Catholic Priest in Argentina Says Church Tolerates Anti-semitism
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Catholic Priest in Argentina Says Church Tolerates Anti-semitism

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Father Carlos Cucchetti, co-founder of the Argentine Jewish-Christian fraternity, was quoted in an interview today as declaring that “we cannot affirm the Church hierarchically organizes and incites anti-Semitism but it can be said that the hierarchy has not adopted steps to prevent such outbursts generated in Catholic institutions and schools.”

The priest was asked by La Luz, a Jewish fortnightly Journal, to comment an a recent report in the New York Times quoting Argentine Jews to the effect that the Catholic Church is one of the main factors in anti-Semitism here.

“It cannot be said that the pulpits in certain churches are chairs of anti-Semitism, but certain priests use their pulpits to disseminate the ideas from which religious anti-Semitism emanates, ” he replied. As an example, he cited Father Vorgilio Filippo, parochial priest of the Immaculate Conception Church who, he said, frequently used his pulpit for anti-Semitic attacks. He referred also to Father Julio Meinvielle, who, he said, indoctrinates young students with anti-Semitic ideas.

The priest warned of the danger that Catholic high schools would become centers of extreme nationalism and anti-Semitic propaganda and referred specifically to two schools, the E1 Salvador and Champanat Catholic high schools. He said it had been frequently established that many elements of Tacuara, the Argentine Nazi youth organization, were pupils or alumni of these schools.

“I know that the Church authorities have done nothing in this regard since they are not convinced that such propaganda stems from there, ” Father Cucchetti declared. “In general, Catholic priests are not anti-Semitic, but neither are they pro-Semitic. Only a small sector of priests is actively anti-Semitic and in their majority, they are foreigners, particularly Germans and Spaniards.”

Father Cucchetti concluded the interview by answering a question as to the “reasonable possibility of Jewish-Christian co-existence in our times” by replying that he thought there were “excellent” possibilities of this.


Nissim Elnecave, editor of La Luz, charged in an article in the current issue of the publication that the role of the Catholic Church in Argentina in stimulating anti-Semitism has been “overwhelming.” He asserted that without full support of certain priests, most of the Nazi and Fascist organizations in the country would be relatively inoffensive.

The editor d enounced Msgr. Antonio Plaza, Archbishop of La Plata, as a virulent anti-Semite of the typical Nazi-Fascist sort. He called the E1 Salvador, Champanat and La Salle Catholic high schools in Buenos Aires “true bulwarks of anti-Semitism in the educational and political field.”

Senor Elnecave said it was “no secret” that all the Nazi and Fascist youth organizations were spiritually led by priests among whom he cited Fathers Julio Meinvielle; Luis Etche-verry Boneo, who he said, guides the girls’ section of Tacuara; Justo Oscar Laguna, described as famed for his anti-Semitic sermons; Garcia Vieya and Jose Maria MacKinnon of the Buenos Aires archdiocese, and Father Elias Andraos, who was said to be very active among students of Arab origin. The editor asserted that many high officials in the Federal Police were intimately connected with these priests.

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