Fr. Leonard Feeney and the Saint Benedict Center Revisited-Conclusion

Here is the conclusion of our two-part series that began
in the January/February 2024 issue of The Barnes Review
re-evaluating a leading Catholic Irish priest widely
respected until he was unceremoniously “cancelled”
by the Catholic Church and powerful interests. 

By Antonius J. Patrick

Post WW II Relations
After World War II and certainly following the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Catholic church’s relationship with the Jews changed. Vatican II officially altered the church’s relationship with and traditional outlook of the Jews with the document Nostra aetate (“Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions”), which most traditional theologians believe to be heretical as are many other pronouncements of the Council.1 The changing attitude of many churchmen toward the Jews was reinforced by the Allied victory over the Axis powers, in particular, the “anti-Semitism” of the Third Reich.

Nostra aetate had, in effect, repudiated nearly 2,000 years of Catholic teaching on the Jews. Ever since, the church has continually bowed to Jewish pressure in regard to its doctrine, liturgy, the naming of saints and, in the political realm, with its most infamous decision—the recognition of the state of Israel by the Vatican back in 1994.

Prior to the Council and since its inception, the church’s mission toward the Jews was one of conversion. However, after Vatican II, they were seen as “elder brothers” whose covenant with God was still in force and did not need evangelization. This, of course, went directly against scripture, as demonstrated in St. Paul’s Epistles describing the end of the Old Covenant along with Christ’s great commission to convert all nations at the conclusion of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark.

Even before the Council, fewer and fewer clerics criticized the Jews, especially after the Zionist conquest of Palestine and their malignant role in cultural Marxism which began to infiltrate and eventually overtake Western societies. Not only was there little criticism, but the Catholic clergy began to participate in “interfaith” activities. Such actions were always condemned by the church, but the American hierarchy looked the other way on these events and even began to take part themselves in inter-religious meetings.

An example of pre-WWII Catholic exposure of the Jews can be seen in an article from the British publication Catholic Gazette. The piece, titled “The Jewish Peril and the Catholic Church,” written in 1936, quotes from a speech given at a B’nai B’rith convention in Paris. The author of the talk does not try to obfuscate his words about the aim of Jewry to subvert Christianity:

We [Jews] have spread the spirit of revolt and false liberalism among the nations of the Gentiles so as to persuade them away from their faith and even to make them ashamed of professing the precepts of their religion and obeying the commandments of their church. We have brought many of them to boast of being atheists, and, more than that, to glory in being descendants of the ape!2

After WWII, discussion about the undermining of Christianity by the Jews within Catholic circles disappeared, except for places like the St. Benedict Center and Father Leonard Feeney’s works and lectures.

To pave the way for Nostra aetate and the false ecumenism of Vatican II, liberal Catholic clergy began working with Jewish intellectuals and religious figures in a number of areas, one of the most important was the reinterpretation of the biblical account of Christ’s crucifixion. Since the Jews had always been held mainly responsible for Christ’s death, the blame had to be shifted to the Romans and Pontius Pilate, in particular.

The focus of these efforts was on St. John’s Gospel since he was an eyewitness of the deicide and had a relationship with some of the Jewish officials at the time. St. John’s account was also the most detailed, and clearly saw the Jews as the primary culprit for Christ’s death. Most interpretations of the scriptural account maintain that Pilate would have let Christ go (after the unnecessary scourging), but it was the fanatical hatred of Jesus by Jewish leaders that ultimately convinced the cowardly Pilate to make the most infamous judgment, possibly in all of human history.

One of the leading Jewish writers in this effort was Jules Isaac who, at one time, had served as an inspector general of public education in France3 and became the “principal theorist and promoter of the campaign being waged against the traditional teaching of the church.”4 His two most important books on the subject were Jésus et Israel (1948) and Genése de l’Antisémitisme (1956). Vicomte Léon de Poncins accurately summarizes the main thrust of these works:

In these books, Jules Isaac fiercely censures Christian teaching, which he says has been the source of modern anti-Semitism, and preaches, though it would be more correct to say he demands, the “purification” and “amendment” of doctrines 2,000 years old.5

In addition to his written works, Isaac organized “both national and international gatherings attended by sympathetic Catholics who were favorably disposed toward his arguments.” 6 A number of the “favorably disposed to” would turn out to be leading figures at Vatican II.

This was the religious environment that Feeney found himself in with the likes of Jules Isaac getting access to the highest levels of the church and receiving support for his blasphemous thought. While few saw the fomenting revolution about to be unleashed, even fewer chose to speak out about it. Most of Feeney’s warnings about Jewish attitudes and the failure of the American Catholic hierarchy to counter their growing influence can be found in his book Bread of Life, and The Point, his hard-hitting newsletter of the 1950s.

In a piece titled “Point of the Point” published in the newsletter in February 1959, Feeney pulls no punches and zeros in on what he sees as the greatest threat to America and its Catholic population. Feeney argues that “we think it is imperative that American Catholics wake up to the fact that the Jews, as an organized force, are the implacable, declared enemies of Christianity— of its tenets, its traditions, its moral code, its very culture.”7 He reminds readers that the church had always been aware of Jewish power, and had, in the past, taken measures to counter their actions.

American Catholics of the 20th century, however, have remained oblivious to the danger mostly because of the betrayal of their shepherds:

[T]he church has always known this fact about the Jews and, to the extent of her influence, has counseled and decreed regulations for curbing their malice. And, since American Catholic publications, in general, seem determined to say little about these basic matters, we [The Point] have tried to make up for their negligence by our own insistence.

The purpose of the newsletter was to “inject American Catholics with a crusading zeal for the truths and traditions of their Faith, and thus to foster in America a strong militant Catholicism, worthy of a country that is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.” 8

The novel thinking among Catholics coincided with the outcome of WWII, which was fought, in large measure, for Jewish interests. After the war, organized Jewry became even more assertive in its efforts to mitigate opposition to their religion, their subversive cultural agenda and, more importantly, their political aims. One of the primary obstacles to their political and cultural hegemony had traditionally been Catholicism, but, as Feeney’s newsletter would constantly point out, this was no longer the case, particularly following Vatican II.

WWII liberated the Jews in almost every aspect. While there were few legal impediments to their interaction and influence in society before the war, there were informal proscriptions on their intermingling among the Gentiles. This was all washed away with the defeat of the Third Reich which stood opposed to Jewish control and domination of society.

After the conclusion of hostilities, the legitimate concerns and fears that the Germans held regarding Jewish subversion and corruption of their society and, for that matter, the rest of the Western world, had been manipulated and distorted by the Jewish controlled press, academia and the electronic media into the alleged “racial hatred” inherent in National Socialism. Hitler’s policies had nothing to do with combating what the Jews were doing inside of Germany but was instead based on pure, blind hatred— or so the narrative went and continues today. This portrayal of the Third Reich has been swallowed whole by the entire world to this day, none more fully as in America.

The American Catholic hierarchy, which enthusiastically supported the war, should also be faulted in the “emancipating” of the Jews after WWII. That it did not side with the isolationists and oppose then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s bellicose foreign policy shows where its sympathies laid. The war was not a fight to advance or defend Christianity, but to maintain and expand Jewish domination of both Anglo-American liberal democracy in the West and Russian Bolshevism in the East.

What is surprising is that the 1950s has been looked upon as a decade of great progress for the church, especially in America. The faith seemed to be vibrant among the laity—vocations were up, mass attendance at all-time highs and there was massive church and school building, while the pope, for most of the decade, was considered to be a conservative— the polar opposite of what happened after Vatican II.9

While the externals seemed sound, there was a certain superficiality about the faith that few understood. In many ways it had become sterile and formalistic, lacking the dynamism of a church seeking conversion of nonmembers, but, instead, content with becoming a part of the establishment which, in postwar America, was becoming increasingly Judaized. This explains why there seemed to be more enthusiasm over construction— schools, hospitals, religious houses— and the social aspects of life, than the propagation of the faith. It also explains, to a large extent, why, less than a decade later, Vatican II was pushed through so easily.

As the 1950s wore on, churchmen showed more interest in social justice issues than in teaching the tenets of the faith. Catholics were at the forefront in the nascent civil rights movement, which was largely directed and funded by Jews. It continued to support nearly all the major social justice causes that emerged in the postwar era, ranging from feminism and mass immigration to LGBTQ+ rights and more. The more the church participated in these activities, the more members it lost, especially among its Occidental population. Yet, few saw or cared about the almost direct correlation between the church’s new leftist orientation and the devastating loss of its faithful.

It did not take long after the religious authorities began their crack down on Feeney for church liberals to begin their ecumenical program. In October 1948, Bishop John Wright, the spiritual director of the League of Catholic Women, sent an invitation to the league’s members inviting them to attend an Institute on Judaism to be held at Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, Massachusetts.

The National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, Committee on Interfaith Activities sent out the invitation with the subject of the meeting titled “To Build the House of the Living Judaism.” 10

Interfaith activities were not just taking place in Boston but began popping up all over. In Michigan, Bishop Francis J. Haas received the B’nai B’rith Interfaith award and in his acceptance comments “got off some choice Interfaithery,” as noted in “Pointers” of the July 1952 issue of The Point:

Speaking on the great dangers facing our United States culture, the bishop [Haas], like a true orator, touched upon those concerns that were nearest the Hebrew hearts of his listeners—“the high cost of living, prices, wages, rents … the entire economy.” Then, as any Gentile must, when addressing a Jewish audience, Bishop Haas launched into an attack against “discrimination.”11

In a witty and biting response to the Bishop’s talk, which demonstrates the extent to which the Catholic clergy had imbibed Jewish terminology long befo re Vatican II, The Point continues:

His Excellency had the usual condemnations for those who “look down upon others.” Notably missing from Bishop Haas’s talk was any reference to the Divine Person Who, 2,000 years ago, looked down upon B’nai B’rith’s ancestors, a howling Jerusalem mob who accepted the consequences of murdering God when they shouted, “His blood be u pon us and upon our children.”12

The Catholic hierarchy began to go out of its way to praise the growth of Judaism in the nation. Feeney’s newsletter carried a report on how Washington, D.C. Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle (who would later become a cardinal) sent his “warmest greetings” to Rabbi Norman Gerstenfeld “rejoicing with the rabbi that Judaism had become successful enough in the nation’s capital to build a new temple.”13 Later, Cardinal O’Boyle was a fervent supporter of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Not only were loaded terms like “racism,” “bigotry,” “hate” and “prejudice” cleverly used to protect themselves from criticism, they have also weaponized them in their social engineering schemes to break down the natural bonds and relationships within Gentile society at large. “Bigotry” and “prejudice” were seen as abhorrent traits that needed to be eradicated through legislation. Their control of the media, entertainment and academia aided this effort. Anti-discrimination laws were passed regarding employment, housing and even private clubs and associations, regulating who they could include or exclude.

Of course, such behavior had always been a natural attribute of ethnic groups used to protect, distinguish and ensure their solidarity and genetic continuation. This did not just apply to Whites against non-Whites, but were traits seen in subgroups to confirm their identity. The Irish, for example, thus held prejudices toward the Germans, the Germans against the Poles, the Koreans against the Chinese and so forth.

Religiously, there was nothing wrong with such behavior, and the church had long recognized this sociological norm, which was one of the reasons why it frowned upon not only interracial marriages but unions between different ethnicities. It is also why it provided clergy of the same ethnic background to the communities they served.

This would all change after WWII. Even before the war, however, the Catholic church in America began experimenting with integration as Washington, D.C.’s Catholic schools were integrated in the 1930s by Archbishop O’Boyle. This did not have much of an impact since most Blacks in Washington were Protestant, but it was a precursor of things to come.

Feeney accurately observed that, when they had the power to do so, Jews would try and denigrate or seek to erase from the public consciousness any references, symbols or customs refe rring to Christ:

[W]e have Jews evading the faith, running away from it, pretending they do not hear the name of Jesus—pretending Christmas is not the birth of Jesus Christ, and getting civic leaders to remove “Merry Christmas” from in front of City Hall and to substitute for it “Season’s Greetings,” because the word “Christ” in “Christmas” annoys them.14

Of course, if Christians had stood up against such assaults, these efforts would have failed. The failure of Christians to do so, and their spiritual shepherds to lead them, is why the world is in its current deplorable condition.