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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Irish Catholic aid agency blurring the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism?

I haven't blogged very much here since I became a Catholic in 2011, and one of the main reasons was the feeling that Christian Aid had become someone else's problem, since the Catholic Church is not a partner of Christian Aid but has its own aid charity in England and Wales, Cafod.

If Ruth Dudley Edwards is to be believed, however (and I see no reason why she shouldn't be) Christian Aidism is alive and well in the Irish Catholic Church and its aid agency, Trocaire.

I'm not qualified to gauge how typical of Ireland such attitudes are. They do sound like an ugly mix of old and new, Right and Left. On the one hand the ancient strain of (pseudo-)theological Christian anti-Semitism which one would be less surprised to hear echoed by Richard Williamson and his followers. On the other hand, Christians me-tooing with a secular radical Left in which "anti-Zionism" is a badge of identity and extreme expressions of it have long since ceased to trigger unease.

As Dudley Edwards suggests, the demoralisation of the Irish bishops probably contributes to a situation where the idealogues in Trocaire have free rein to steer the organisation in a direction congenial to themselves. My impression is that Cafod is on a tighter rein - at least as far as this issue is concerned. It all underlines the importance of upholding the letter and spirit of Nostra Aetate, and we are very fortunate to have a Pope who is unequivocally committed to doing so.