By R. Michael

Relocating from the Catholic Church's pagan origins, during the Roman period, center a long time, and Reformation to the current, Robert Michael the following offers a definitive background of Catholic antisemitism.

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The Book of J

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Extra info for A History of Catholic Antisemitism: The Dark Side of the Church

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If a Jew violated a Christian’s rights, he was punished more severely than the Christian who oppressed a Jew. 21 Based on this principle, the Church influenced the imperial government to exclude Jews from military rank and its accompanying privileges. Throughout the Roman Empire, with the possible exception of Italy, many Jews had served in the Roman Army. So many Jewish soldiers served the Romans that, by the end of the fourth century, the Church had become alarmed. In 418 the Church succeeded in having a law passed that excluded Jews from the army, although they still could serve in the defense of their towns.

And so by means of one enemy [the Jews] we confound another enemy [the pagans]. ‘Scatter them abroad, take away their strength. ’ (Ver. 32 The most bitter of early Christians in regard to the Jews was St. John Chrysostom. It is a positive sign of changing times that in the most recent 30 A History of Catholic Antisemitism edition of his works, his Catholic editor, Paul Harkins, wrote that Chrysostom’s anti-Jewish theological position “is no longer tenable. Even if he was motivated by an overzealous pastoral spirit, many of his remarks are patently antisemitic.

Other lesser known, secular writers also depicted the Jews as evil. 36 Drama Medieval drama stemmed from Catholic liturgy and the Mass, with its transubstantiation of consecrated wine and bread into Christ’s blood and body. 38 People left their homes and businesses for days to watch the dramas, which were intended to teach the medieval audience about Christ and the Catholic faith. Yet medieval religious drama demonstrates “a mood of unrelenting hostility . . ” 39 Even when no Jews lived in the local area or within the whole nation, the Jew was denigrated.

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