Several Rabbi's arrested for kidnapping, and beating


I’m heading home last night, it was after 10pm, and im listening to EWTN. This caller called about why not much news was given to Protestant child abuse cases, or other type of pastoral abuses for that matter, or in this particular case where Rabbi’s in New York and New Jersey were getting paid by a wife to kidnap or beat their husbands so they could get a divorce. The caller was stating how when the Church was going through the Priest abuse scandal it was always headline news, but these cases weren’t.


Because the Catholic Church is the only entity left that’s okay to vilify.


I think there are a lot of layers to the media bias.

First and foremost, it is because the secular media is, well, secular and therefore worldly. The World will always oppose Christ and Christ’s Church, until the final victory at the Second Coming.

On a more immediate level there are a lot of proximate factors involved. One is that anti-Catholicism is socially tolerated in the United States (and Western Civilization in general) in a way that bigotry or perceived bigotry against almost any other group is not.

The historical success of the Catholic Church is part of this. We are the biggest single religious group in the world, and in this country as well. That means we are immediately recognizable, and isolated stories can be tied into a narrative people are already familiar with. The media are concerned first with the truth and real importance of their stories (at least while journalists are young and naive) but second and almost equally with public interest in their stories and the financial considerations tied to that. In other words, a big target is easy to hit, and a big name is easy for everyone to recognize. Further, the larger and more powerful a group is, or is perceived to be, the less likely the average Joe is to believe they are misunderstood and victimized by bigotry. People are therefore more ready to believe bad things about a large and influential demographic than about a small, weak minority.

Still another reason is that Western Civilization as a whole, and many journalists individually, are still in a state of reaction against the Catholic Church. Modern Western Civilization is, almost by definition, the civilization of apostasy from Catholicism. It is defined by the rejection of Catholicism almost as much as Medieval Western Civilization was defined by the acceptance of it.

Moreover, many prominent journalists are themselves either “former” Catholics or highly heterodox Catholics. All this makes them view scandals in or disagreements with the Catholic Church through a completely different lens than that through which they view every other religion or demographic. They really, deeply, personally believe that the Catholic Church (and, for some people, Christianity as a whole) is wrong, both morally and intellectually wrong, in a way that bears no comparison to their perception of any other group. They believe this so thoroughly that they do not seriously entertain the idea that their particular attack on the Catholic Church could be anything but objective and justified.


Wow. If this is true then this is very disgusting. Kidnapping and torture is always wrong and gravely immoral.

[quote=Catechism of the Catholic Church]**2297 ***Kidnapping *and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means of threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are morally wrong. *Terrorism *threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity. *Torture *which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and *sterilizations *performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.


This story was featured on the CNN homepage for several days last week… I recall reading it.


I had not seen it before now.


Here’s an article from The Forward, a Jewish paper for a little background:

While the public response to the story has ranged from outrage to astonishment, the reality is that the use of violent sanction in these circumstances has been a feature of Jewish family law for millennia. Under Jewish law, while a wife can refuse to accept a divorce, only a husband can initiate religious divorce proceedings. Moreover, the husband must grant the divorce willingly, leaving the wife unable to divorce — and in turn, remarry — without the husband’s consent.
In ancient and medieval times, however, there existed an important institutional safeguard. A woman could petition the rabbinical court for a divorce by alleging fault, such as when the husband refuses to fulfill his financial and emotional obligations. If she were successful, the husband would be required by the rabbinical court to execute the get and thereby divorce his wife.

           If a husband refused to comply with the ruling, the  rabbinical court could authorize the use of violent force against the  husband. While divorces cannot be executed under duress, it was simply  unimaginable that a husband would so cruelly leave his wife trapped in a  nonfunctional marriage. Thus, force simply served as a vehicle to free  the husband’s inner desire to do the right thing and grant his wife a  divorce.
           Unfortunately, this predicament has intensified in the  modern era. In some cases, husbands demand exorbitant payments from  their wives in exchange for granting a religious divorce. These women  will not remarry without the proper religious divorce proceedings;  however, unlike in the Middle Ages, their lives — and the lives of their  husbands — are no longer governed by the edicts of a rabbinical court,  removing the authority that imposed violent sanctions aimed at freeing  these chained women. In this way, while Jewish law is seen as the law of  these communities, it lacks the enforcement power that, while brutally  violent, could protect some of the community’s most vulnerable members.
           In the face of this uniquely modern dilemma, two  responses have emerged. The first has further embraced violence. But  using such deception and torture not only violates United States law,  but also may violate Jewish law. Any rabbinical court decree secured  with bribery is wholly invalid; violence visited on a husband pursuant  to such a tainted decree would only induce him to grant an invalid  divorce. In this way, the use of violence all too frequently entails the  extortion of money from those it was meant to protect, leading not only  to illegal brutality, but also to potential religious invalidity.



I had heard before of rabbis using violence to force a husband to grant a get. But the rabbis in this case weren’t just out to help the woman, they charged $10K for the rabbinical ruling to allow the use of force and $50K to actually carry it out.


They’re simply following an interpretation of Jewish law. The medieval rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, or Maimonides or Rambam once wrote in Laws of Divorce 2:20 that if a woman wants a get (Jewish divorce document) and the man refuses, the beit din (lit. house of judgment; group of Orthodox Jewish religious men) can beat him until he obliges to the document.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit