimed to have killed innocent Jews.
That’s silly on several levels, not the least of which is that it is logically impossible. It is impossible for historical records to “prove” a negative - to even attempt such a proof would require documentation about each and every person who did kill an innocent Jew and reliable information about his/her religious affiliation. Silly. Not to mention, I KNOW a German who killed a Jew (maybe more than one - he’s never said for sure), and he is a lifelong Lutheran (and he is wracked with guilt about it). And, besides, as Sungenis surely knows, the Catholic definition of “Christian” is “a Baptized person” - which makes such a sweeping statement even more implausible.
Sungenis criticized the Bishop several times for making bold claims without offering any supporting evidence. Yet, this statement is bolder than anything the Bishop said, and lacks any supporting evidence.
I thought I would write to Sungenis to ask if he really means what he clearly seems to be saying here. But it costs three dollars to ask him a question, so I declined and decided to ask here (where there may be folks who have read more of his stuff than I).
He has been accused of being a “Holocaust denier” and an anti-Semite (he is clearly anti-Zionist, which is not the same thing as anti-Semitic, though they are often confused). I have not read a lot of his writings, but, until now, I have not read anything that seemed to clearly support either accusation (though some of his stuff has an edge to it that makes me uncomfortable).
But this statement - though it does not clearly fall into either category - seems irrational and extreme. Is this simply a poorly-worded paragraph or does it represent his actual views?