The Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, has been garnering attention in the media with his surge in political polls. However, a campaign stop this Sunday by Huckabee at a mega-church whose pastor sees Hitler as linked to the Catholic Church, could soon steal the spotlight.
According to Mike Huckabee’s campaign website, the controversial stop at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas will take place this Sunday, December 23. He will speak at the church's two Sunday services at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.
The Catholic League’s president, Bill Donahue, told CNA that the pastor of the church, Rev. John Hagee, is militantly anti-Catholic.
As the senior pastor of Cornerstone, Rev. Hagee is best known for his “End-Time” writing but also focuses on bringing evangelical Protestants and Jews together.
The Catholic League asserts that John Hagee has another goal as well, “slandering the Catholic Church.”
John Hagee’s Anti-Catholic Record
It’s not hard to find evidence that Rev. Hagee does not think highly of Catholics or the Catholic Church. In a video discussing the biblical book of Revelation, John Hagee suggests the Pope is the anti-Christ, and that the Catholic Church is "The Beast" (17:30 and following) mentioned in the book.
Another cause for concern is the pastor’s latest book “Jerusalem Countdown”, which has recently been revised and updated. “Though most of his rantings in this book are directed at Muslims, he just can't help but take another shot at Catholicism,” says Donahue.
“In one chapter, ‘Centuries of Mistreatment,’ he misrepresents the history of the Catholic Church so badly,” explains Donahue, “that it would be hard for any anti-Catholic bigot to beat.”
Hagee sees anti-Semitism as being born out of the Catholic Church.
“Anti-Semitism in Christianity began with the statements of the early church fathers, including Eusebius, Cyril, Chrysostom, Augustine, Origen, Justin, and Jerome .... This poisonous stream of venom came from the mouths of spiritual leaders to virtually illiterate congregants, sitting benignly in their pews, listening to their pastors. They labeled the Jews as 'the Christ killers, plague carriers, demons, children of the devil, bloodthirsty pagans who look for an innocent child during the Easter week to drink his blood, money hungry Shylocks, who are deceitful as Judas was relentless,'" writes Hagee.
At another point, Rev. Hagee says, "The Roman Catholic Church, which was supposed to carry the light of the gospel, plunged the world into the Dark Ages.... The Crusaders were a motley mob of thieves, rapists, robbers, and murderers whose sins had been forgiven by the pope in advance of the Crusade ....The brutal truth is that the Crusades were military campaigns of the Roman Catholic Church to gain control of Jerusalem from the Muslims and to punish the Jews as the alleged Christ killers on the road to and from Jerusalem."
"The Spanish Inquisition was perhaps the most cynical plot in the black history of Catholicism,” relates Hagee, “[it was] aimed at expropriating the property of wealthy Jews and converts in Spain for the benefit of the royal court and the Roman Catholic Church."
The influential preacher’s historical narrative even goes so far as to depict Adolf Hitler as being taught anti-Semitism by the Catholic Church. "Adolf Hitler attended a Catholic school as a child and heard all the fiery anti-Semitic rantings from Chrysostom to Martin Luther.”
According to Mr. Hagee, the Church even implicitly supported the Nazi dictator. “When Hitler became a global demonic monster, the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII never, ever slightly criticized him. Pope Pius XII, called by historians 'Hitler's Pope,' joined Hitler in the infamous Concordat of Collaboration, which turned the youth of Germany over to Nazism, and the churches became the stage background for the bloodthirsty cry, 'Pereat Judea'.... In all of his [Hitler's] years of absolute brutality, he was never denounced or even scolded by Pope Pius XII or any Catholic leader in the world. To those Christians who believe that Jewish hearts will be warmed by the sight of the cross, please be informed—to them it's an electric chair," wrote the pastor.
Bill Donahue did not rule out debate with John Hagee and added that “as long as the debate is civil, that is all that matters.” Yet, the Catholic leader does not view Hagee's teaching in that light, but rather as instruction that “clearly distorts Catholic teachings, or misrepresents its [the Church’s] history”.
CNA attempted to reach the Huckabee campaign for comment, but a phone call and an email were not returned before press time.