The Zionist and the Saint

Theodore Herzl (1860-1904), one of the pioneers of Zionism, had the distinction of winning Western Jews and European leaders to the cause of a Jewish state in Palestine. Toward the end of his career, he met with, among others, the Kaiser of Germany, the King of Italy, the Sultan of Turkey, and the Pope of Rome.

Zionism, that politico-religious doctrine which gave birth to the modern state of Israel, was the Jewish heresy that the Messias is not a person, but the Jewish race itself. A racist ideology at least as offensive as Nazism, it was rejected by certain Orthodox Jews because they still believed in their misguided notion of a personal Messias who would make the Jews victorious over the nations. This explains the well-known fact that the modern state of Israel was at first opposed by many within Orthodox Jewry.

Given the fundamentally anti-Christ idea behind Zionism, it should come as no surprise that its proponents were and are declared enemies of the Faith. In the book Rome and Jerusalem, another prominent Zionist, Moses Hess (1812-1875), developed the thesis that Rome (Christianity) must be supplanted by Jerusalem (Judaism). According to Hess, “Papal Rome symbolizes to the Jews an inexhaustible well of poison. It is only with the drying up of this source that Christian German anti-Semitism will die from lack of nourishment.” In another place, he says, “It is true that Christianity shed a certain glow during the dark ages of history… but its light only revealed the graves of the nations of antiquity. Christianity is, after all, a religion of death.” He also reveals — and here is the Zionist ideology of “race as Messias” — that “Every Jew has within him the potentiality of a Messiah and every Jewess that of a Mater Dolorosa.” He declares that because of the regeneration of the world since the “great” French Revolution, “The Messianic Era is the present age.”

Theodore Herzl, though more of a diplomat than Hess, was unable to accomplish in the Vatican what he had done in other European courts. The pope was Saint Pius X. According to Herzl’s diaries, when asked to support a Jewish settlement in Palestine, the saint “answered in a stern and categorical manner: ‘We are unable to favor this movement. We cannot prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem — but we could never sanction it. The ground of Jerusalem, if it were not always sacred, has been sanctified by the life of Jesus Christ. As the head of the Church, I cannot answer you otherwise. The Jews have not recognized Our Lord; therefore, we cannot recognize the Jewish people.’ “