Lismore priest censures pro-life group over alleged anti-Semitism

The rector of St Carthage Cathedral, Lismore, northern NSW, has censured and cut parish links with a local pro-life group over alleged anti-Jewish views expressed on its website.

Dennis Carroll took the unusual step of censuring the anti-abortion group Apostles for Life in this week's parish bulletin, the Northern Star reports.

He told parishioners the group had lost his support and had been discontinued as a parish group. He warned parishioners "to be wary of the anti-Jewish views expressed" on the group's website.

Those views included a linked article by anti-Semitic writer Joanna Francis, which says abortion-on-demand "for American Jews signified the beginning of their Messianic age, wherein they could now freely practice genocide against their ancient enemies, the Christians, with impunity".

In other articles, Ms Francis has also claimed Pope Benedict XVI was a Zionist double agent and that Israeli snipers were killing US soldiers in Iraq.

Fr Carroll told the Northern Star that he had stripped Apostles for Life of its status as a Parish group early this year "because they have spun off into the crazy right wing of Catholicism".

This week's censure came after Fr Carroll was contacted by the Inter-Faith and Ecumenical Commission about the anti-Semitic material. He said he had not known of the material before being contacted by the commission.

Apostles for Life is run by Lismore woman Angela Martello and her husband Nadir.

The website is run by Ms Martello and includes a link to her husband's website, called Shedding Light, which includes more of Ms Francis' articles, links to anti-Semitic websites, including Holocaust denier Michael Hoffman, and Mr Martello's writings, the Star says.

However, Ms Martello said her website was designed only "to talk about pro-life issues from a Catholic perspective".

Asked if she was disturbed by Ms Francis' views, she said: "Of course it disturbs me. I don't like to hear that."

Fr Carroll said he would be "very disappointed if there were still people (from the Parish) involved" with the group.

Priest ejects group with anti-Jewish links (Northern Star, 25/11/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Apostles for Life
Lismore diocese

Pope joins with Jewish leaders in condemning racism and anti-Semitism (CathNews, 13/10/06)
Pope meets with Jewish leaders to affirm dialogue (CathNews, 10/6/05)
Gibson says The Passion is not about blame for Crucifixion (CathNews, 19/2/04)

27 Nov 2006