Row erupts between Catholic League and leader of Jewish Renewal movement

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League responded in a statement on June 21 to news stories about a private e-mail exchange he has had with Rabbi Arthur Waskow that has now been leaked to the press.

Rabbi Wasikow has been an active Democrat and also a leader within the Jewish Renewal movement. He founded the Shalom Center, an initiative for interfaith understanding, in 1993 and is its director. 

Donohue took issue with articles written by and statements made by Rabbi Wasikow about efforts taken by the Catholic bishops of the United States expressing concern and dissatisfaction with aspects of the Obama administration's health care reform that they consider intrusive and unacceptable to Catholic teachings.

Concerning the heretofore private exchange between himself and Rabbi Wasikow, Donohue wrote:
 
 It’s time to set the record straight about a feud between Rabbi Waskow and me. I wrote to Waskow following his screed condemning the bishops for standing up for the First Amendment rights of Catholics [click here]. Not content to act civilly, he says of the bishops, “For these men, ‘religion’ happens only in the genitals.” In the same article, Waskow cites “Vatican arrogance” for its inquiry into an internal Church matter, i.e., legitimate concerns over a minority of nuns who have gone “beyond Jesus.”
 
My comment about Ed Koch saying Jews should not make enemies with their Catholic friends was a summation of Mayor Koch’s statement made in January before a Jewish audience [click here]: “We’re 13 million Jews in the whole world—less than one-tenth of 1 percent. And we need allies. The best ally we can have is the Catholic Church.” On January 30, I publicly commended him for his remark [click here], adding, “The Catholic League is proud to stand with the Jewish community in this time of unrelenting attacks on both Catholics and Jews.” I also said that Ed Koch was “one of the greatest friends that Catholics have ever had.”
 
It is not just this one article by Waskow that is upsetting to the Catholic community. In February [click here], he said that the bishops’ opposition to the Obama administration’s HHS mandate seeking to force Catholic entities to pay for abortion-inducing drugs in their health plans was “an outrageous attempt to impose sharia law on the U.S. government and the American public.”

Sharia law? So when the bishops defend constitutional rights they are, in effect, seeking to impose totalitarianism! Waskow has also said of Pope Benedict XVI [click here], “He was a villain before he became Pope, and he is a villain still.”

 

 

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