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The Catholic Church forbids circumcision for any reason! - Printable Version

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Re: The Catholic Church forbids circumcision for any reason! - Cyriacus - 03-02-2014

But, oddly enough, these operations out of necessity seem to be more common in the already-circumcising Anglophone North American culture. This is probably because some of the uncircumcised boys had their foreskins forcefully retracted in infancy or early childhood (out of ignorance by physicians or parents), which potentially leads to issues.

A thing to think about: America has a weird, protestantized, heretical culture. It is possible to be a Catholic and achieve genuine sanctity in America, but the Church (outside of some ethnic neighborhoods and certain communities) has never really been a fixture of cultural life. We need to look at prevailing culture in America the same way one might look at the prevailing culture in a Muslim society, or a pagan culture like that of the Hindus of India, and understand that the basic rationale behind the culture is not driven by a fidelity to the Cross and what we are seeing is not really the fruits of a Catholic civilization.

And European Catholics, who were brought up in the milieu of not just the Church but a society that affirms the truth of the Church, where there are festivals and feast days in the streets of the villages, where customs and folklore are steeped in the richness of Catholicity, are (at the least) bemused by American Catholics circumcising their children for cultural reasons. You would have a difficult time explaining it to an old man in Malta, an old woman from a village in Sicily, to Croat peasants, or Hungarians who would see it as distinctly Jewish or Muslim. In fact, during the Nazi occupation of Eastern Europe, it was simply assumed that anyone who was circumcised was Jewish, and trouser inspections were occasionally enforced at checkpoints to detect Jews.

Unfortunately, Americans do not have the benefit of checking popular trends and customs against old ways, against customs informed by the experience of the faith. We are uprooted, and the culture is whatever consensus says it is. For a long time now, and increasingly, that culture is Judaized. And one foothold of Judaeophilia was medicine, mainly due to the work of Protestant physicians in North America and Britain in reimagining the purity laws of the Old Testament as a guide to "clean living" or "health" rather than ritual purity.

This reinterpretation of Scripture by physicians and health-conscious westerners was explored in an interesting book by a historian, Mitchell B. Hart, The Healthy Jew: The Symbiosis of Judaism and Modern Medicine, which is an interesting read. I picked it up a few years ago. The backcover blurb:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Healthy-Jew-Symbiosis-Medicine/dp/0521877180

Quote:The Healthy Jew traces the culturally revealing story of how Moses, the rabbis, and other Jewish thinkers came to be understood as medical authorities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Such a radically different interpretation, by scholars and popular writers alike, resulted in new, widespread views on the salubrious effects of, for example, circumcision, Jewish sexual purity laws, and kosher foods. The Healthy Jew explores this interpretative tradition in the light of a number of broader debates over 'civilization' and 'culture,' Orientalism, religion and science (in the wake of Darwin), anti-Semitism and Jewish apologetics, and the scientific and medical discoveries and debates that revolutionized the fields of bacteriology, preventive medicine, and genetics/eugenics.

I encourage others in my predicament, which is being more or less culturally rootless due to the basic hostility of American culture to the Church, to imbibe whatever they can of European, Catholic civilization in a direct or indirect manner, such as by talking with people and reading in order to get exposure to something beyond Anglo-America, and to try to look at things as a Catholic outsider would. I encourage you, for example, to askĀ  Mexicans from Mexico if they agree with non-medical circumcision of infants in America for aesthetics and ease of cleaning, which are two often cited motivations. More than likely, they would find the custom bizarre.