Skip to comments.Robert Sungenis Censored by Bishop
Posted on 08/01/2007 8:47:44 PM PDT by Augustine22
Catholic Apologetics International and its Teachings on the Jews
...The issue of how CAI has been communicating its concerns about the Jews was recently brought to our attention by the bishop of the diocese in which CAI is located, the Very Reverend, Kevin C. Rhoades of Harrisburg, PA. In a personal letter he wrote to me, and in a follow up meeting I recently had with his vicar general, the Very Reverend William J. King, JCD, along with the executive director for ecumenical and inter-religious affairs of the USCCB, the Reverend James Massa, the shepherds God has placed as overseers of my life and work have asked me to reconsider the tone and content with which I write about the Jewish people for CAI. They provided me examples in which I have crossed the line into inappropriate language and accusations, and I communicated to them my agreement with their overall assessment...
Accordingly, CAI is in the process of removing all the content on its website concerning the Jews in order to make the initial adjustments in complying with my bishops directive. If and when CAI edits the material to make it conform to our bishops guidelines, we will repost it, but since my time is very limited and I have many other projects that need my attention, I do not see a reposting of the material happening very quickly, if at all. If in the future we write any new material on the Jews, it will always be with the required due diligence, as if the bishop were present with us. Since he acts in Gods stead, we will do our utmost to please him so as to preserve the peace and tranquility he so desires to maintain in the body of Christ...
Robert A. Sungenis, Ph.D.
July 31, 2007
(Excerpt) Read more at catholicintl.com ...
I must be way out of the loop, what happened?
Sungenis is a geocentrist. In a certain sense, I have to admire a guy just because he’s willing to be that far out there.
Sungenis has published a handful of things that an increasingly vocal group of detractors have denounced as anti-semitic. Now, some of their complaints are nonsense, but others have merit. Sungenis has, for instance, made a habit of questioning these detractors as to whether or not they have Jewish ancestory. That just isn’t a good idea.
This has all significantly weakened Sungenis’ apostolate at a time when he should be riding high. He is dogged across the internet by people who pounce on his every statement looking for anything that can be construed as anti-semitic. And sadly, some of his statements certainly seem to fit the modern mold of what an anti-semitic statement is.
There’s an anti-Sungenis website all about this: http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/
Sungenis should drop posting and speaking about anything related to modern Jews. And those watching his every move should just give the guy a break.
Sungenis is a great apologist. I would hate for him to be remembered for his mistakes or for what his detractors say about him.
I don’t know what things vlad is talking about that are ridiculous. But there’s more than a handful of things that are bad news from him when it comes to Jews.
The man wouldn’t back off and put up hundreds (literally) of articles and Q-As over the past couple of years attacking Jews for everything imaginable.
Huh? A geocentrist isn’t “out there” at all, is he? He thinks it’s all about “in here”. LOL. Joshing. I get what you mean.
I thought he was a Feeneyite. Weren't he and Karl Keating having a feud? Or maybe I'm confusing him with someone else.
Sungenis is bound by obedience to the Pastoral Vicar of his Diocese. I am happy he is complying. Becoming a schismatic is a bizarre option for an apologist.
I don’t think that Sungenis is a feeneyite. He sells a DVD about “No Salvation Outside the Church” for $7.
According to the flier I got from him a few days ago: “Some interpret this rigorously that absolutely no one who is not a member of the Church can be saved.”
Doesn’t sound like a feeneyite to me.
The video is also apparently online at youtube:
I don’t have highspeed access. Maybe you do.
Read the article at the link. I just don’t know enough to agree or disagree with some of his theological conclusions, but I was struck by his willingness to submit to his local ordinary. Lotsa points for that.
As well, regarding whether he’s a feeneyite, it seems clear to me that he’s not, in that he talks about those who are saved without formal membership in the Catholic Church.
My view of Dr. Sungenis had fallen with his preoccupation with geocentrism and the apparent anti-semitic nature of some of his stuff. For what it's worth (not much, I know), with this article, my esteem for him has risen considerably.
I don’t think he’s a Feeneyite, either. I’m glad he listened to his bishop’s directive. But I’m not sure how much that tells us about him. If he didn’t listen to his bishop, he might not be able to call it Catholic Apologetics International anymore and he’s not been able to get imprimaturs on his books because of his Jewish problems.
I noticed he still has up some articles and Q and A’s that have to do with Jews. I hope he listens to the bishop and takes them all down if they have to do with Jews.
I hope the obedience was for good reasons.
In June 2006, Galileo Was Wrong, which also lacks an imprimatur, was released in which Sungenis describes his reasons for believing geocentrism using his interpretations of various secular sources. A second volume outlining his biblical and theological hypotheses is purportedly forthcoming.He's also gone after Scott Hahn and Karl Keating, for Scott's alleged belief in the female nature of the Holy Spirit.
Humility? I don’t know about that. Maybe. You’d hope so. But he admitted he couldn’t get any imprimaturs on his books because of his Jewish views. And when a bishop gives you a directive to cease something that’s serious business. Could you imagine if they told him he couldn’t use the name “Catholic” on his apostolate anymore?
How many people told him to do the same thing for years? But it took an order from the bishop before he finally did it.
I found it disturbing how he used the name of the Catholic Church to spread his anti-Semitism. I don’t call it alleged anti-Semitism. It was pretty blatant, imo.
I think this is an excellent development too. Perhaps his new books will get those imprimaturs (although I don’t know if it was unfair to deny them in the past considering that none of his books had anything to do with the controversy surrounding him).
I have five of his books. They are all excellent.
“If he didnt listen to his bishop, he might not be able to call it Catholic Apologetics International...”
Actually, if he weren’t willing to listen to his bishop, there is nothing that his bishop could do to stop him from calling it Catholic Apologetics International. The bishop can only impose ecclesiastical discipline. If he refuses that, then that’s the whole game.
Good for Mr. Sungenis for having the humility to follow the reasonable requests of his bishop.
Partly true. But how many people would buy his books and tapes if the bishop came out and said his website didn’t have permission to use the Catholic name and Sungenis kept it up anyway?
But regardless of the reason, thank God Sungenis finally did the right thing.
Sungenis said that he was turned down because of what he wrote in his study Bible about Jews. It doesn’t sound like it was about the other things.
But maybe he’ll take whatever was wrong out and try again. Who knows?
I have no idea about it, vladimir. I have no idea what Sungenis will do with the imprimatur now that things might be working out.
Personally, I think it would be great if everything comes out in the wash. I like his early work a lot. But he’s made promises like this before, hasn’t he? Just pray he sticks by it this time.
I have his book Not By Bread Alone and he explained why he didn’t have an imprimatur. Do you have it? It has nothing to do with all of this Jewish stuff.
How is it such a great and humble thing that Robert Sungenis finally relented after being forced to by his bishop?
He could have saved EVERYONE a lot of embarrassment and heartache if he did this a LONG time ago.
Good for him, I guess.
“I have his book Not By Bread Alone and he explained why he didnt have an imprimatur. Do you have it? It has nothing to do with all of this Jewish stuff.”
Yes, I have the book. It’s good. I hope Sungenis can get the imprimaturs. He doesn’t need them, but they can’t hurt and it will help rehabilitate his image.
“How is it such a great and humble thing that Robert Sungenis finally relented after being forced to by his bishop?”
I didn’t say anything about Sungenis’ actions being humble or great so I have no idea of what you’re talking about. Can you show me where I said what you are alleging?
“He could have saved EVERYONE a lot of embarrassment and heartache if he did this a LONG time ago.”
Maybe, but why are you addressing this to me when I didn’t say what you just said I did?
“Good for him, I guess.”
Yes, in the long run it will be.
Now, can you show me where I said what you allege?
Ooops! That wasn’t to you! I’m new at this. I think that was supposed to be to Unam. I think I see how you do this now.
Vladimir998, I was doing some googling and came up with this. Is this you? You look like a Sugenis-camp guy if this is you at Catholic Answers Forums:
October 19, 2006
Originally Posted by bigdawg
Why don’t you guys just drop it?
(Vladimir998): I’m with you bigdawg. It seems that some of the most prominent apologists in the Church in America have a real axe to grind against Sungenis. Why? I’m not sure. I just see no point to this.
I like Sungenis’ books. I am eagerly awaiting his Bible study on Revelation. If anything I’ll buy it just to stick my finger in the collective eye of these people who seem determined to destroy Sungenis. (end)
I hope your out of that now, Vladimir. Sugenis was under interdict from his bishop and his bishop told him he had to take his anti-semitic stuff down or he would denounce Sungenis. It’s in Culture Wars magazine.
Sungenis changed the name of his organization to take the name Catholic out of it. There’s still serious problems there. If people can’t get that the guy is a problem, then there not thinking.
He’s bad news and I wouldn’t go near him with a 10 foot pole.
Sungenis is really far out of the mainstream. For example, he thinks that women are required to cover their heads in church, which is not true.
Moral of this story: don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Just because some guy has a blog, it doesn’t mean that he knows what he’s saying or that he is truthful.
“I hope your out of that now, Vladimir.”
Out of what?
“Sugenis was under interdict from his bishop and his bishop told him he had to take his anti-semitic stuff down or he would denounce Sungenis.”
Quite frankly I don’t care about Sungenis past foibles. His books are excellent.
“Its in Culture Wars magazine.”
I don’t subscribe.
“Sungenis changed the name of his organization to take the name Catholic out of it.”
He probably was told to remove the word ‘Catholic’. Quite frankly I don’t care if the word ‘Catholic’ is in the name of the organization.
“Theres still serious problems there. If people cant get that the guy is a problem, then there not thinking.”
I always think. I just know whatever trouble he or his organization might have had in the past or even now it doesn’t have anything to do with me and it isn’t a blot on the Church or the Catholic faith.
“Hes bad news and I wouldnt go near him with a 10 foot pole.”
I don’t think he’s bad news at all, and I would be more than happy to keep buying his books! I look forward to his commentary on James and Romans!
“Sungenis is really far out of the mainstream. For example, he thinks that women are required to cover their heads in church, which is not true.”
Actually, if I am not mistaken, Sungenis says that it was in the 1917 Code and that it was a custom for which no canon law was ever put forward overturning it. Yes, the Code of 1983 superceded the 1917 Code, but it seems to me that it was still a long standing custom (over 1900 years!) and that there was no reason to overturn it. I attend the old Latin Mass and women wearing veils is a common sight.
“Moral of this story: dont believe everything you read on the internet. Just because some guy has a blog, it doesnt mean that he knows what hes saying or that he is truthful.”
True enough, but Sungenis does have a worthwhile argument in favor of women wearing veils and it was certainly a venerable custom that should not have ended.
Good point steadfast. People listen to too many kooks just because they act like they’re authorities or something.
And on the veils I read both sides. Women can wear them or not. It’s not a requirment. Sugenis writes like he thinks he a bishop or a prophet or something. He’s dangerous like a cult imo. And the way some people stick with him no matter what makes it even more like a cult to me. Its a cult way of looking at things, not Catholic.
When a bishop puts his foot down like he did with Sugenis (and the bishop’s got a real good conservative rep from what I read) there’s a very very big problem.
Sugenis lied about a lot of things and he can’t even get an imprimatur anymore. He’s just not honest, imo.
But some people are really into personalities. Not me! I’ll stay right in the bosom of the Church. Personalities are for cults, Jim Jones and guys like Sugenis and his followers. No thanks.
So that was you there at Catholic Answers Forums? That explains a lot. No point in arguing any more! If you’re into cults, go for it.
“If youre into cults, go for it.”
I’m Catholic and I’m not interested in cults.
What you’re not interested in is intelligence. Apparently all you want to do is attack Robert Sungenis. Have at it. It only shows us your character - or lack thereof.
Not to worry. If someone calls all the things documented that Sungenis has written attacking Jews mere “foibles”, then that tells everyone more than enough about such a person.
The way that poor Shoeman convert was treated was so wrong.
Point well taken, Steadfast (on bloggers, websites). Thanks!
People need to remember that a lot of blogs are just opinion and nothing more. Just because someone has a PhD after his name or styles himself to be a traditional Catholic, it does not mean that he writes or speaks with any authority on what the Church teaches. If he did, his diocesan bishop would not have ordered him to remove his supposedly “Catholic” comments about Jews from his website.
While there is no connection between creationism and geocentrism (on the one hand) and anti-Semitism (on the other hand), the fact that all these doctrines are part of Catholic tradition makes it almost inevitable that any Catholic who takes the traditional position on creation/geocentrism will almost inevitably take it on the Jews as well.
“If someone calls all the things documented that Sungenis has written attacking Jews mere foibles, then that tells everyone more than enough about such a person.”
You have no idea of what you’re talking about. His actions were examples of his foibles. I said nothing about the ideas he held.
Also, please note, Dmetrius’ account has been banned or suspended. I’m not sure why he was banned but you might want to think about it.
There’s only one problem with your post:
“...the fact that all these doctrines are part of Catholic tradition...”
Anti-semitism is not a Catholic doctrine.
Also, geocentrism is not a Catholic doctrine.
Huh? A geocentrist isn’t “out there” at all, is he? He thinks it’s all about “in here”. LOL. Joshing. I get what you mean.
I never heard of Sungenis before this article. But is that what he means by geocentrist, it's all "in here"? The cosmology of western Europe was geocentrist for 2000 years going back to Aristotle. The earth was at the center of the universe, but everyting below the orbit of the moon was subject to decay and death. Thefore, the earth is the least important part of the universe.
The earth was surrouned by a series of conecntric transparent, crystalline spheres. The most important part of the universe was beyond the last sphere, the Primum Mobile, the prime mover. There lay the Empyrean, the true Heaven with God and the highest angels. "In here" was the least important because it was mutable. The most important was "out there", millions of miles way, the realm of the immutable and the eternal.
Is this what Sungenis is talking about? Or is he simply a modern evolutionist, putting man at the top of evolutionary progress, and therefor at the "center".
To put it somewhat facetiously, sez you.
Also, geocentrism is not a Catholic doctrine.
It's not? But didn't popes and bishops and theologians teach it for a long time? If long-held teachings can be discarded in the name of "science," then what's to prevent any doctrine from being so discarded???
As I understand it, the acentric position and the Brahian position (which is not called "geocentric" but rather something else which I can't recall right now) explain the observed movements of the heavenly bodies. This being the case, why favor one over the other, except for a need to prove the Bible is primitive and full of mistakes?
I hope you don't defend evolution as well. From your defenses of Mr. Sungenis I had concluded that you shared his commitment to total Biblical inerrancy, but now you seem to be back-pedalling.
Unfortunately, in addition to being anti-Semitic, Mr. Sungenis has long rejected the literal interpretation of the early generations of mankind in the early chapters of Genesis, insisting that "begot" refers not to direct fatherhood but mere paternal ancestry. This is in conflict with Jewish tradition as well as the literal meaning of the text and means his "inerrancy" isn't really inerrancy.
Again, I was sorry to see Mr. Sungenis take the road that he did, but I understand he was merely publicizing teachings not his own and which had fallen into disuse in the modern era. I support this with regard to "science," but not with regard to anti-Semitic teachings.
“To put it somewhat facetiously, sez you.”
Can you show it to me from the Catechism where it says it is a Catholic doctrine? How about the Catechism of the Council of Trent? Nope.
“It’s not? But didn’t popes and bishops and theologians teach it for a long time?”
Not as a de fide Catholic doctrine they didn’t, and it isn’t an issue of faith or morals either.
“If long-held teachings can be discarded in the name of “science,” then what’s to prevent any doctrine from being so discarded???”
No doctrine was discarded. Show me where in the Catechism of the Council of Trent you see where geocentrism is taught as a doctrine of the faith. Can you?
“This being the case, why favor one over the other, except for a need to prove the Bible is primitive and full of mistakes?”
Your question is irrelevant here. Geocentrism is NOT a doctrine of the Church.
“I hope you don’t defend evolution as well. From your defenses of Mr. Sungenis I had concluded that you shared his commitment to total Biblical inerrancy, but now you seem to be back-pedalling.”
Nope. I never back pedel. I also don’t defend evolution. I also don’t question Biblical inerrancy.
“Unfortunately, in addition to being anti-Semitic, Mr. Sungenis has long rejected the literal interpretation of the early generations of mankind in the early chapters of Genesis, insisting that “begot” refers not to direct fatherhood but mere paternal ancestry. This is in conflict with Jewish tradition as well as the literal meaning of the text and means his “inerrancy” isn’t really inerrancy.”
Irrelevant. Geocentrism is still not a doctrine of the faith no matter what you think Sungenis denies about anything.
“Again, I was sorry to see Mr. Sungenis take the road that he did, but I understand he was merely publicizing teachings not his own and which had fallen into disuse in the modern era. I support this with regard to “science,” but not with regard to anti-Semitic teachings.”
If you can’t show it in the Catholic catechisms then you have no case.
Good for you. Unfortunately, you're part of a very tiny minority of Catholics, both in the world at large and at FR. Would that it were otherwise!
I said: “If someone calls all the things documented that Sungenis has written attacking Jews mere ‘foibles’, then that tells everyone more than enough about such a person.”
Vladimir said: “You have no idea of what youre talking about. His actions were examples of his foibles. I said nothing about the ideas he held.”
Here’s what I was talking about. Dmetrius wrote: Sugenis was under interdict from his bishop and his bishop told him he had to take his anti-semitic stuff down or he would denounce Sungenis.
Right after that statement, you wrote, “Quite frankly I dont care about Sungenis past foibles. His books are excellent.”
The only thing Dmetrius wrote about Sungenis here was Sungenis’ “anti-Semitic stuff”. So I think it’s natural I would conclude you were talking about that same thing when you said you didn’t care about “Sungenis’ past foibles” right afterwards.
And a “foible” is “a minor flaw or weakness”...*MINOR*.
My reaction was only that if (if!) you really see Sungenis’ anti-Semitic writings as only a “MINOR flaw or weakness” then that would say something about your values.
Maybe you didn’t think “foible” meant something minor, so maybe it was just a misunderstanding. At the beginning, you agreed that some of the things he’s said are anti-Semitic, so we agree on that much. The only other thing I could think of off the top of my head was that you believe anti-Semitism like that isn’t serious, and I couldn’t believe you’d think that.
You said, “Also, please note, Dmetrius account has been banned or suspended. Im not sure why he was banned but you might want to think about it.”
Not really. One of your comments was removed by the moderator. I’m not going waste time trying to read into either occurrence. I only care about the points that are on-topic. And his points made sense to me for the most part.
My focuse is the original topic. It’s too bad (*really*) it looks like Mr. Sungenis is creeping back on what he wrote about finally cooling it on Jewish things already. There were signs of real hope and I hope they aren’t fading. He took down the letter (the one I quoted at the very top) that was supposed to be kept up at his internet website for good and settle matters. He changed the name of his organization and took the word Catholic out. Now he’s got a couple Q-A’s from someone that has a real issue with Jews (Suter?), new Alerts of whatever he calls them about Jews and Israel and going after Dear Abby (no doubt because he attacked her before as bad Jewish influence) and a newish article against some Protestant guy where Mr. Sungenis says he’s not anti-Semitic but he still keeps lumping all Jewish people together like one big monolith in his defense of himself.
All I can guess is that he must not get how anyone would be offended by that.
I hope he turns around and gets back on track for good. We need the kind of work he used to do for the Church. And he’ll do that a lot better if gets back on good terms with his bishop, who’s supposed to be very good from what people are saying. That’s the Catholic way to do things.
No argument from me that he’s got a lot to offer, especially defending God’s Word from attack. We need to pray for him to get it together for the long haul. We need everyone who will stand up and fight for Truth...with love.
Especially at this time of year.
Pardon! That last note was to Vladimir from me, so when I wrote “you” anywhere, it was to him. I wasn’t writing to myself.
Though...if I keep drinking this egg-nog I might start talking to myself. :-)
No offense if I don’t get back to anyone. No snubbing intended. Going to be on extended vaca-break...maybe no computer. Maybe not a bad thing!
Joy to the World, brothers and sisters!
That's a pretty damning link you posted.
I have no patience or time with Catholic "apologists" who spend their time trying to trash or otherwise discredit other Catholic apologists who are making a good-faith effort to be orthodox, as I believe both Mr. Shoeman and Mr. Shea are). If you think the other guy is in error, take it up with him privately. Don't write articles or post websites to trash someone else's reputation.
And the ultimate decision on a Catholic's orthodoxy or lack thereof belongs to the person's pastor, his ordinary, the SCDF, or the Pope. Not to Internet bloggers or magazine publishers.
I killed my subscription to New Oxford Review after their vicious little hit piece on Scott Hahn, and this is the reason why.
Trying to say here that IMO both Mr. Shoeman and Mr. Shea are making a good-faith effort to be orthodox, and don't deserve the treatment they received.