PHILADELPHIA (Jun. 18)
American Catholics are “political pygmies” compared to American Jews, increasing public understanding and acceptance of Catholic positions on vital questions affecting their interests, a Jesuit scholar declared in a commencement address to a Catholic high school here.
The result, the Rev, Virgil C. Blum of Milwaukee, told the graduating class of Cardinal Dougherty High School, was that Jews are treated in the mass media “with respect, decency and fairness, while much of it treats Catholics with total disrespect, indecency and unfairness.”
Rev. Blum, president of the newly-formed Catholic League for Religious and. Civil Rights, cited a list of media incidents he said defamed, ridiculed or showed “insensitive treatment of things Christians hold sacred.” In contrast, he said, American Jews have organized to defend their interests so well that “it is impossible to imagine the press, radio and television being anti-Semitic, distorting the news about Jews, suppressing and misrepresenting facts about Jewish gatherings and activities.”
He commended Jewish leaders, in particular, for knowing that “in American democracy the people are king.” and that the “political clout” of the Jewish community, in the legislative, Judicial and executive branches, “is directly proportionate to its ability to create public understanding and acceptance of their ideas, values, principles and objectives; to fashion popular attitudes; to create public opinion favorable to their causes.”
CALLS PEARL ANTI-CATHOLIC
He said American Jews have organized 25 national interest groups, which he said were headed by the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. He said the three agencies alone had scores of regional offices and budgets of millions of dollars, while the 49 million American Catholics do not have a single organization with “the sole purpose” of influencing public policy towards their rights as American citizens.
But, he added, the three Jewish agencies were members of an “anti-Catholic group,” the National Coalition for Public Education and Religious Liberty (PEARL). Its purpose, he charged, was “to deprive Catholic school children of all federal and state educational benefits.” The Jesuit scholar proposed, as a major contribution to the nation’s Bicentennial observance, that Catholic lay persons either join or support “Catholic groups modelled on the highly successful Jewish interest groups.”