Matt C. Abbott
When Israeli Jews spit on Christians, Muhammad's depravity, and the reeling Catholic Church in Ireland
By Matt C. Abbott
December 2, 2009

Here's a little potpourri of icky religion news stories to cleanse your palate...

From a Nov. 26 story in The Jerusalem Post (excerpted; click here for the full article):

    'Father Samuel Aghoyan, a senior Armenian Orthodox cleric in Jerusalem's Old City, says he's been spat at by young haredi and national Orthodox Jews 'about 15 to 20 times' in the past decade. The last time it happened, he said, was earlier this month. 'I was walking back from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and I saw this boy in a yarmulke and ritual fringes coming back from the Western Wall, and he spat at me two or three times.'

    'Wearing a dark-blue robe, sitting in St. James's Church, the main Armenian church in the Old City, Aghoyan said, 'Every single priest in this church has been spat on. It happens day and night.'

    'Father Athanasius, a Texas-born Franciscan monk who heads the Christian Information Center inside the Jaffa Gate, said he's been spat at by haredi and national Orthodox Jews 'about 15 times in the last six months' — not only in the Old City, but also on Rehov Agron near the Franciscan friary. 'One time a bunch of kids spat at me, another time a little girl spat at me,' said the brown-robed monk near the Jaffa Gate.

    ''All 15 monks at our friary have been spat at,' he said. 'Every [Christian cleric in the Old City] who's been here for awhile, who dresses in robes in public, has a story to tell about being spat at. The more you get around, the more it happens'.....

    'News stories about young Jewish bigots in the Old City spitting on Christian clergy — who make conspicuous targets in their long dark robes and crucifix symbols around their necks — surface in the media every few years or so. It's natural, then, to conclude that such incidents are rare, but in fact they are habitual. Anti-Christian Orthodox Jews, overwhelmingly boys and young men, have been spitting with regularity on priests and nuns in the Old City for about 20 years, and the problem is only getting worse.

    ''My impression is that Christian clergymen are being spat at in the Old City virtually every day. This has been constantly increasing over the last decade,' said Daniel Rossing. An observant, kippa-wearing Jew, Rossing heads the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations and was liaison to Israel's Christian communities for the Ministry of Religious Affairs in the '70s and '80s....

    'These are the very opposite of isolated incidents. Father Athanasius of the Christian Information Center called them a 'phenomenon.' George Hintlian, the unofficial spokesman for the local Armenian community and former secretary of the Armenian Patriarchate, said it was 'like a campaign.'

    'Christians in Israel are a small, weak community known for 'turning the other cheek,' so these Jewish xenophobes feel free to spit on them; they don't spit on Muslims in the Old City because they're afraid to, the clerics noted....'

Lovely. I'm glad I don't live in Israel.

And how about this? From a June 2009 Jihad Watch interview with Coptic Orthodox priest Father Zakaria Botros, reprinted on Catholic Online (click here for the full interview; and click here for a related Nov. 30 story on

    'FrontPage Interview's guest today is Coptic priest Fr. Zakaria Botros, who al Qaeda has called 'one of the most wanted infidels in the world,' issuing a 60 million dollar bounty on his head. Popular Arabic magazines also call him 'Islam's public enemy #1.' He hosts a television program, Truth Talk, on Life TV. His two sites are and He was recently awarded the Daniel of the Year award....

    'Botros: Due to my preaching the Gospel, Egyptian soldiers broke into my home putting their guns to my head. Without telling me why, they arrested me and placed me in an extremely small prison cell (1.8x1.5x1.8 meters, which was further problematic, since I am 1.83 meters tall), with other inmates, and in well over 100 degree temperatures, with little ventilation, no windows, and no light. No beds of course, we slept on the floor — in shifts, as there was not enough room for all of us to lie down. Due to the lack of oxygen, we used to also take shifts lying with our noses under the crack of the cell door to get air. As a result, I developed a kidney infection (receiving, of course, no medical attention). Mosquitoes plagued us. Food was delivered in buckets; we rarely even knew what the gruel was. The prison guards would often spit in the bucket in front of us, as well as fling their nose pickings in it'.....

    'Botros: This is a very embarrassing topic [Muhammad's depravity] for me to discuss; and I only do so out of my love for Muslims — though I know it is painful for them to hear. Yet such is how healing begins, through initial pain and suffering. In short, according to Islam's scriptures, Muhammad was, well, a pervert: he used to suck on the tongues of young boys and girls; he dressed in women's clothing (and received 'revelations' in this state); he had at least 66 'wives'; Allah supposedly sent him special 'revelations' allowing him to have sex with his step-daughter-in-law, Zainab, and to have more wives than the rest of Muslims; he constantly dwelt and obsessed over sex — his first question to a 'talking donkey' was if the latter 'liked sex' — and he painted a very lurid and lusty picture of paradise, where, according to some top Muslim interpreters, Muslims will be 'busy deflowering virgins' all day; and he had sex with a dead woman. There is more, but why dwell on such shameful things? Again, I stress, it is not I who maintains this but rather Islam's own books — much, of course, not known to non-Arabic readers, as they have never been translated....'

Yuck. A "religion of peace," eh?

Last but not least...

From a Nov. 27 story in the Los Angeles Times (click here for the full article):

    'Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Dublin engaged in a widespread cover-up of abuses by clergy members for decades, a 'scandal on an astonishing scale' that even saw officials taking out insurance policies to protect dioceses against future claims by the victims, a commission reported Thursday after a three-year investigation.

    'The commission, which investigated how the church and state agencies handled three decades of endemic child abuse by priests in the Irish capital, also criticized police and social and health authorities who, with a few exceptions, it said, ignored complaints or simply referred allegations back to the church hierarchy.

    'Presenting the government-commissioned report at a news conference in Dublin, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern spoke of his 'revulsion' on reading the findings and called them a 'scandal on an astonishing scale'.....

    'Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, who took office in 2004, presented an abject apology on behalf of the church for the inaction of his predecessors. The report, which covers the period from 1975 to 2004, focuses on 46 priests in particular and 102 in general, all working in the archdiocese of Dublin. 'I offer each and every survivor my apology, my sorrow and my shame,' Martin said.

    'At another news conference, victims of abuse said the devastating report was not enough. 'This is not meant to be the full picture . . . 102 priests is the number that they settled on even though there are allegations against 172 . . . this is only a representative sample,' said Andrew Madden, a member of One in Four, a nonprofit group for sexual abuse victims that campaigned for the inquiry. 'There appears to be no appetite to ascertain the full extent of this problem within the Catholic Church in this country'.....'

A priest I had asked to comment on the above story responded:

"While the [article] indicates that both the Church and state in Ireland are implicated in misconduct, as a priest and Catholic, I find the Church's lack of due conduct the worse of the two. I don't know that I have anything to say that would really be worth quoting. About the only way to respond to the situation is with four-letter words, and as Christians we're supposed to avoid those."

Link of interest:

"A Crisis of Saints"

© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on HLN, MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 ‘Unsolved’ podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, Alex Shuman's 'Smoke Screen: Fake Priest' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He’s mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


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