Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Holocaust and Its Shaping of Catholic Ecclesiology


You may have never heard of Enzo Bianchi. He is the lay "prior" of the so-called "interconfessional monastery" of Bose in Biella, Italy. The Bose community contains over eighty "brothers" and "sisters" from various Christian denominations. In 2012 Mr. Bianchi was named as a peritus to the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization; in 2014 the pontificate of Pope Francis elevated Mr. Bianchi to be Consultor of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Bianchi has gone of record in the past with his belief that the 1917 Fatima apparitions are a "swindle." The reason? Because Fatima does not specifically predict the Holocaust. "A God who thinks in 1917 that there will be a persecution of Christians, but does not speak of the Holocaust and the six million Jews annihilated, is not a credible God", said Bianchi, the quote coming from La Repubblica.

The French leftist dissident Dominican Jean Cardonnel, a friend and supporter of Bianchi, expanded on this theme, stating that, "A credible God, I repeat Bianchi, the God of Catholic racism who cares only for his family, for his Catholic race, while the kin of Jesus may fall prey to oblivion." 

Vittorio Messori, author of the famous Ratzinger Report, summed up the positions of Cardonnel and Bianchi: "Even God must - if he wants to speak to us through Mary - recognize the Shoah and especially curse it, otherwise he is not a credible God."

The blog Eponymous Flower has an excellent refutation of this absurd line of thinking - as if God cannot speak on whatever subject matter He wants at any time! I highly recommend the article, where you can also find all the sources for the above citations.

The phenomenon I want to comment on is this fixation on the Holocaust in contemporary Catholic discourse. The Holocaust was undoubtedly one of the most horrendous events in human history - not the first genocide, and not even the biggest, but certainly horrendous nonetheless. Still, the Holocaust - like the Norman Conquest, Reformation, or Civil War - is ultimately only a historical event. While the will of God unfolds throughout history, and while grace can be found in any event, the Holocaust possessed no special eschatological or salvific significance. The Holocaust is not an article of faith that must be continually referenced and paid special tribute to.

It is fascinating to see how the Holocaust has slipped from the realm of history into a theological context. In fact, as we shall see, the obligation of memorializing the Holocaust has become a theological linchpin in the contemporary Church's approach to Judaism.

* * * * *

Let us begin with the document "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah", the 1998 letter issued by the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews under John Paul II. This letter establishes the principle that the Holocaust cannot be considered as a mere historical event, but deserves a kind of "religious memory":

"The very magnitude of the crime raises many questions. Historians, sociologists, political philosophers, psychologists and theologians are all trying to learn more about the reality of the Shoah and its causes. Much scholarly study still remains to be done. But such an event cannot be fully measured by the ordinary criteria of historical research alone. It calls for a "moral and religious memory" and, particularly among Christians, a very serious reflection on what gave rise to it."

Certainly moral lessons can be drawn from any historical episode; but not every historical episode calls for a special "moral and religious memory." In taking this approach, the Magisterium of John Paul II seemed to be saying that the Holocaust must be elevated beyond other historical events, not in terms of its importance, but in terms of what sort of phenomenon it was. It makes sense to say that Civil War was a more important historic event than the War of Jenkins' Ear in terms of its magnitude and consequences; but here we are just moving along a spectrum of magnitude on the axis of historical events. What We Remember is saying is something different; it says not that the Holocaust is a more important historical event than other historical events, but rather that it should not be understood as merely a historical event at all - rather, it merits "moral and religious memory." It is a difference of quality, not just magnitude.

* * * * *

By allowing the Holocaust to bleed over from the historical into the religious, this historic event can now be considered as a kind of theological criterion for understanding Church teaching. The introductory letter by Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy in the above mentioned document demonstrates the attempt to move the Holocaust from the historical into the theological. He wrote:

"In the Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate,n. 4, published on 1 December 1974, the Holy See's Commission recalled that "the step taken by the Council finds its historical setting in circumstances deeply affected by the memory of the persecution and massacre of Jews which took place in Europe just before and during the Second World War". Yet, as the Guidelines pointed out, "the problem of Jewish-Christian relations concerns the Church as such, since it is when "pondering her own mystery" (Nostra Aetate, n. 4) that she encounters the mystery of Israel." 

This needs a bit of parsing. The memory of the Holocaust provides the "historical setting" for the Council's discussion of the Church's relation with non-Christian religions, specifically the Jews. The relationship is bound up with the Church's own self-understanding, since in "pondering her own mystery" the Church inevitably confronts the "mystery of Israel." In other words, the question of Jewish-Christian relations is central to the mystery of the Church, and the "historical setting" by which this question must be framed is the Holocaust. The Holocaust thus becomes a point of departure for theological considerations relating to the Church's own identity.

The modern context for Catholic ecclesiology is the memory of the Holocaust, at least in considering relations with Jews. This one historic event is thus elevated to the level of a meta-historical act whose import is religious, similar to the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. It is the theologizing of the Holocaust.

* * * * *

It is well-known that the enemies of the Church are fond of blaming Christian civilization for creating the atmosphere of European anti-Semitism that made the Holocaust possible. Pop-Catholic apologists have spent a great deal of effort refuting this position. What these pop-apologists might not be aware of is the modern Magisterium itself is in agreement with these claims. In We Remember, the Magisterium of John Paul II unambiguously endorses the view that centuries of negative Christian attitudes towards Jews bear some responsibility for the Holocaust. The relevant points are worth citing at length:

"The fact that the Shoah took place in Europe, that is, in countries of long-standing Christian civilization, raises the question of the relation between the Nazi persecution and the attitudes down the centuries of Christians towards the Jews.  The history of relations between Jews and Christians is a tormented one. His Holiness Pope John Paul II has recognized this fact in his repeated appeals to Catholics to see where we stand with regard to our relations with the Jewish people. In effect, the balance of these relations over two thousand years has been quite negative.
Despite the Christian preaching of love for all, even for one's enemies, the prevailing mentality down the centuries penalized minorities and those who were in any way "different". Sentiments of anti-Judaism in some Christian quarters, and the gap which existed between the Church and the Jewish people, led to a generalized discrimination, which ended at times in expulsions or attempts at forced conversions. In a large part of the "Christian" world, until the end of the 18th century, those who were not Christian did not always enjoy a fully guaranteed juridical status." 

The letter goes on to make a distinction between "anti-Judaism" and nationalist "anti-Semitism", convicting Christians of the former but not the latter. It points to Naziism as a neo-pagan ideology that was also anti-Christian as well as anti-Jewish, in attempting to draw a historical separation between the two types of anti-Jewish hostility. But the document goes on to ask:

"But it may be asked whether the Nazi persecution of the Jews was not made easier by the anti-Jewish prejudices imbedded in some Christian minds and hearts. Did anti-Jewish sentiment among Christians make them less sensitive, or even indifferent, to the persecutions launched against the Jews by National Socialism when it reached power?"

While making mention of Christians who helped persecuted Jews, the document goes on to condemn the attitudes of the majority of Christians who "were not strong enough" in their opposition to National Socialism:

"Nevertheless, as Pope John Paul II has recognized, alongside such courageous men and women, the spiritual resistance and concrete action of other Christians was not that which might have been expected from Christ's followers. We cannot know how many Christians in countries occupied or ruled by the Nazi powers or their allies were horrified at the disappearance of their Jewish neighbours and yet were not strong enough to raise their voices in protest. For Christians, this heavy burden of conscience of their brothers and sisters during the Second World War must be a call to penitence. We deeply regret the errors and failures of these sons and daughters of the Church."

Thus, while anti-Judaism is logically and historically distinct from "pagan anti-Semitism", the earlier Christian anti-Judaism aided anti-Semitism in a fashion by deadening the responses of Christians to the horrors of the Holocaust.
* * * * *

We Remember references John Paul II. The reference in questions is from John Paul II's 1997 Address to the Symposium on the Roots of Anti-Judaism, in which the pope specifically says that alleged Christian indifference to the Holocaust proceeded directly from the pre-modern Christian hostility towards the Jews:

"In fact, in the Christian world — I do not say on the part of the Church as such — erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament regarding the Jewish people and their alleged culpability have circulated for too long, engendering feelings of hostility towards this people. They contributed to the lulling of consciences, so that when the wave of persecutions inspired by a pagan anti-Semitism, which in essence is equivalent to an anti-Christianity, swept across Europe, alongside Christians who did everything to save the persecuted even at the risk of their lives, the spiritual resistance of many was not what humanity rightfully expected from the disciples of Christ."

Among the "erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament" that John Paul II references is presumably the belief that the Church has replaced the Jews as the true Israel, as well as the perennially held Christian assertion that the Old Covenant, on its own, is no longer salvific. He does not suggest this explicitly, but it is easily inferred by the fact that the pope cites Romans 11:29 ("the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable") in the conclusion of his address, a verse consistently but erroneously invoked by those who argue that the Jews have "their own covenant" with God outside of Jesus Christ. 

It is baffling how John Paul II could say these teachings were never taught "on the part of the Church as such", since the Council of Florence Cantate Domino specifically and unambiguously taught the very thing John Paul II seems to consider "erroneous and unjust":

“[The Holy Roman Church] firmly believes, professes and teaches that the legal prescriptions of the Old Testament or the Mosaic law, which are divided into ceremonies, holy sacrifices and sacraments, because they were instituted to signify something in the future, although they were adequate for the divine cult of that age, once our Lord Jesus Christ who was signified by them had come, came to an end and the sacraments of the new Testament had their beginning. Whoever, after the Passion, places his hope in the legal prescriptions and submits himself to them as necessary for salvation and as if faith in Christ without them could not save, sins mortally. It does not deny that from Christ's passion until the promulgation of the Gospel they could have been retained, provided they were in no way believed to be necessary for salvation. But it asserts that after the promulgation of the gospel they cannot be observed without loss of eternal salvation.”

Thus, John Paul II seemed to think that the traditional ecclesiology of the Church vis-a-vis the Jews was in fact responsible for a deadening of feeling and an indifference among Christians that helped facilitate the Holocaust.

* * * * *

We Remember states that the religious import of the Holocaust is understood in terms of a binding commitment of future generations to let the Holocaust serve as the starting point for a new beginning with the Jewish people. In the following extraordinary statement, notice the admission of Catholic guilt and repentance for Christian failings in facilitating the Holocaust, coupled by the assertion that this repentance calls for a "binding commitment" to develop a "new relationship" with the Jewish people for the purpose of eliminating "anti-Judaism":

"At the end of this Millennium the Catholic Church desires to express her deep sorrow for the failures of her sons and daughters in every age. This is an act of repentance (teshuva), since, as members of the Church, we are linked to the sins as well as the merits of all her children. The Church approaches with deep respect and great compassion the experience of extermination, the Shoah, suffered by the Jewish people during World War II. It is not a matter of mere words, but indeed of binding commitment....
We pray that our sorrow for the tragedy which the Jewish people has suffered in our century will lead to a new relationship with the Jewish people. We wish to turn awareness of past sins into a firm resolve to build a new future in which there will be no more anti-Judaism among Christians or anti-Christian sentiment among Jews, but rather a shared mutual respect, as befits those who adore the one Creator and Lord and have a common father in faith, Abraham."

Notice the use of the term "anti-Judaism." Given that the document went to lengths earlier to distinguish between "anti-Judaism" and "anti-Semitism", we must presume an internal consistency in the term's usage. This would infer that the elimination of "anti-Judaism" is referring to, not nationalist anti-Semitism, but rather "the erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament" that John Paul II referred to - in other words, the teaching that the Jewish covenant taken on its own is not salvific and that Jews need Christ. The traditional position suddenly becomes problematic because it infers that the Jews are not alright just where they are - that their condition is not enviable, that they need Jesus Christ. This position is untenable to the modern Magisterium.

* * * * *

It all begins to come together. Because of the horror of the Holocaust - and guilt for perceived Christian numbness to Jewish suffering - the modern Magisterium has lost the fortitude to tell the Jews that they are in need of salvation through Christ. Any suggestion that the Jewish religion is not a complete and integral salvific system are taken as a type of "anti-Judaism", for such a position necessarily finds fault with the current status of the Jews. Never mind that the Nazi remedy to the Jewish question was extermination whilst the Christian remedy is conversion; if the Church is sufficiently to distance itself from the Holocaust, it must no longer insist that there is anything lacking or objectionable in Judaism. The Holocaust is the event - at once historical, religious, and moral - that has become the historical context for this change in direction. And the obligation to continue in this trajectory is a "binding commitment" on Christians. This is why we will only ever see more waffling from the Magisterium when it comes to the question of Jews and salvation.

A case in point is the horrible new document "The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable" (2015). This document will go further than any other Magisterial statement in teaching the Jews do not need conversion to Christ and the Church for salvation. Note the title is taken from Romans 11:29, the same verse John Paul II cited against the "erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament", as found in the Council of Florence. It is eminently schizophrenic, suggesting that "From the Christian confession that there can be only one path to salvation, however, it does not in any way follow that the Jews are excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God." Apparently the principle of non-contradiction has been replaced with Folgers Crystals, as Steve Skojec so tartly put it.

But yes, the document repudiates the centuries old teaching that the Church is the true Israel, even though admitting that this teaching was "the standard theological foundation of the relationship with Judaism" from the patristic era and for the entirety of the Church's tradition, "only to be defused at the Second Vatican Council...with its Declaration Nostra aetate", which has replaced the 2,000 year tradition with a new "constructive dialogue relationship." What crass arrogance to so blatantly "defuse" what the document admits is the universal tradition!

But look at how evangelization to the Jews is said to be a no-no and the Shoah is invoked:

"In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews. While there is a principled rejection of an institutional Jewish mission, Christians are nonetheless called to bear witness to their faith in Jesus Christ also to Jews, although they should do so in a humble and sensitive manner, acknowledging that Jews are bearers of God’s Word, and particularly in view of the great tragedy of the Shoah."


It goes on about "the dark and terrible shadow of the Shoah", and encourages Christians to "reflect anew" upon this tragedy as a point of departure for Christian-Jewish relations. Following John Paul II, it speaks of a moral "duty of Christians" to remember the Shoah. This language is truly amazing; strictly speaking, the only historical events we have a moral duty to recall are those that are part of salvation history: the great stories of the Old Testament, the events surrounding the life, death and Resurrection of our Lord, the miraculous founding of the Church, Of course we commemorate many saints and other historical events, but nobody ever speaks of a grave "duty" to remember Lepanto or tells us we have a "binding commitment" to never forget the Investiture Controversy. The only historical events we have any binding commitment to remember and honor are those which are integral parts of salvation history.

And this is precisely the role many would like to assign to the Holocaust. The Church's "new relationship", her new "constructive dialogue" with Judaism exists as a kind of theological response to the Shoah, which is put forward as an event of such meta-historical importance that it justifies abandoning 2,000 years of Catholic Tradition.

* * * * *

I recall once when I was in college I was taking a philosophy course by a professor who was a fairly decent Catholic but who was unfortunately an ardent disciple of Von Balthasar. He was discussing changes in Catholic theology, art, architecture, and literature in the wake of World War I, and how all these changes were prompted by a desire of Catholic intellectuals to "respond" to the horrors of the war. I raised my hand and asked why Catholicism had to "respond" at all? Why could not the Church simply address the horrors of the modern world by continuing unperturbed on its ageless mission, without turning to the left nor to the right? Instead of "responding" to the modern world, why not call the modern world to respond to the timeless Gospel? The professor kind of hemmed and hawed; the thought had apparently never occurred to him.

I have often mentioned Alyssa Lyra Pitstick's book Light in the Darkness, which is mandatory reading for those interested in learning what an outrageously heterodox theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar was. In the introduction to her book, Pitstick notes that modern theologians who put forward novel theories often are driven by the desire of these thinkers to "respond" to the horrors of the modern age; to allow their thinking to be "conditioned" by the times. She makes this point with reference to theories about Christ's death, but it is just as applicable to our discussion:

"In particular, the face of death in the twentieth century - conditioned by philosophical and social alienation, the great wars, and atheism - often figures noticeably in the new interpretations of Christ's death...However, as Vatican II suggests, such pastoral exigencies can only be adequately met with God's revealed truth, proclaimed anew to a changed audience, not by the molding of doctrinal content to the image of human horror in any age" (Pitstick, Light in the Darkness, pg. 3)

Is not the contemporary Church's refusal to say anything remotely challenging to the Jews an example of doctrinal content being molded in response to the Holocaust? Indeed, it is the elephant in the room; because of some kind of collective guilt over the Holocaust, the Catholic Church has lost the ability - or rather the will - to tell them they need to convert to Christ. Instead of proclaiming the timeless truth of Christ to a modern audience, we are allowing our "response" to the horrors of the 20th century to alter the truth.


24 comments:

Catholic Mission said...

Catholics are 'the new people of God ','the Church is the new people of God', the new Chosen People, the Elect, outside of which there is no salvation -Nostra Aetate 4, Vatican Council II
http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2015/12/catholics-are-new-people-of-god-church.html

Unknown said...

I've always found the reverence for the Holocaust very odd. I understand the natural human empathy for the death of one's kinsmen/coreligionists or lamenting the grave injustice suffered by the Jewish people (and all the other groups that were persecuted by the Nazis). However, an important point that makes the Holocaust irrelevant for salvation history is that the Jews were not persecuted for staying faithful to the Law (as they were by the Seleucids) or even for trying to establish an independent Jewish state that would allow them to rebuild the Temple and thus practice the law in full (Bar Kokhba revolt). In short the Jews were not killed because of any hatred towards their religious beliefs and are not martyrs of faith. Pious Jews were as persecuted as much as secular Jews.
Hitler and the Nazi's hated the Jews for lots of reasons: inferior race, excessive and unjust cultural and economic power, disproportionate support of communism, sabotaging Germany's war efforts, etc but I have never come across some religiously based motivation.

St. Corbinian's Bear said...

Well done.

Penguins Fan said...

A little historical note - both before and after the Spanish Reconquest, many Western European nations ejected their Jewish residents. Queen Isabel the Catholic did so within her realm. One of the places these Jews went was to Poland.

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had the largest population of Jews in Europe. After Poland reemerged as a nation in 1918 (ask Poles if World War I was worth it) there were tensions between the Catholic populace of Poland and its Jewish minority, but nothing like the garbage that Hitler put out. The fact that so many extermination camps were in Poland has caused some pseudo-intellectuals of the West to blame Poland as a co-conspirator in Jewish extermination. This, of course, is not true, but it's easier to blame some one else for not stopping Hitler (Catholics, Poles, etc.) than it is to blame Roosevelt.

11 million PEOPLE were murdered in death camps and more were murdered by other means, such as firing squads. Millionsof Polish Catholics perished in WWII and millions of Polish Jews died in WWII. Stalin killed more than Hitler, but nobody seems to care too much.

Sometimes, I think John Paul II was too nice for his own good.

The Jews rejected Christ and still reject Him. There have been no more Jewish prophets and there will be no more as the Covenant has been concluded and Jesus told the Apostles to go to the ends of the earth to spread the Good News.

For what it's worth, had the West listened to Jozef Pilsudski, the Communist government of the Soviet Union and the Nazi dictatorship could have and should been destroyed before they ever got started. Pilsudski wanted to do it, but he needed help that never came. So the next time you hear a Polish joke, go look up Pilsudski.

Tom Healey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Healey said...

Hi Boniface, I said on another site recently that as a pre Vat ll Catholic that the O/T/N/T, Judaism/Catholicism are so interwoven in my soul and psyche that it's impossible to separate them. And that is God's will. And neither can these two great religions be separated(I know you're not saying they should)the only religions to ever be direct revelations of God. So it's not too much of a stretch to accept the Shoal as a religious memory. I also embrace the church's teaching that the Church is the fulfilment of Judaism and that Jews can only be saved through Christ.

So I see no problem with the church claiming that the Holocaust should be a religious as well as an historical memory. The shoal is different from even greater historical tragedies because Catholicism came out of Judaism. Are you saying that PJPLL was only coming from Catholic historical guilt for anti Judaism/anti Semitism? It's almost impossible to imagine that the Pope was dropping the historical/religious memory of our origins in Abraham.

Regarding Catholic guilt for the mutual hostility and persecutions of Jews and programs, down through the centuries, you don't give any attention to original sin. That all, Jew and gentile, all of us are wounded by Adam's of pride. Sin is rampant, then and now. Racism, ignorance, hatred of other religions, and being misunderstood and hated by them. I used to struggle with this. The appalling conflicts with Judaism. And I could not without grace resolve it because to admit that the Church and/or millions of Catholics were guilty of these sins meant for me that there is no eternal truth. However, The Holy Spirit over time showed me the living reality of Adam's sin in me and in the church. Then I came to accept that it's likely that our troubled relations with Jews in some ways contributed to the Holocaust.

Your concern that PJP11 seemed to skirt close to contradicting previous Popes on the absolute need for Christ for all mankind to be saved. I think this is an area that is ripe for misunderstanding. It seems to me that the Church needs to be given some slack to correct or at least repent for historical wrongs without giving the farm away. As for the possibility of dissidents using and manipulating the truth to destroy the church's mission to evangelize the whole world, when has it been any different? The history of the church is rife with fools and heresy. It seems to me that the post Vat ll church has been about a lot of things, some good. Some destructive. However, God is always present with the church. even if mostly hidden. Doctrine is bedrock. It's never going to change. I apologize if I misunderstood your thoughts in any way.

God bless you and Merry Christmas.


Boniface said...

Good points.

What I am saying is I think the Holocaust is the reason why the Church does not want to offend Jews by suggesting they need to convert. It would appear insensitive, and after the horror of World War II, nobody wants to be insensitive to Jews.

Tom Healey said...

One point I did not mention. That political correctness has poisoned our minds. So all we are told by educated elites is how the bad old Catholic church has done do much wrong. So we should not forget that western Civilization. the greatest in history, is the fruit of the Catholic church. Today, secular Jews, which is most Jews. are in the vanguard of all the evils that that are destroying the West. But it also has to be said that most Catholics are committed to those same evils.

Tom Healey said...

My apology for misspellings. I typed Shoah, but sent, it came out shoal.

Tom Healey said...

I agree Boniface. I have seen it in myself. Much less so as the Holy Spirit has continued to purify my pathetic ego life. And, I think it would be a mistake to think that Popes are not affected. And that certainly beats indifference or even rejection of the Shoah. I love the Catholic church for many reasons, and not the least of them is her spiritual, psychological profundity. So we must strive to avoid any Protestant "understanding" that hardly ever escapes their arrogant egos.

Konstantin said...

I couldn't read everything today, so this might seem a bit off-topic at time, but bear with me:

It often seems that Catholics believe that Judaism hasn't changed in the past 2,000 years, which is simply not true. I used to believe that, too, and it is a great obstacle to understanding contemporary Judaism. The rabbinical "magisterium" has distorted many texts of the Old Testament, especially regarding the coming of the Messiah. Just one example: The prophecy of Isaiah to Achaz that a virgin will give birth to the Emmanuel is interpreted by them as a sign for the days of Achaz, and a pretty general one at that: that a young woman/girl or "young women" would give birth to a boy. Not to mention the disgusting insults directed towards Our Lord and His Blessed Mother in the Talmud (see Schäfer, "Jesus in the Talmud").

But even if Judaism hadn't changed, why should they receive such disproportionate respect as they do now? Would their knowledge of the truth not be inferior to that of the Protestants or the Orthodox?

I really think the "anti-mission" document published last Thursday is a wake-up call for us. It again shows the massive Talmudic influence on the post-conciliar Church. Unfortunately, this has been a continuous development that started even prior to Vatican II. First came the ideas of Amici Israel, a organisation of priests, bishops and even Cardinals that started of with the laudable intention of converting the Jews but ended up being banned by Pius XI after they had gone to far and asked for changes in the liturgy that would be realized by later popes (perfidis Judaeis etc). Later, the Jews themselves contacted high-ranking clergy to ask for changes in liturgy and teaching (just google American Jewish Committee and Cardinal Bea). The AJC even managed to change the script for the famous Passion Play of Oberammergau (Bavaria) in the early 1980's by sending their shock troops to exert pressure. I could go on but you get the idea.

Last but not least, I would like to recommend a talk by Yossi Gurvitz, a former Yeshiva student (he is a leftist, but you won't note that). It is called "When Israel is mighty" and explains what's in store for non-Jews, especially for Christians, in a state based entirely on Talmudic Judaism (he addresses pedophilia at around 4:40, so viewer discretion is advised):

https://youtu.be/AvTgCChdlDo

Our Lady of Sion, pray for us!

Tom Healey said...

I skimmed through the so called mission statement, and I saw nothing I basically disagreed with. The mission call was not denied or ignored. We're encouraged to be sensitive.

As to how to understand O/T, the Temple, then the synagogue, and Jews today, I have no competency whatsoever, to judge. The Torah. The Talmud. Does Judaism still exist? Good questions. But I leave them to experts. Whatever the answer, I don't see how it's possible that God is not calling the church and all Catholics to repent for any sins, including crimes committed against Judaism and Jews over 2000 years. As far as Jewish influences on the church before and after Vat ll. I think there is a danger in reading too much into it, as though church father's were outsmarted by those 'perfidious' Jews. Speaking for myself, I find that I'm always caught between seeing people(not just Jews)in the abstract and seeing them as flesh and blood humans. Just like myself. That's one thing that I notice with Pope Francis is that he challenges us to meet people as human beings. Because we are wounded by Adam's sin we are more inclined to demonize those we have deep disagreements with. That does not mean that we should go along with PC attitudes toward Jews or other non christian groups. I said above that most Jews today are leading the attack against everything we Catholics consider sacred. I wish I could remember the name of an Irish American priest who wrote a book about 30 years ago based on stories told to him by Jews and how they perceived Catholics. One story some told of how they dreaded when Easter came along because that was the favourite time to be called "Christ killers", or to feel anxiety at the sight of a crucifix. I don't think this is what Christ had in mind by "love of neighbour" or "love your enemies". God bless.

Peter Lamb said...

What a brilliant exposition!!!
The Jews of the Old Testament were God's Chosen People. They worshiped the True God, the same God that we do, i.e. the Blessed Trinity. It had not yet been revealed that God is in fact a Trinity of three distinct Persons in one God. The Old Law was fulfilled and terminated by the coming of Christ, the Messiah, who ordained the New and Everlasting Covenant by His own blood. The Old Covenant and its Priesthood were ended and the Temple destroyed; Christ built His universal Church on the rock of Peter and the Chosen People are ever since Catholics.
It is crucial to differentiate between Old testament Judaism and modern Talmudic Judaism. Modern Talmudic Jews deny Christ and therefore deny our God, the God of the Old Testament. The Bergoglian heresy that modern Jews and Catholics worship the same God is a lie.
The real name of Christ in Hebrew is Jeschua Hanotsri—Jesus the Nazarene. In the Talmud He is called:
Jeschu, which is maliciously taken as if it were composed of the initial letters of the three words Immach SCHemo Vezikro—"May his name and memory be blotted out."; Otho Isch—'That man,'; Peloni—"A Certain One.";
Naggar bar naggar—'the carpenter son of a carpenter'; Talui—'the one who was hanged.'
The Talmud teaches that Christians are Idolaters; Murders; Fornicators; Unclean; Not like men, but beasts; Children of the Devil; Damned to hell and much more in like vein. The Kabbalah derives from Babylonian occultism. These modern Jews are the Fathers of the Illuminati (Adam Weishaupt), and Judeo-Masonry. In a nutshell, modern Talmudic Jews are violently anti Catholic at heart. They are a completely different kettle of fish than the Old Testament Jews.

Peter Lamb said...

Continued:
Various Saints and Popes have condemned them most severely. I mention only a few, for sake of brevity:
“The Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and have persecuted us, do not please God, and they are adversaries to all men, prohibiting us from speaking to the Gentiles that they may be saved, to fill up their sin always: for the wrath of God has come upon them to the end.”
— St. Paul, I Thessalonians 2:14-16
“You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him, you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.”
–St. Stephen, Acts 7:51-53
“It would be licit, according to custom, to hold the Jews in perpetual servitude because of their crime.”
— St. Thomas Aquinas
“Crucifiers of Christ ought to be held in continual subjection.”
— Pope Innocent III
“The Lord made Cain a wanderer and fugitive over the earth, but set a mark upon him, lest anyone finding him might slay him. Thus the Jews, against whom the blood of Christ calls out, although they ought not be killed, nevertheless as wanderers they must remain upon the earth until their faces be filled with shame and they seek the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.”
— Pope Innocent III
“Ungrateful for favors and forgetful of benefits, the Jews return insult for kindness and impious contempt for goodness granted. They ought to know the yoke of perpetual enslavement because of their guilt. See to it that the perfidious Jews never in the future grow insolent, but that in servile fear they always suffer publicly the shame of their sin.”
— Pope Gregory IX
“Let the Gospel be preached to them and, if they remain obstinate, let them be expelled.”
— Pope Leo VII
“One who dies a Jew will be damned.”
— St. Vincent Ferrer
“The Jews are enemies of God and foes of our holy religion.”
— St. Padre Pio

Peter Lamb said...

Continued:
“The Jews were unworthy to perceive the meaning of the divinely-inspired Scriptures which speak of the mystery of Christ. And because they had taken no notice of the truth, they made themselves unworthy of the salvation which flows from Christ.”
— St. Cyril of Alexandria
“Jews are slayers of the Lord, murderers of the prophets, enemies and haters of God, adversaries of grace, enemies of their fathers’ faith, advocates of the devil, a brood of vipers, slanderers, scoffers, men of darkened minds, the leaven of Pharisees, a congregation of demons, sinners, wicked men, haters of goodness!”
— St. Gregory of Nyssa
“The Jews wander over the entire earth, their backs bent and their eyes cast downward, forever calling to our minds the curse they carry with them.”
-St. Augustine
“If someone should kill the beloved son of a man, and then stretch forth their hands still stained with blood to the afflicted father, asking for fellowship, would not the blood of his son, visible on the hand of his murderer, provoke him to just anger instead? And such are the prayers of the Jews, for when they stretch forth their hands in prayer, they only remind God-the-Father of their sin against His Son. And at every stretching-forth of their hands, they only make it obvious that they are stained with the blood of Christ. For they who persevere in their blindness inherit the blood-guilt of their fathers; for they cried out: “His blood be upon us, and upon our children” (Matthew xxvii.25).”
— St. Basil the Great
“Poor Jews! You invoked a dreadful curse upon your own heads in saying: “His blood be on us and our children”; and that curse, miserable race, you carry upon you to this day, and to the End of Time you shall endure the chastisement of that innocent blood. O my Jesus! … I will not be obstinate like the Jews. I will love Thee forever, forever, forever!”
— St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori
“We order all our brother bishops absolutely to suppress the blasphemy of Jews in your dioceses, churches, and communities, so that they do not dare raise their necks, bent under eternal slavery, to revile the Redeemer.”
— Pope Gregory IX
For more information on Talmud see The Talmud Unmasked by Fr. B. Pranaitis, Hebraist and theologian.

Boniface said...

Tom,

well in principle it does say "don't try to convert Jews" because it says, "In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews." While it says Christians may "bear witness to their faith in Jesus", it rejects that Catholics collectively should make any effort to convert Jews.

I do have a problem with a document which admits that Jews "do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and Son of God" and then - after admitting they do not know Jesus - specifically says there should be NO missionary efforts towards them.

Does that sound right to you? In light of the Great Commission to preach the Gospel to all men, can you honestly tell me that sounds right?

Tom Healey said...

Thanks Boniface. You've motivated me to read the document carefully, and I'll be more prepared to comment, hopefully, knowing what I'm talking about.

Karl Rahner Jr. said...

The propensity toward self-hatred among Catholic leaders, vis a vis the history of the Church and the Jews, is very noticeable.

viterbo said...

Make sure you do not over-look the Church's voice posted in the comments by 'Peter Lamb', above. Catholic Gold, but usually ignored. This is what the Holy Ghost teaches through His Bride...is anyone listening?

Tom Healey said...

Unfortunately, depth psychology has replaced the church's ontological teaching on original sin, even though psychology is good in it's secondary place. Their self hatred shows they've never truly repented of anything since true repentance means to be forgiven, cleansed, purified, healed.

Tom Healey said...

Hi Boniface, Just by way of introduction, I do not, cannot, separate my lower ego life from the life of my soul, or who I am as a person, made in God's Likeness and image, and a child of God by baptism.So everything I say is conditioned by this great gift from God. Which obviously includes the struggle to live up to God's call.

Christian love of neighbour means to understand their wounded nature's caused by original sin and their need of Christ and His church. To understand them as groups and as individuals, their suffering and struggles, their identification with their religion, race, community and family, is like the icing on the cake. Because we start to empathize with them in more profound ways. I believe this is even truer with the Jews for Judaism is truly a revealed religion revealed by the God we as Catholics worship. Unlike Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism is TRANSCENDENT, even though it took the Catholic Church to break the chains of original sin through Jesus Christ. So, to just take the attitude that Judaism no longer exists means nothing to religious Jews. And the tragic truth is that after 2000 years of Christianity there is still only a Remnant of Hebrew Catholics. I've come to accept that Nostra Aetate and all the documents that have flowed from that document by Pope St.JPll, Pope Benedict and now Pope Francis are from the Holy Spirit. Jews, by and large, are highly educated and intelligent. Thus for the church to win them to Christ requires of us to fundamentally understand them in their LIVED history and not just as a group abstraction in need of conversion. Catholicism has the greatest body of anthropological knowledge in the world. That's the head. Her desire to convert the Jews is from the heart and soul. The way I see it is that for the church to take the path she has taken since Vat ll with the Jews is the completion of her heart and soul love for the Jewish people.

This personal story might help to understand where I'm coming from. Going back to 1990 I discovered great Catholic journals, First Things, Crisis, NOR being my favourites. And they introduced me to so many problems within the church since Vat ll. And as scholars are inclined, the problems were abstract, remote, not really alarming. So I didn't really get it. Three years ago, I bought a laptop, got internet service and looked for Catholic blogs where I discovered Churchmilitant.com. And I go to that site every evening. This is where I came to see the appalling corruption within the church from top to bottom. The way I put it is that Michael Voris and staff put flesh and blood on the skeleton of what I previously understood in the abstract. I'm not implying that my attitude toward Evangelicals of Jews comes from my experience with CM. Not at all. Both come from what I mentioned in my introduction. This is a round about way to address your concern over the "institutional Jewish mission" but so be it! I have no time now to address your concern, and I'll come back to it later today. God bless.


Tom Healey said...

Boniface, to finish what I started and to address those three points regarding the church's call to evangelize mankind and what you see as a potential contradiction.

1. The reality that the "mission" to convert the Jews threatens "...The very existence of the Jewish people."

2. "...The universal salvation significance of Jesus Christ...The universal mission of the church are of fundamental importance."

3. "In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific INSTITUTIONAL MISSION WORK DIRECTED TOWARDS JEWS."

This is the point where I realize I'm required to ask questions rather than rushing to conclusions. Traditionalists will claim that yes, Francis is misguided(I was one of them though I'm not a Traditionalist. I'm Roman Catholic, meaning faithful)or. at worst they claim he's a heretic, stealthily divorcing church doctrine from the pastoral. I can only discuss my own faith journey, which is my interior life of prayer with Christ. and self-renunciation. And this is not just about Pope Francis. This is the spiritual life I'm called to. - unceasing prayer, renunciation of my wounded ego life(like everyone I'm self centred. not God centred)and suffering. Yes. suffering, which is anathema to today's self-indulgent generation.

So what is Pope Francis up to? Is he happily caught in a violation of the law of non-contradiction? Which is par for the course in today's society which rejects the possibility of knowing moral truth. Is he an anti-pope as sedevacantist claim? And what about The Remnant and Vox Cantoris. They seem to be in a never ending state of outrage over Francis, as though anger and suspicion defined them. "I rage, therefore I am." Or CNS and From Rome who are not much better. None of them seem to realize they have a responsibility to tirelessly seek the truth. not to make rash judgements like silly Protestants. The church stands for reason, in prayer, over against that powerful irrational component in our wounded natures.

Lastly, what does Francis mean by "institution"? I have come to accept that he sees the institutional church as absolutely necessary BECAUSE of Original Sin(which he should), but he also sees the institutional church as a prison for faithful Catholics BECAUSE of Original Sin. I mean O/S is alive and well, and it's just human nature for faithful Catholics to take the easy way. It's not coincidental that God provides Purgatory for saved Catholics to be purified in order to see God in His infinite holiness. This is the way I've come to understand this complex man. To help us wake up to our very real limitations. So Pope Francis is not rejecting the church's institutional mission to convert the Jews. He wants more heart to go with the church's head, doctrine.

Anonymous said...

Well, Peter Lamb, your quotations vividly illustrate why indeed our Church is complicit in anti-Semitism, and why Nostra Aetate was so necessary, and why St John Paul - well placed to as a Pole - wrote as he did. We cannot be intimidated by the stature of those Fathers, Popes and Saints, and not call them out where they were wrong, or trapped in the prejudice of their age.

One observation: it remains a mystery to me how Christians have been more impressed by the words of a few ignorant Jews: "His blood be upon us and upon our children"; than by the infinitely more authoritative and powerful words of Christ our God: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do". Which, honestly, do you think prevails and stands? Or, Peter Lamb and your ilk, have you lost faith in Christ's authority to forgive, and ability to obtain anything He asked from the Father?

Fortunately we have a true template for our relationship, love and duty towards the Jewish people in St Paul and his wonderful three chapters in Romans 9 - 11

John Radice jdelradice@gmail.com

Tom Healey said...

I agree with everything you say, except that anti-judaism is what the church struggled with up until the 19th century. This conflict was basically biblical, religious. In the 19th century anti-semitism appeared, and as I understand it, it was basically political.