Cardinal John O'Connor speaks at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York on Nov. 11, 1986. Religion News Service file photo

Cardinal John O’Connor speaks at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on Nov. 11, 1986. Religion News Service file photo


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

NEW YORK (RNS) It’s hard to think of a Catholic churchman who was more outspoken in defense of Jews and Judaism than Cardinal John O’Connor, the charismatic New York archbishop who died in 2000.

Now research into O’Connor’s family tree has found that the cardinal’s affinity for Judaism apparently went deeper than even he knew: His mother, it turns out, was born Jewish and converted before she married O’Connor’s father. Yet the cardinal likely believed his mother was originally Lutheran.

“I think he would have been very proud of it,” his sister, Mary O’Connor Ward, said of the discovery in an interview published in the April 30 edition of Catholic New York.

Ward told the archdiocesan newspaper that she started genealogical research on the O’Connor clan at the urging of one of her daughters.

As she began her quest, Ward found that her maternal grandparents, Tina and Gustav Gumple, had been buried in a Jewish cemetery in Bridgeport, Conn. When they died, in the 1800s, non-Jews could not have been buried in a Jewish burial site, Ward said.

Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, left, and New York's Cardinal John O'Connor met on Sept. 19, 1986 at the Cardinal's residence in New York. Religion News Service file photo by Chris Sheridan

Then Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, left, and New York’s Cardinal John O’Connor met on Sept. 19, 1986 at the cardinal’s residence in New York. Religion News Service file photo by Chris Sheridan


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Then she went to the archives of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia — where the five O’Connor children were raised in a row house — and found that their mother, Dorothy Gumple O’Connor, converted to Catholicism when she was 19, more than a year before she met and married their father, Thomas O’Connor.

“What brought it about, I’ll never know,” Ward told CNY. “None of us will ever know why she became a Catholic.”

Their mother was devout in her practice, and died while sitting in a chair reciting the rosary.

Ward said she doesn’t think her brother knew of the family’s Jewish roots, and the cardinal reportedly said he thought his mother was originally Lutheran because her family came from Germany.

Cardinal O’Connor certainly seemed like the quintessentially Irish-American churchman, with a love for people, a gift for telling stories, and a knack for mixing it up in politics. But his passion for Judaism was a hallmark of his tenure, as well.

Speaking metaphorically, O’Connor told a 1987 rally protesting the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union: “I am proud to be this day, with you, a Jew.” He also called himself a “spiritual Semite” and dared anyone who would attack Jews to paint a swastika on the rectory where he lived.

He was a strong supporter of Jewish causes and played a key role in the Vatican’s recognition of the State of Israel in 1993.

O’Connor also wrote a book, “His Eminence and Hizzoner,” with that quintessentially New York Jew, Ed Koch, his friend and sparring partner, who was mayor during part of the time that O’Connor was archbishop.

Indeed, Koch — who died last year — was such a fixture in the front pew at Midnight Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral every Christmas that O’Connor joked that he wouldn’t start the service until the former mayor was seated.

KRE/AMB END GIBSON

36 Comments

  1. Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Another Cardinal who had a strong family-Jewish connection was Cardinal Richard J. Cushing of Boston whose sister was married to a Jewish man. According to accounts the Cardinal was very close to his sister and brother-in-law.

  2. The fact that we celebrate the rare situations
    where someone from one religion accepts as valid another religion
    should tell you what a blunder religion really is.

    If all religions are okay, none of it is worth bothering with.

    • Max, Peace to you! The blunder (if I might be so bold) might be in your opinion because to say that going from one religion to another is making religion a blunder is not a hypothesis and it surly is far from the works of a theory. It is your opinion which you are entitled to. Blunder means making an embarrassing mistake and it comes from the the Old Norse word – blundra- meaning to “shut ones eyes”. To use our mind and intelligence in thinking about the beliefs of religions and looking for truth is just normal wisdom and critical thinking.
      There is nothing wrong in a religion that claims to be founded by God. One has to study the religion and see if it is what it claims to be. It is more than study it is living the beliefs that a religion profess. Have a peaceful day!

      • @Noel,
        Yes.
        Christianity can only be a blunder:

        God said, “Rape the slaves”, “they are a gift of the Lord”, “take the pretty ones you lust for and rape them.” (Duet 21:10-14)

        Jesus said:
        “Love God, follow his commands”
        “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30-33)

        —-
        These injunctions alone are self-evidently blunderous as in:
        wildly impossible, how could one love such a god?
        The injunction itself is unloving, uncaring, dangerous, barbaric, inhumane, scandalous…need I go on?

        Christianity is AN ERROR as was Judaism before it.
        This sort of jarring nonsense can’t possibly be tidied up.

        • Atheist Max:

          I wouldn’t be so proud of being an atheist — all the major mass murderers of the 20th century were either atheists or pagans. When a human believes they have no one to answer to except their own self interests, then they are capable of great evil. That’s just common sense AND the lesson of history.

          • @RobZ,

            Not true at all.
            I won’t be lumped in with those straw men.
            They were not Atheists at all:

            HITLER:
            A devout Catholic who demanded faith in the Socialist Nationalism – the Aryan Race was believed to be literally Angelic. His favorite parable was the one where Jesus commands “Execute my enemies” and Hitler believed Jesus meant the Jews. Hitler’s first peace treaty was with the Vatican.

            POL POT:
            Theravada Buddhist who lapsed into divine ideas about his heavenly role. He was against education and science – what sort of Atheism is that?

            STALIN:
            Orthodox Christian Seminarian – Assumed the role of CZAR “God’s intermediary” in russian history a religious position. He used the church to seize power and forced upon the population religious allegiance to the “miracles of communism” especially Lysenko’s Agricultural abilities – this is NOT Atheism.

            HIROHITO:
            Emperor of the Sun God – sent Kamikazes to surrender their lives for eternal glory of a permanent victory over the worlds great powers. This is not Atheism.

            —-
            HOWEVER…. LOOK WHAT IS DONE FOR JESUS:
            800,000 people were killed in RWANDA in 1994
            because Catholic priests and nuns
            picked up Machetes and cut Tutsies to death –
            they were taught to “EXECUTE THEM” by Jesus (Luke 19:27).

            Don’t tell them they took it out of context.
            It is too late for you to explain that to the Catholic nuns and Priests
            who conducted the murders along with thousands of Hutus.

            Father Athanase Seromba was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment

            by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

            for his role in the massacre of 2000 Tutsis.

            Seromba lured the Tutsis to the church, where they believed they would find refuge. But….When they arrived, THE PRIEST LOCKED THE DOORS and ordered bulldozers TO CRUSH them alive.

            He ordered Hutu militias to kill any survivors.

            Seromba found shelter at the Vatican for many months along with other nuns and catholic perpetrators of The Rwandan Genocide.

            Tell me how Father Seromba’s morality is better than mine.

            Tell me how morality is not possible without religion!


            “bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their king, AND EXECUTE THEM in front of me.”
            – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

        • Again Max, Peace! You are acting as the interpreter of the Bible. In the faith I follow we do not do our own interpretation of the Bible in a public manner without the teaching church. One can take the scriptures and do prayerful reading of them as one encounters God. God speaks to the heart in sacred scripture. You seem to be the sole author of how you interpret scripture but I do not belong to your following. We have scripture scholars who have studied the Bible for centuries. Linguists, historians etc. Keep reading the Bible Max, but why not choose the passages of God’s mercy and salvation– Spend time with these words and you might even try asking if God is there to help you, it can’t hurt– if you do that for a number of days, you will have a wonderful surprise.

        • Max, I just looked up in the Bible the verse you picked from Deuteronomy and a first question is what Bible are you using to get this quote? Also one needs to understand how Deuteronomy was written, why it was written, when it was written and what was happening during that time in history. What were the cultures of those days and how did the non Jewish cultures treat women? These will be amazing eye openers and then the blunder of keeping one’s eyes closed we no longer be there.

          • @Noel,

            I did not elaborate on Deuteronomy – I summarized a few bits.

            But I am glad to elaborate on any part of it
            because these are not small matters of philosophy
            but absolutist beliefs which to this day are destroying lives:

            GOD COMMANDS that you trick people into slavery:

            “Attack and offer the people terms for peace. If they accept, then all the people inside must serve you in slavery.” (Deut. 20:10)

            GOD DEMANDS YOU BUY SLAVES OF OTHER RACES:

            “You shall purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you…also the children..You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children, they shall be a PERMANENT inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this…” (Leviticus 25:44-46)

            THE BIBLE SAYS – SLAVES, SURRENDER TO PERVERSION. DON’T RUN TO FREEDOM.
            “Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are PERVERSE.” (1 Peter 2:18)

            THE LORD COMMANDS, MAKE YOUR SLAVES INTO PERMANENT PROPERTY BY BRANDING

            The Lord said, “if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him…to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.” (EXODUS 21:5)

            GOD RECOMMENDS TAKING THE PRETTIEST SLAVES AS GOD’S PERSONAL GIFT – PERMITTING FORCIBLE RAPE
            
“Says the LORD, your God…if you see a comely woman among the enslaved and become so enamored of her….you may take her home….you may have relations with her, then she will be your wife…” (Deuteronomy 21:10-14 NAB)

            —–

            JESUS REINFORCES (WHAT ELSE CAN HE DO?)

            
“Jesus answered them, ‘I and My Father are one.’ ” (John 10:30-33)

  3. Although a churchman doesn’t need to have Jewish antecedents in order to be a heretical Judaizer, in O’Connor’s case it must have been a factor. It is well known here in NY that he explicitly told Jews- even ones that were inclined towards Catholicism- that they DID NOT need to convert and, indeed, SHOULD NOT convert. What a traitor to the Gospel and to the Church.

  4. Hitler a devout Catholic?? What a joke! Please get your history straight. He planned to go after the churches, especially the Catholic Church when he had finished his insane persecution of Judaism. Hitler identified with the pagan gods of Germanic culture such as Thor and Odin and wanted to revive that culture. He despised Christianity. Stalin persecuted the Catholic Church in Ukraine, destroying church buildings and starving the people to death. Aetheistic Communism in Asia has killed countless people. Better go read some real history, fella.

    • @Chris,

      You are flat WRONG.

      Hitler’s favorite parable ends with this injunction:

      “Bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King, and EXECUTE THEM in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

      HITLER RE AFFIRMS HIS HATRED OF ATHEISM, MAKES HIS FIRST PEACE TREATY IN 1933 – with THE VATICAN.

      HITLER ENFORCES CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS.
      CHURCH BELLS WILL RING ON HIS BIRTHDAY EVERY YEAR.
      HITLER WILL HAVE VETO POWER OVER THE GERMAN CARDINALS.

      In Germany during the Nazi era, a 1933 decree stated that “No National Socialist may suffer detriment… on the ground that he does not make any religious profession at all”. However, the regime strongly opposed “godless communism”, and most of Germany’s atheist and largely left-wing freethought organizations were banned the same year; some right-wing groups were tolerated by the Nazis until the mid-1930s.

      During negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of April 26, 1933 Hitler stated that “Secular schools can never be tolerated” because of their irreligious tendencies. In a speech made later in 1933, Hitler claimed to have “stamped [Gottlosenbewegung] it out”.

      The word Hitler used, “Gottlosenbewegung”, refers specifically to the communist freethought movement, not atheism in general.

      HITLER THE CATHOLIC FOLLOWER
      OF JESUS AND MARTIN LUTHER

      First of all, there has never been such thing as “state-imposed Atheism”.
      It isn’t possible.

      A state can ban religion, but it cannot ban ATHEISM because it is NOT a belief, a faith, or a set of doctrines or dogmas and CANNOT be imposed on anybody.
      Atheism is an absence of belief, and you cannot ban something that does not exist.

      HITLER DIDN’T SAY, “I don’t believe in god, therefore I will slaughter lots of innocent people”.

      Christians have been trying to discredit Hitler’s faith for decades, turning their eyes away from countless history books. From the earliest formation of the Nazi party he expressed his Christian support to the German citizenry and soldiers. He was baptized as Roman Catholic in Austria, attended a monastery school and was a communicant and an altar boy in the Catholic Church.

      Hitler was confirmed as a “SOLDIER of CHRIST” and his goal was to become a priest.

      Hitler was never excommunicated or condemned and the church had stated that he was “Avenging for God” in attacking the Jews for they deemed the Semites the killers of Jesus.

      Hitler was given veto power over whom the Pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany and forged a treaty whereas the National Socialist state was officially recognized by the Catholic Church. In a letter to the Nazi party, he wrote
      “…this treaty shows the whole world clearly and unequivocally that the assertion that National Socialism is hostile to religion is a lie.”

      He allied with Pope Pius in converting German society and made a deal with the church whereas the church absorbed Nazi ideals and preached them as part of their sermons, and in turn, Hitler placed Catholic teachings in public education. This lead to Hitler enacting doctrines of the Church as law. He outlawed all abortion, raged a death war on all homosexuals, and demanded corporal punishment in schools and home.

      Hitler was quoted, “The National Socialist State professes its allegiance to positive Christianity. It will be its honest endeavor to protect both the great Christian Confessions in their rights, to secure them from interference with their doctrines (Lehren), and in their duties to constitute a harmony with the views and the exigencies of the State of today…Providence has caused me to be Catholic, and I know therefore how to handle this Church.”

      In fact, the Holocaust grew out of Hitler’s Christian education due mainly to Jews having an inferior status in Christian Austria and Germany. The Christians there blamed the Jews for the killing of Jesus and the hatred that Hitler fostered against Jewish people began from the preaching of Catholic priests and Protestant ministers throughout Germany.

      Martin Luther held a livid hatred for Jews and their religion.

      Luther wrote a book titled “On the Jews and their Lies” which set the standard for Jewish hatred all the way up to World War 2.
      Hitler, of course, expressed enormous admiration for Martin Luther.

      The Nazis began to control schools insisting that Christianity was taught. They included anti-Semitic Christian writings in textbooks and were not removed from Christian doctrines until 1961. Nazi soldiers wore religious symbols and placed religious sayings on military gear. The official army belt buckle read “God With Us”. They got sprinkled with holy water and listened to Catholic sermons before going out on maneuvers. The Nazis had a secret service called the “SS Reich” that would act as spies on the dealings of other citizens and if anyone was suspected of heresy they would be prosecuted.

      HITLER EXPRESSES HIS LOVE OF CHRIST, LOVE OF CHRISTIANITY AND CONVICTION THAT GOD IS ON HIS SIDE.

      Here is Hitler’s commitment to Christianity:
      “We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.”
      -Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933

      “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows . For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.” -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922

      “Christianity could not content itself with building up its own altar; it was absolutely forced to undertake the destruction of the heathen altars. Only from this fanatical intolerance could its apodictic faith take form; this intolerance is, in fact, its absolute presupposition.”
      -Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

      “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” -Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

      ‘GOTT MIT UNS’ (god on our side) shall be on every soldier’s belt buckle – Adolph Hitler, speech in Berlin, June 1933

      • Max, there will always be people who interpret the message of Christ and his gift of Salvation in incorrect ways. Some of these people show disdain for religion by incorrect, fundamental interpretations of the Bible. Would you take the time to answer questions posed to you. ie. What Bible translation are you using? It is always tragic when a baptized Catholic falls into sin and stays there, any Christian who lives in unrepentant sin and never seeks God’s mercy is not going to bring the Good News of Jesus as being the way, the truth and the life to others. Anyone who lives outside of God’s grace and chooses to stay there is a danger to society and all humanity. Those who follow non Christian religions that promote killing or anything against human life are a cause of great evil and suffering. Those who choose to break the Ten Commandments( which once was the dough (fiber) of our law system in this nation and was a compass to guide the family structure towards seeking a virtuous life will not bring our society to a better place. As we continue to break these commandments and say it is right to violate these commandments we as a people will bring havoc to our society. We have lots of Hitlers destroying life right now. Just breaking the commandment — Thou Shall Not Kill has made our country a very violent place to live in. We no longer see the value of human life and now are paying the price. An atheist can be a sincere person who lives a moral life by respecting human life, by promoting what is good and is not threatened by those who believe in God. You come across to the believer as one who is very angry and again just whom are you angry at? God?
        Keeping you in prayer and have a peaceful day!

        • @NOEL,

          “there will always be people who interpret the message of Christ and his gift of Salvation in incorrect ways”

          Then what good is it?

          • Max, just wanted to comment on “so what good is it” If you meant Salvation– now there is a great gift. Imagine being in water where you are drowning. Gasping for air, trying to survive but knowing you are going to die. You want desperately for someone to save you and there is someone coming, trying to get to you but being human they just can’t get to you in time. Then there is Jesus- he just comes right to you and in his humanity and divinity grasps you gently and you are no longer drowning. You have been saved but at a closer look you see the hands that have grasped you from the drowning waters of the sea, of despair and death., His hands have wounds in it made by the cruel death of crucifixion. There, in his resurrected hands you see the price that Christ paid for your salvation and all humanity. God wanted you for all eternity and loves you forever. He knows your pain and suffering because he has already suffered for you. A suffering he never had to do. It was paid in full only because of Love. When you see someone, a child or a wife die from a cruel sickness, from an accident or a deliberate murder it is the greatest test of faith, if one has the gift of faith. Yet, when you believe that this life is not the final end and that there really is a place where there is joy, love and no more sorrow– heaven — somehow looking at the crucified Christ who was sinless gives strength to one who is watching suffering. Mary, the Mother of Jesus ,stood at the cross and never became bitter, or a woman who sought revenge for the death of her innocent son who she believed was the Messiah and the Son of God. What good is salvation? It is living in the union of Goodness himself! If there is no God then those who believe and have tried to live by their faith will just know nothing but if there is a God then everything is very different for the believer and the non believer. Mercy or damnation is in the hands of the eternal judge but we are the ones who choose our destination. People choose heaven or hell. They live it daily and at the final moment they have the freedom to choose. Some choose life and some choose death!

          • @Noel,

            Yes I do understand the entire Christian theory as you outlined it. And it has a logic within itself.
            But doesn’t it mean that you must believe all of this:

            1. Hell truly exists and you will be going there if you don’t reach out Jesus?

            2. You were brought into the world specifically to “drown” (as you say) expressly for the purpose of choosing the drowning or to be saved. Right?

            3. God became Jesus to save us from the drowning.

            4. But God is the one who created us and started us drowning. Which he then sent Jesus to save us from the drowning.

            If God is Jesus – the same being – and he wanted to save us from the drowning why not just stop the drowning?

      • I see you take history lessons from militantly atheist feeder sites.

        Why not read some real history books, or real quotes from Hitler such as “Hitler’s Table Talk”? You didn’t even read your own quotes, as your quote

        “Christianity could not content itself with building up its own altar; it was absolutely forced to undertake the destruction of the heathen altars. Only from this fanatical intolerance could its apodictic faith take form; this intolerance is, in fact, its absolute presupposition.”

        is in fact an INDICTMENT of Christianity, by Adolf Hitler. And it in fact shows us how Hitler in fact preferred the heathen religions over Christianity.

        So you debunked yourself with regard to Hitler, who may have been agnostic but certainly no Christian. That’s what you get with sloppy reading and not willing to learn.

        Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao, of course, were even more easily identifiable as atheistic and the fact that you bring up Stalin ONCE BEING A SEMINARY BOY shows how pathetic it is. For no-one denies that. The point is that he dropped out of seminary and pursued a Communist political ideal and that the Russian Revolution cracked down very hard on churches; Russia’s church is still recovering from it.

        • @TONY,

          I don’t know how much evidence you are ready to refute. It seems everything about your religion outlaws fact and supports superstition.

          It seems to not matter to you that Hitler outlawed Atheism and agnositicm. That the Nazi SS was a Jesuit Catholic order. Or that church bells celebrated Hitler’s birthday every April – even into the war!

          The Czar is a religious russian post of intermediary with God. Stalin seized it. According to Stalin, Lysenko’s miracles confirmed that Stalin was worthy of a religious position. How is that “Atheism”?

          Today, Stalin is a saint in the Russian Orthodox Church and there are Icons of him with halos in most churches there. How is that Atheism?

          The fact that Stalin’s own beliefs wobbled from Christian to Agnostic and back again at the end of his life is not the important point.
          The population was fully credulous, gullible and infected with superstition and religion thanks to the early spread of the Orthodox Church.

          An uneducated, gullible, credulous, superstitious population soaked in the nonsense of religion – is the most vulnerable to dictatorship.
          Shame on those who preach what cannot be shown to be true.

  5. Max, Rwanda was a horrific time in the world s history of nations doing nothing to help the people of Rwanda. Yes, there were Religious, ministers, priests who did evil in the genocide of Rwanda.but have you read about the priests, sisters, ministers, catechists , bishops who were brutally killed also and those who gave up their lives to save others. Here is a quote during the beginnings of that horrific time in the worlds history regarding the slaughter of the people of Rwanda by St.John Paul ll -
    VATICAN – ” The Pope’s anguished and repeated calls during the genocide in Rwanda: ‘Do not give in to the temptation of hatred and revenge. At this tragic stage of the life of your country, be builders of peace and love’.”
    Hatred and revenge destroy relationships and destroy peace– Over night a nation can change, history proves it.

    • Please stop giving credit to Jesus Christ for the good things that some Christians do unless you are willing to give credit to Jesus Christ for the bad things that Priests do.

      Christianity is incoherent nonsense and it impossible to know what to do with it:

      “bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King, and EXECUTE THEM in front of me.” – Jesus (luke 19:27)

      “I have come to bring FIRE on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but division.” – Jesus – (Luke 12:49-51)

      Jesus sounds like Hitler, here.
      Notice that?

        • Max just read what you wrote- that’s a dialogue and since I am not a theologian, as you can tell, I go back to the beginning. We were made in the image and likeness of God and in the beginning we did not choose evil, it was when evil was presented to the first humans that a choice was made. If one believes in Angels, which I do, then they too had free choice and some choose “not to serve their creator. It takes humility to believe in God and you can’t have just a little humility once in awhile. It has to be all or nothing. The gift of faith is a gift and the “saving” is on going, we didn’t need the action of Jesus coming to save us when our first parents did not sin. We always needed Jesus and it says in scripture that God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden as Genesis points out. Free choice is a great gift. When religion becomes forced is not the way God seeks us but man interfering with a God who is very merciful. Only God can be merciful and just at the same time. We can not be both, we either seek justice or mercy. God invites us to walk with him, to be with him, but he will not force us to seek his mercy or to believe in him. I do not claim to understand all these topics but I do know God is real and that Jesus is alive. To live in Christ means to have a living encounter with him. I have had the gift of faith handed down to me by my parents, I have friends who have had to search because they did not believe in God and it was a very painful time in their lives to group in the darkness of non belief and yet keep searching for truth. Some are still searching or have giving up the pursuit of asking questions like, Why is there suffering, why do the wicked get away with evil and inflict it on other, Why is there evil? What is the meaning of life? and how did all this nature get here in the first place?
          What makes a rabbit be a rabbit and a deer a deer? Why does nature become violent and kill thousands of people in tsunamis, earthquakes etc Why do some people become selfish and care for only themselves and things instead of life, their families, the poor and the lonely. Life is a mystery to be lived and if we all treated others with compassion, mercy and kindness– Our world would be a better place.
          Hope to meet you one day in heaven Max…and I’ll be counting on God’s mercy on the day of judgment but I’ll also now go to his mom- cause I need all the help I can get. The woman at the foot of the cross was given to us when Jesus was gasping for breath as he tried to say the words– This is your mother, Mother this is your son– she became not just John’s mother but our mother.

          • “if we all treated others with compassion, mercy and kindness– Our world would be a better place”

            Which is why I am against religion.

          • Dear Noel,

            You said, “read what you wrote- that’s a dialogue, since I am not a theologian….”

            The Bible does not come with an instruction manual.
            The Bible claims TO BE the instruction manual.

            When Jesus says, “Execute them”
            there is no rule that says there is “wrong” way to interpret that.

            If 2000 years of Christian history tells us anything, it proves the Bible can mean absolutely anything you want it to mean – and no matter what you decide – God is on your side.

  6. Max the aetheist, it is you who are wrong. My family is from Germany, my parents and grandparents saw what unfolded firsthand. Stalin at one time was also considering entering a Russian Orthodox seminary but eventually turned on his Church just as Hitler did on the Catholic Church. The fact that Hitler was baptized in the Catholic Church is not the definitive issue. Many people are baptized in various churches and leave as adults because they never made their faith their own. Hitler put on a show of sympathy for Christianity as long as it served his purposes. A devout Catholic? Please read the story of Father Alfred Delp, a German Jesuit who became involved in the resistance movement against Hitler and was murdered because of it, strung up naked and hung from a hook. As was the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was also willing to sacrifice his life to stop Hitler’s madness. You dishonor these great men by your insistence that Hitler was a practicing Catholic.

    Adolph Hitler died the death of a coward and traitor to humanity. Both Judaism and the churches he tried so desperately to destroy live on. God is not mocked.

    • @Chris,

      “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” -Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

      Good people will do good things.
      Bad people will do bad things.
      But if you want to motivate lots of good people to do BAD THINGS you need religion.

      Don’t point to Delp or Bohoeffer if you are not willing to point to HITLER. All of Hitler’s SS guards were confessing CATHOLICS!
      They all interpreted Jesus Christ in their own way:

      *********

      “bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King, and EXECUTE THEM in front of me.” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

      *******

      “And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows . For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.”
      -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922

      Religion is a dangerous, horrible toy. We don’t need it.

      • Max: “All of Hitler’s SS guards were confessing CATHOLICS!”

        This is nonsense, as anyone who would simply read a book about this or google for a few minutes would easily find out.

        • @TONY,

          This is high school level stuff: Hitler’s Concordat with the Vatican of 1933 was the first peace treaty Hitler signed.

          For The Nazi SS – any LACK of belief or Atheism was outlawed.
          The SS is a shortened name for the “Knights of the Holy See” is a Roman Catholic spiritual and military order first formed in 1933 based completely upon the Jesuit order structure upon the signing of the “sacred” Reich Concordat specifically through the application of Articles 1,12,15,21 and 33 with the enaction of Clause (c) of the “Secret Supplement” of the Concordat between Franz von Papen (on behalf of Nazi Germany) and Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (Pope Pius XII).

          MOST of the SS guards were confessing Catholics.
          The SS was a Catholic Jesuit Organization.

  7. And by the way, Max, Pastor Bonhoeffer’s twin sister’s husband was Jewish. When speaking of “Lutherans” please don’t put all eggs in the same basket.

    I apologize to others commenting here as I have derailed the discussion from its original one about Cardinal O’Connor’s Jewish roots. I will not comment further.

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