I was excited to find this article about my great-uncle, Fr. Joseph McDonald. To speak out against injustice takes a great deal of courage, and many people we look to for leadership do not do it. Knowing that Fr. McDonald was willing to stand up against anti-Semitism makes me feel very proud.
This article appeared on the front page of the Pottstown Mercury, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, February 24, 1937.
Here are some excerpts:
“The Rev. Joseph A. McDonald, rector of St. Aloysius Catholic church, who believed such a meeting would strengthen and weld tighter those bonds of friendship among the people of Pottstown and would inaugurate a fellowship of better understanding.
“Rector McDonald, speaking on ‘Anti-semitism’ declared it was unpatriotic, un-American, uncharitable and un-Christian. Continuing he said there was no finer class of people on earth than the Jews, who from a religious stand were firm in their belief of one true God. He added that down through history the Jews, surrounded by powerful pagan nations, made sacrifices, even life itself, in order to be true to their religion and their God.
“The Rev. McDonald traced this religious allegiance back to the days of Christopher Columbus, the work of Jews in the Revolutionary war when Haines Solomon gave of his wealth to aid the colonists; on through the War of 1812, the Civil War and the World War. ‘It is hard to see why there should be anti-Semitism after studying the Jewish people in their work for successful prosecution of war to a glorious end,’ he declared.’ If for nothing else anti-Semitism should be condemned,’ he concluded. ‘It is a sign of ingratitude toward the Jewish people and the Jewish race for what they have done for this country.’”