Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud

The Pope: Fundamentalist Relativism

Pope Benedict has once again taken steps to roll back the strides made by Vatican II regarding interfaith dialogue. On July 11, seemingly out of nowhere he decided to tell the world that the only true Church is the Catholic Church. His comments have roiled Protestants and other Christian groups that for years have been building ecumenical brodges with the Church.
But even more problematic is the Pope’s decision to reintroduce the Latin Mass with prayers beseeching God to convert the Jews. The problem with the Pope’s comments and action is not that they lack a basis, but why now, with all the strife between peoples of faith, does he find it so important to degrade other religions and faiths?
Just a few weeks ago I wrote an Op-Ed in The New York Jewish Week warning against the increasingly disturbing staments being issued by the Pope and others with regard to the interfaith dialogue. Here are a few of my arguments:

Like other elements in Vatican II, the strides made by “Nostra Aetate” have in recent years been curtailed by a small but growing group of Catholic and Jewish clergymen. As the world becomes more aware of the need for a deepening of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim dialogue, these religious leaders have been promoting a different approach to interacting with faiths—one that might be termed “fundamentalist relativism.”
This new group contends that no religion has a right to ask others to change or emend any of its core theological positions and likewise, relativistically, that each religion is entitled to believe what it so chooses and should not be critiqued by others.
Recently, Rabbi David Berger, a representative to the International Committee for Interreligious Consultations, the leading Jewish interfaith organization, has challenged those like Rabbi Heschel. Rabbi Berger argues that “Jews have no more right to demand that Christians reject one of the core beliefs of Christianity” than Christians have the right “to demand that Jews give up their [core] conviction[s].”
Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, in a recent piece published in Commentary Magazine, has gone even further than Rabbi Berger, criticizing those who condemned the Taliban’s bombing of Buddha statues prior to 9/11. While this camp denounces the use of violence or coercion on the part of any religion, it believes each religion has the right to theoretically believe whatever it so chooses, irrespective of how potentially dangerous, violent or unethical those beliefs might be for the rest of the world. In such a spirit, Rabbi Soloveichik has also suggested that though Judaism believes in the “virtue of hate,” such a “virtue” should not impede Jews’ day-to-day relationship with gentiles. Religious people are meant to live in an eternal state of cognitive dissonance where they are suppose to befriend, live alongside and work with those whom they passionately and absolutely believe are going to burn in hell.
Strangely, rabbis like Berger and Soloveichik seem to have taken their cue from Pope Benedict XVI, who in 2000 issued Dominus Iesus, a church document reasserting the Church’s eschatological dream of all Jews and Muslims finding ultimate salvation in Christ. This fundamentalist view of Christian theology revealed itself again this past year in a speech Benedict delivered in Bavaria, where he suggested that in Islam one finds “things only evil and inhuman, such as [Mohammad’s] command to spread the sword.”
The uproar surrounding Benedict’s comments led church officials to claim that the Pope was merely issuing a challenge to Muslim leadership and not defining the essence of Islam. That said, if the Pope were challenging Muslim leadership then he should be prepared to have Muslims and Jews challenge his own theological positions.

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Constance Reader

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:26 pm

Just a quick note that your opening paragraph notes ” His comments have roiled Protestants and other Christian groups that for years have been building ecumenical brodges with the Church.” But you omitted another spiritual group that is greatly upset by the Pope’s document: Catholics such as myself.
We don’t want to go back to days of being discriminated against and marginalized as exclusive, Jew-blaming, pope-worshipping cultists who are trying to take over the world by reproducing like bunny rabbits. Yet it is statements such as this which reinforces that erroroneous stereotype.
However, I would like to thank you for mentioning that the Latin Mass would contain a prayer to convert the Jews. This is the first I’ve heard that that particular bit of hateful stupidity is making a reappearance.
As a dear friend of mine keeps repeating, it’s OUR church and we won’t let the Vatican take it away from us. The same goes for our deepening and joyful relationships with the other Peoples of the Book.

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posted July 12, 2007 at 4:57 pm

Last time I saw him, the Pope was wearing a yarmulke and a dress.
He must therefore appreciate Jews and women more than he lets on.

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posted July 12, 2007 at 7:31 pm

I for one don’t understand what all the fuss is about this issue. As an Orthodox rabbi, Rabbi Stern would probably agree that to him, Judaism is the one true religion, and where it differs from Christianity or Islam or whatever is where Christianity or Islam or whatever is inaccurate. Essentially what the pope said is that that’s what he thinks about Catholicism. I really don’t understand why people are surprised that the pope has essentially said he’s Catholic.
As for the issue of wanting Jews to convert—I’m not saying that that belief cannot be challenged. But I for one don’t care if every friend I have prays for me to convert to their specific religion. Unless one of them is correct, I presume God isn’t going to listen; and after all, if mainstream Jewish thought was that one had to be Jewish to avoid eternal damnation, I think there would be more Jewish missionaries.
God bless.

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posted July 12, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Interestingly one aspects of the Pope’s recent decisions is his endorsement of the old Latin Mass. After Vatican II the Catholic Church moved to have its services conducted in the vernacular, just like reform Judaism has done. As with reform Judaism this has proven to be a failure, at least in recent years. Within Judaism its the all Hebrew services that people are moving to except when they have to go to little Bobby’s Bar Mitzvah at temple.
Whenever the old Latin Mass is conducted the normally empty pews are apparently full.

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posted July 12, 2007 at 9:31 pm

I find it frightening – but then, I have spent most of my life afraid. Which, by the way, is no way to live, and is not recommended. From this, I begin to understand why people called my mother a “self-hating Jew,” an expression I don’t fully understand. She didn’t raise us religiously – we had an essentially secular humanist upbringing. She was afraid. She taught us to be afraid, saying things like, “It’s okay to tell the Jewish children that you’re Jewish, but don’t tell anyone else.” It took me years to get to the point when I decided that it was okay to want to learn about Judaism, and that if I did, nothing bad would happen to me. Now I see how beautiful and life-affirming a faith it is, I feel I missed out on something truly magnificent. There is no answer to Why People Hate the Jews, other than that there is evil in the world and people hate people who are different – there is no answer as to Why people hate a number of hated groups in our society and the rest of the world. I think my mother felt ashamed, as if being Jewish were something vulgar to be hidden – even though she didn’t say it, it came through in the way she acted. It wasn’t good, or safe, to “look Jewish,” or to have brown eyes, or dark hair. I feel sorry that she was so frightened and traumatized. People who are oppressed often internalize society’s hatred, and begin to hate themselves. So, I can appreciate that the Jewish children who hated me for not being observant probably lived in families that found abandonment of the faith so offensive and cowardly, they could not contain themselves – if anything, a group under fire ought to defend its members, not reject them. Maybe. I don’t really know. For what it’s worth, whenever I see an Orthodox Jew I feel proud and ridiculously happy – just wildly happy – you’re there, you are who you are, you’re not afraid – and that is a beautiful thing. The world has enough hate. Thanks for nothing, Pope Benedict.

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Chuck Blanchard

posted July 12, 2007 at 10:12 pm

I am a fairly progressive Anglican, and therefore am not usually one to defend this Pope. And his statement that Protestant and Orthodox churches were not churches upset me. Still, I think that fair is fair, and I should clarify the Latin Mass issue.
The prayer for the conversion of the Jews is only used in the Good Friday Mass in the 1962 Latin Mass approved by the Pope. From what I understand, the Pope did NOT approve the 1992 Latin Mass for the 1962 Latin Mass during the Easter Holy Wekk (which would include Good Friday). Accordinly, the argument that the Pope approved the use of a prayer for the conversion of the Jews is incorrect.
Sadly, the documents annoucing the Pope’s decision about the use of the 1962 Latin Mass was only issued in Latin and this wrinkle has not been picked up by the press or groups like ADL

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Anthony Surman

posted July 13, 2007 at 1:53 am

Pope Benedict’s decree that The Roman Church is the only way to heaven exclusive of the compassionate of other non Romans gives me as a Roman Catholic grade school, high school and college educated individual some serious concern.
According to Roman Catholic scripture both of Jesus’s parents Joseph and Mary were of the tribe of Judah, also according to this same relied upon source both of Jesus’s parents were direct descentants of Isreal’s kings David and Solomon. At His crucifixion by the Romans did not Jesus verily guarantee heaven or paradise to at least one of the other Jewish chaps who were also being crucified with Him and justby simply asking Jesus to remember him? Did not the then Governor of Judea Pontius Pilate have written in the many languages of that era above the Cross of Jesus Christ Jesus of Nazareth King of The Jews.
Just from the above paragraph as short winded as it was it seems Jesus, Pope Bendict’s Jesus was much more of a Jew then he was a Roman Catholic. NO?

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posted July 13, 2007 at 1:12 pm

I am struggling with your concept of “fundamentalist relativism.” To me it just seems like simple relativism.
We either believe that some actions are wrong, barbaric, uncivilized, inhuman, evil, or we accept evil actions in the name of a “tolerance” that exists in name only. Honor killing, stoning rape victims, demolishing “pagan” statues, all of which the Taliban did, are evil actions by uneducated men who deserve the name “barbarians.”

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posted July 14, 2007 at 5:41 am

So Catholics are praying to Jesus for Jews to convert. But since you don’t believe Jesus is God, then as far as you’re concerned the prayers aren’t being heard. So what’s the problem?
It’s funny how parts of the Jewish community get so upset over a person they don’t even believe in. If you think it’s all nonsense, then there’s nothing to get ruffled by. That would be like me, a Christian, getting upset at Muslims for praying to Allah in their mosques. That’s what I expect them to do. And as long as what they do and say in the mosques doesn’t manifest itself in a violent, evil way, like it did on 9/11, I don’t worry about it.

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posted July 14, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Pope Benedict, aka Joseph Ratzinger, has always been a friend of the Jewish people and he appreciates the Jewish Scriptures. And the Jewish people have always been thankful for the tone of his many writtings.
Now, he is in a different role. But to dream up steriotypes and past frictions at this time is not good. So do not try to read anymore into what the pope says than what the pope says. The media blows it all the time; but you do not have to.

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posted July 14, 2007 at 1:32 pm

In my, as any ones view, G*s is perfection of perfection. Meaning that what he is, does or did is and was perfect… If something that is perfect, why and how should it be changed? Jews were given the Torah by G*d(perfect). All the laws in it, that were given to jews by G*d were…perfect. For thousands of years this religion worshiped our creator based on those laws.
Who can explain to me, why Jesus who changed and altered most of these laws could be worshiped as G*d. Mind you, who is on the cross in phisical form and who has been killed by romans???

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posted July 15, 2007 at 11:58 am

1/ This rabbi simply doesn’t understand the concept of religious belief. A person for example who really, truly believes that Moses received the written and oral law would have no problem equating ‘Moses received the Law’ with ‘1+1=2′.
If one doubts that this is what happened or that the story is an allegory, or that it was written by people who were ‘divinely inspired’ and may have erred, or the that it was written by a bunch of tribesmen from stories handed down, or whatever, well this is not religious belief.
The Pope is a religious man.
2/ Christians have always wanted the Jews to become Christians. There’s no news here. As to the complaints by Jews about this, it reminds be of the time Jerry Falwell said that the ‘antichrist’ would be a Jewish man, and a large amount of Jews complained (of course a lot of divorced Jewish women made jokes, but that’s another story). Apparently there are some Jews who are in part pursuaded by the Christian arguments. Myself, I know there is no and will be no ‘antichrist’.
Now that’s religious belief.

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posted July 15, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Let me clairfy the enormous misunderstandings about this document & the Latin Mass.
Vatican Council II (VC) did NOT end the use of the Latin Mass, it has always been permitted. VC merely permitted the mass to be done in the vernacular language (the language of the country) and changed some of the liturgy.
1. The recent document consisted of 5 Q&A’s and represented nothing new, the Pope is in blunt terms simply restating existing dogma
2. Non-Catholic christian communities are not “true churches” (in the proper sense [theology/ecclesiology]as they are not they are not part of the one Church Jesus established while on Earth. Only Catholicism (and the Orthodox as it is a wounded church by the 1054 schism] can trace back to the apostles. Pope Benedict affirms the long-standing doctrine of the Catholic Church that Jesus chose to work out this plan of salvation through his Church, under the direction of his 12 apostles and their successors (bishops in communion with the Pope).
3. He did not say non-Catholics are going to hell.
4. The Pope, along with all Christians, believes salvation comes from belief in and acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s personal Lord and Savior, as the only mediator between God and man. The Bible says as much.
5. If the Pope didn’t believe that the Catholic Church was the true church, he wouldn’t be pope. If he believed Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, etc., were right, he would have joined one of them.
6. Unlike John Paul II, who said the same message, but in differing terms and ways (trips, media), Benedict is an academic theologican by profession and as such is likely to be blunt.
7. If one believes in ecumenicism, which has as the ultimate goal, the unity of the church, one must start out with what I believe and what you believe and arrive at common ground. The ultimate common ground is primacy of the Pope.
8. Perhaps one might read what Prof. Jacob Neusner wrote in his commentary in the Jerusalem Post on the Pope’s book “Jesus of Nazareth, “For the past two centuries Judeo-Christian dialogue served as the medium of a politics of social conciliation, not religious inquiry into the convictions of the other. I had admired Cardinal Ratzinger’s writings on the historical Jesus and had written to him to say so. He replied and we exchanged offprints and books. His willingness to confront the issues of truth, not just the politics of doctrine, struck me as courageous and constructive.[…] In his ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ the Judeo-Christian disputation enters a new age. We are able to meet one another in a forthright exercise of reason and criticism.” In fact, chapter 4 of the Pope’s book is a response to Rabbi Neusner’s book, “A Rabbi Talks with Jesus,” (2000), with recommendation of it by Cardinal Joesph Ratzinger at Neusner’s request. Cardinal Ratzinger is of course now Pope Benedict XVI).

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posted July 15, 2007 at 4:53 pm

The best thing about “this” Pope, as compared to other guys in that position, is that Benedict is not afriad of speaking words that are actually accurate towards the Catholic Church he represents as the head of it.
“I” wasn’t “roiled.” Why should I be?
Am I “roiled” that ALL people that believe in Judaism from the wildest libbed out Reform Jew to an Orthodox spouting Hasidic Jew, fully and irrevocably believe that “I, as a Christian,” am following a false messiah and that I am an idolator for the “fish symbol” on my car.
Their opinions on religion do not bother me in the slightest. let alone “roil” me.
What Protestant ever thought that a Pope would be warm and fuzzy towards those that “protest” what he represents.
I am not a Catholic, and as a follower of Christ Jesus (Messiah Yeshua, to the Israelite believers long before the Catholic Church was thought up), I feel that I could, can and do exist quite peacefully side beside Pope Benedict for the rest of my life. And his.
C’mon, speaking what a person believes should not be all that bad.

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posted July 16, 2007 at 1:16 am

I would really like people to actually READ statements and documents themselves vesus just responding to what the media said was in the document(s). We all make this mistake and all it does is cause trouble and misnderstanding. I am a devout Catholic and have always been taught to honor and respect the Jewish faith. I am saddend that Pope Benedict has been misrespresented on this web site. I see this happening more and more in the secular world (Catholic Bashing is becomming a new sport!!) but did not expect to see it here. I pray for us all, we are all God’s children.

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posted July 16, 2007 at 5:54 am

Who said Jesus or Yeshua founded the Catholic Church? It wa founded by pagan emperor Constantine in 325 a.d. and he mixed the “christian” church with paganism elements such as: rosaries, sun worshipping (why their pictures of “Jesus” have the sun behind their heads?), sun waffles, purgatory, limbo, praying for the dead, virgin (read: goddess), the pope’s title, hats, ring…all of which belonged to the Summus Pontifex (high bridge) the priestly title of Constantine…can you imagine Jesus praying before a statue or picture of Mary? No! Yeshua was a torah observant and the thousands of jews who accepted him as the Messiah were people who knew about the Torah since they were children. If you read the New Testament in the book of acts you will realize that the first kehila or church was totally Jewish and not CATHOLIC.

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laura t mushkat

posted July 16, 2007 at 2:37 pm

darn pulled in again!
I live in the US and do not think the Pope is as relevant to adult Roman Catholics as they once were. The late Pope John was different.
This one may feel he has to say things like this to get attention from those who almos worship John (I think that was his name!).
Altho a Pope get crowds when he travels I think it is more the celebrity/curiosity factor then religous.
I really do not care what he says as long as he does not incite people to hurt each other.

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laura t mushkat

posted July 16, 2007 at 2:52 pm

To Linoscript-in answer as to why people hate jews.
The Muslims from years and years ago did not like anyone who were unlike them (Jews) or those who tried to force them to change their faith(Christians-crusades, inquisition). They tolerated Jews because they allowed them limited jobs and one was lending money which we got quite good at and put us in good stead when we dealt with Christians later on. More sophisticated, non-fundementalist Muslims no longer practice this.
Christians, on the other hand do not know the truth about the Jewish people of Jesus’ day and believe that the Jews were responsible for the death of the person who they at first believed was a messiah then added that he was G-d into the mix (trinity). That is the basis for their hatred that changes with the particular type of Chrisitianity they believe in and where they are in sophistication personally.
I feel badly for how your mom raised you about your religon but she may have had bad dealings with non-Jews who may have beat her up or some such.

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posted July 18, 2007 at 4:31 pm

Hi Laura,
The previous pope was named John Paul II. I am not a Catholic, but I will say that I liked him a lot better (maybe he just had more charisma, but I felt he had more “agape” even though he was pretty conservative). I think he was more interested in truth than doctrine, whereas Benedict seems pretty legalistic.
In the same statement where he said nothing good came from Islam, he also said that Jews got the idea of reason from their contact with the Greeks, which I think is beyond preposterous. I know we Christians mostly only have the Tanakh to go on, but it seems to me that reason has been a Jewish value from the beginning of the written tradition. (Please correct me if I’m wrong about this.)

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posted July 22, 2007 at 9:27 am

Pope John Paul II actually wrote similar material, but no one got angry at him.
And if you compare Benedict’s letter with Nostra Aetate, the language is really not that much different. You’ll find the same conclusion, just presented differently. Nostra Aetate is more pastoral. Benedict’s letter involves more doctrinal understanding.

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posted July 22, 2007 at 9:41 am

I thought there was still a Prayer for the Jews in the post-Vatican II pass for the Good Friday Liturgy (at least I see it in my St. Joseph Sunday Missal). I haven’t read the Latin Mass version of the prayer, but I’m assuming that the Novus Ordo version is simply a more compassionate way of praying for the Jews. If that is so, then this tradition has never really died or went away. The text of the prayer is this:
“Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant. Almighty and eternal God, long ago you have your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the the fullness of redemption.”
I think the “fullness of redemption” part is a gentle nod towards their conversion.
So what is the big deal that’s making people say the Catholic Church “going back to the stone ages” type of talk?
I understand the concern of Jews and certain Catholics about a return to anything truly anti-semitic, but I think people have been more likely to overreact because this current Pope is not as charismatic or philosophical as Pope John Paul II, is German, is scholastically-oriented to a fault, was forced as a kid to join Hitler Youth (like a kid has a choice to fight against the Nazis), and does not like rock ‘n roll.

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Seamus Breathnach

posted December 31, 2007 at 4:26 am

What is wrong with the Pope?
The problem with the Pope is the Papacy. The Pope condemns rock and roll, but the Papacy
never condemned this old tune:
waffen ss march viktoria seig heil & leibstandarte nazi
06:15 From: HEALSWASTIKA, found in YouTube at :
Or this:
02:21 From: vaticinator, found in YouTube at :
Pope Benedict XVI remembers both of these above tunes, because he served the Wehrmacht with these dulcet tones in his ears. Now, he has decided to condemn rock, as in Rock ‘n Roll. He has no wife and he has no children, that is, no one in the Vatican whose lives, customs and habits he could refer to over the last sixty years to compare or judge current trends in music.
The Pope’s wrath at the moment is aimed directly at the satanic properties of modern Rock. Directly in the Pope’s sights must be the queen of the witches herself, Tina Turner. I think we can all agree with the Pope that there is something seriously satanic about the Rockers — especially if they rock like Ms Turner. Before we recall the McCarthyites and set up the tirbunals that will send her the way of Paul Robeson and a new-age McCarthyism, might we not be better adivised to look at the Pope as accuser.
And we can best see this at
This is what the Pope really fears — in the twenty first century!
Satanism seems to equal Rock ‘N Roll and both equal the old notion of Heresy. The pagan must be put down to make way for the Christian. According to Benedict XVI’s endless list of things to condemn, it would seem that the pagan, or the ‘un-Christian’ is ever at the door. In this regard one might remember that many things in our lives have a pagan source. Take Dvorak’s Waternymph for example, hardly a Christian inspiration. Is this also to be censored by the narrow limits of a Pope? If so, then on that basis there may be a papal case for the banning of this rendering of Dvorak’s Chanson a la Lune by Renee Fleming:
You Tube at
One must wonder if the Infallible One is badly advised, or has capitulated to the old celibate grind after all , or, perhaps,he is suffering from the tete a tete he had with Habermas.
Lord deliver us from old men in red shoes!
Seamus Breathnach

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Seamus Breathnach

posted May 1, 2008 at 4:34 pm

If the ‘only true church’ is the Catholic Church, then it appears that unlike its bloody rise over two millenia, it has fallen unnoticed from grace. Not only that , but it appears that the true church , when it fell, was sitting on the very same wall upon which Humpty Dumpty used to sit. It all happened so suddenly that the full extent of the damages have not been assessed, and people in the know seem to think that the fall might even be fatal.
What do your readers think?
It happened a long time ago. America hadn’t been invented. Neither had Islam.
But in the mediterranean there was a bit of stir by a chap calling himself Julius Caesar. Caesar by all accounts was a canny Roman. Around 100 he was born, some say by way of Caesarean operation, of Aurelia and a praetor suitably called Gaius Julius Caesar, His family were of patrician stock, and his aunt Julia was the wife of Gaius Marius, the boss-man of the Popular faction.
As we all know, Caesar was his own man — or as much of one as was permissible at that time. He scaled the heights and was more intelligent and less brutal than his rivals, Sulla and Pompey and Pompey’s sons. In 45 BCE, when he returned to Rome, he celebrated his triumphs over Gnaeus Pompey. The Romans would have preferred if he celebrated his conquests over less home-spun enemies: but in the end Romans were less squeamish over the shedding of blood (whomsoever’ blood it happened to be) more than most.
On February 15 44 BCE, even as he was named perpetual dictator, at the feast of Lupercalia, Caesar donned himself in purple and paraded himself in public, not unlike what a modern Pope , as Pontifex Maximus (highest priest), might do in the Vatican. The difference was that Caesar was preparing to lead a military campaign against the Parthians, the same who had killed Crassus, and taken his legionary eagles from him. But when Caesar came to attend the Senate, no less than sixty conspirators, who came to the same assembly, each one with a dagger stuck up his toga. At least 23 of them found their way into Caesar’s flesh at the proverbial base of Pompey’s statue. One can only imagine what happened after the assassination.
The Senators fled in all directions. It was left to three slaves to pick up the dead Caesar and carry him home to his wife, Calpurnia. There was a lull before the storm, and a bit like the Anglo-Americans in modern day Iraq and Afghanistan, it soon became apparent that the conspirators had no plan beyond the initial assault. Part of their oversight included Mark Antony: they forgot to execute him with Caesar. Moreover, Mark Antony had a legion under his command, as well as Caesar’s Last Will and Testament, the senators had to fall back on the good offices of some gladiators and their inimitable oratory. And as Mark Antony heads for Egypt, to Cleopatra and to Caesarea, Caesar’s son by Cleopatra, the world of the Roman Empire opens up into two irreparable halves.
But it is here, at Pompey’s statute, at the death-place of Caesar, where the Trick of Jesus is first conceived. After Caesar’s assassination, a bloody civil war ensues throughout the Roman Empire. The long-term competing ambitions of Octavian (in the West) and Mark Anthony supporting Caesar’s son by Cleopatra (in the East) erupted into open antagonism. The Empire was at stake and both parties coveted the moral and religious mantle left behind by the deified Caesar, about whose life and death there had arisen a cult known as Divus Iulius. The Pagan Empire in schism became localised oppositionally with Octavian in Rome and Anthony in Alexandria — an arrangement which created the structures upon which Christianity later built its own schism as between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.
More importantly, when Octavian got the upper hand of Anthony and Cleopatra, he consolidated his control over the Eastern Empire and thought to secure it by persecuting the cult of Divus Iulius in all its forms and aspects, especially where they stood as mementoes of Anthony and Cleopatra and derivatively to the realm of Julius Caesar, whose long shadow had by no means left the psyche of either Rome or the mediterranean. Perhaps this imperial hatred explains to some extent the persecution of the early christians as well as the inveterate hatred of the Church triumphant against ‘heretics’.
As one might expect, the cult of Divus Iulius changed over time and localization, but along the shores of Galilee, however, it left an indelible impression. When we fast forward slightly to Vespasian and his sons, Titus and Domitian, we find that they maintained the Flavian Dynasty from 69 – 96 CE, which period parallels both the rise of the Christian movement and the tenure of Flavian Josephus as court historian.
Since the Vespasians had little or no claim by way of blood to the Iulian family, their first aristocratic concern was their need to legitimate their claim to the throne left vacant by the defied Caesar and more recently by Nero. As it happened, Vespasian the Elder left young Titus to prosecute the war against the Jews in Judea. It was a long, brutal, cruel and devastating war, culminating in Massada and the eventual destruction of the Jews in a way that is not identifiable throughout the destruction of the pagan Gaels. Out of their Generals the captive Josephus impresses himself upon the Vespasians and becomes friends with Titus. And in due course when Titus becomes Emperor, Josephus becomes the empire’s scribe. And it is at this time — in the 70s, 80s and 90s — that the Bibles are written: a time which seems to have a particular interest for the latest biblical scholars.
Some say the Bibles are merely a weapon in the war between the factions spawned by Caesar’s death, others that they are a disguised record of Caesar as Pontifex Maximus, and others still — but in the same vein — that they (or part of them) are a record of the military exploits of Titus Flavius Vespasian. In this, the Gospels are also a fictional version of the character Jesus which are presented to the warlike and messianic Jews, in an attempt to mollify their desires for a Messiah. The Messiah the Jews want, of course, is an avenging angel of death, who would repay Massada and the other indignities of the Roman conquest. What the Bibles offer — a la Joesphus and Titus — is a whining turn-the-other-cheek Messiah: one that can present no real threat to the future of the Roman Empire (or, by curious derivation, to the fascists of WW11 — Franco, Mussolini, Hitler, Ante Pavelic , Pinochet, etc, etc. ). As such, then, the JC of the Christian Bibles amounts to a sustained satire upon the divinity of Julius Caesar and an acclamation of the divinity of Titus. Even more: the Bibles sustain an invented God, a Christian Jesus, who is meant to appease the residual longings in the defeated Jews for a Messiah. In fact as well as in history, however, the only people that Jesus, the Roman marionette, fools is the splinter group– those who now call themselves Christians, those who have hitherto never mentioned their leader/founder by name.
The Bibles are meant to announce to a defeated, militant, messianic Judea, the epiphany of their long awaited Messiah, his life and immortal death, as well as his most important renunciation of violence. In this way, had the Jews accepted the marionette, they would have all become Christians, laid down their arms, surrendered to the connived change in their identity, and accepted the wonderful embrace of the Roman Empire. Talk about Greeks bearing gifts! Unlike the Gaels, the hardcore Jews never faltered: they never gave up their Messiah or their own identity.
But another crowd, a faction calling themselves Christians, saw a wonderful opportunity and turned Josephus’ parody into a world religion that would make them all the richest wasters in the world. For two millennia, practically, they would fight with Emperors, forge documents, bully kings, muscle into the palaces of the nation states, preach crusades about whom to love and whom to execute; they would scatter their frivolous banter like the possessors of a great truth right across the world, at first on the back of other nations, dividing and amalgamating themselves into groups everywhere supportive of a world vision. Truth everywhere gave way to Faith , and faith was the very thing that the Romans wanted to control!
So, What Is It You Always Wanted To Know about JC But Were Never Told?
Some nineteenth century authorities (mostly German) had always suspected that there was something wrong with the New Testament, that, in fact, they had been compiled by Romans. Gradually others became bold enough to declare that they had been compiled by the PISO Family.
The True Authorship of the New Testament
A Short Synopsis of Piso History
The Roman Piso Homepage
No less serious are a couple of other works , which have an enormous bearing on the matter at hand, but which are apt to empty all the churches in Christendom when they are read, With these works, one is not so much talking about authorship of the New Testament or about forgeries or anomalies or injustices or incompatible ethical positions within the ‘Christian tradition’ or within the Catholic Church — we are talking about the validity of Christianity itself, its status as a religion, as a cult, and all its world-wide ramifications as well as its ubiquitous influence over national and international life.
One of these books is by Francesco Carotta and is entitled Was Jesus Caesar? And a second more recent book by Joseph Atwill is entitled Casear’s Messiah . If you ever felt that the Jews knew more than anybody else about their boy, Jesus, then both these books can only reinforce your suspicions. While the subtitle to Atwill’s work is aptly called ‘The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus’, it informs us plainly what the book is about. But one should not be misled by its apparent comic simplicity.
For Francesco Carotta
Francesco Carotta is an Italian linguist and philosopher. After ten years of study he brought his findings together in ‘Was Jesus Caesar?’ (1999). Though not always seens as a continuation of the skeptical findings of the Germans in the nineteenth century respecting the implausibility of the New Testament, what Carotta has done is to add a sociology to the whole JudeoRoman period and thereby clarify some resplendent aspects of our knowledge of it.
According to Carotta JC stands for Julius Caesar — not Jesus Christ. There is no Jesus Christ and there never was one. He is purely the figment of the Rome’s imagination as depicted by what other authors are anxious to demonstrate was the Piso Family. In some respect Joseph Atwill confirms this thesis and focuses on Flavian Josephus, a captured Jewish General, who turned ‘Queen’s evidence’ on his own people, the Jews.
According to Carotta Jesus looks like Caesar, their lives are congruent, their families are the same, their respective kinfolk are peopled with parallel personages whose names and locations are the same or similar. Caesar’s celebrated victories become Jesus’ miracles (the conversion of savagery into piety!). Caesar’s Pompey is Jesus’ John (the Baptist), Caesar’s Antonius is Jesus’ Simon etc.. Caesar’s Senate is Jesus’ Sanhedrim, Caesar’s Gaul is Jesus’ Galilee, Caesar’s Rubicon is Jesus’ Jordan, Caesar’s Rome is Jesus’ Jerusalem, etc..
And if Julius had his moll in Cleopatra, Jesus had his moll in Mary Magdalen.
Names resemble each other in writing as well as phonetically, ‘Gallia’ isn’t that different from ‘Galilaia’, ‘Nicomedes of Bithynia’ isn’t that different from ‘Nicodemus of Bethania’, and ‘Brutus’ the murderer is not that different to ‘Barabbas’ the murderer, etc.
Moreover, Caesar’s quotations are lifted by Jesus: He who does not take sides is on my side becomes For he that is not against us is for us. Or, again: I am not King, I am Caesar becomes We have no king but Caesar.
Even in death the two JCs are the same. Caesar’s death on the Ides of March , two perishing days before St Patrick’s day, becomes for Jesus the 15th day of Nizam, which in turn confirms the Easter Vigil.
Reading Carotta one has to pinch oneself every so often to reassure oneself that one is not reading an extract from James Joyce’s Ulysses…
If one had not already become familiar with the literary techniques employed by Joyce, one might imagine that one was revisiting the same or a similar work of art. We are used to the Joycean device of identifying some scavenging Seagulls over the Liffey as a reference, also, to Homer’s Harpies. In much the same way Francesco Carotta’s indescribable expose has unearthed a vast array of parallel references, especially between those few momentous years in Rome’s civil war from the time when Caesar crosses the Rubicon (49 BC) to his assassination (44 BC), a period that is meant to mirror the Jesus narrative from the Jordan to his crucifixion. In this sense the Gospel is a re-written history of the Roman Civil War.
“What emerges from the comparison”, says Carotta, “ is the fact that no matter what the comparison the same structures and sequences are found and differences are reduced to the simple mix up of letters. What really changes is the perception.”
How apt of Joyce, then ,when considering his own country as a perfect instrument of the Mediterranean Myth, he writes:
Oh Ireland my first and only love
Where Christ and Caesar are hand in glove.
Nothing could be clearer. The whole unmistakable upshot of Carotta’s work is that
Now where does that leave the Catholics who support the Infallible One in Rome and the other millions of Orthodox Christians, not to mention the unaccountable others , monasteries, convents, dioceses, parishes, priests and lay people, individuals, families, groups, nations across the world who have taken the Divus Julius to their heart?
The work is truly momentous! But what questions must it give rise to in the Christian breast? Do they still believe in Jesus? Do they still believe in those miracles: the resurrection (of Caesar), the immaculate conception, the Last Supper, the changing of water into wine, the walking on water? Surely not! And what of their lying history, two millennia practically of spreading the Gospel according to their own rash, unquestioning and unquestionable desires? And what of all the wealth they have stored up for themselves in all the lands where they have ensconced themselves, their infinite armies of nuns, priest and second-order secular spies, plants and agents provocateur? What of their present obdurate position and those insulting statements of the Papacy concerning the nature of Jesus, the disposition of other religions, Christian and non-Christian alike? What of these imperial ‘moral’ statements of the Papacy, his Infallibility, his concordats, his half-heartedness about war and his cultural ignorance of other peoples? Moreover, what now with all those world-wide investments in the future of Christianity, in the colonizing educational establishments across the world? The Jesuits alone boast of some 4,000 educational institutions (and JC alone knows what other pokers they have in the world pie!) — all premised on spreading the faith (in Julius Caesar). Should all these institutions not pack their bags and simply get out of education at all levels — never to return, I might add. And what about all those Christian appointments in political establishments with less rabid convictions than the Poles, the Irish, the Spanish, the Austrians, the Philippines, East Timorese, the Americans, North and South, Australians, Asians, etc.? And what about all those diplomatic, senatorial and judicial appointments everywhere in the world? Should they not in honesty resign from their ill-gotten posts? Should they not renounce their secret societies, like the Opus Dei, the Illuminati, etc.. Should they not be pointed out in the streets as the purveyors of lies and deceits and the inheritors of false witness? Isn’t it time for the honest atheist who took their whip for so long, especially the Catholic whip, to come into the light and point out their accusers?
Seamus Breathnach

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