It is not true, in any sense, that the Jews are the enemies of the Church, and the characterization of them as enemies ... (is) unjust. It is worthwhile explaining why this is so, because (it was) once widely held, and is still found in some circles....Lamont takes up the following arguments:
In a recent talk in Canada, Bishop Bernard Fellay, a member of The Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX), stirred controversy by remarking that the Second Vatican Council was looked on favorably by the Jews, Freemasons, and Modernists, who are all enemies of the Church, and that this was a reason for objecting to the council itself. One should not read too much into Bishop Fellay’s remark itself, since it was a brief aside, and since he has never in the past expressed anything more than the basic Christian claims about Jews. The remark should, nonetheless, not have been made, and should now be corrected. It is not true, in any sense, that the Jews are the enemies of the Church, and the characterization of them as enemies is thus unjust. It is worthwhile explaining why this is so, because the belief that the Jews are enemies of Catholics was once widely held, and is still found in some circles. Priests will thus find it helpful to have a fairly comprehensive account of why the belief is wrong.
To show that the Jews are not the enemies of the Church requires an examination that addresses all the principal attacks on Jews that arise in discussion of this question.
One such attack maintains that the Jews are enemies of the Church in virtue of their religious beliefs. The religious beliefs in question are those of Rabbinic Judaism, which has been the dominant form of Jewish religious belief for the past two millennia. Rabbinic Judaism developed as a result of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70, which removed the center of Jewish religious life. Some replacement for the Temple was required if Jewish religious existence was to continue. In the century or so after the destruction of the Temple, the study and observance of the Jewish Law was developed as this replacement.
The fundamental idea of the new structure of Jewish religion was that, in addition to the written law in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament or the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), Moses received an unwritten law from God on Mt. Sinai, which was passed down by word of mouth through a succession of rabbis. This unwritten law was then supposed to have been committed to writing in the Mishnah—the collection of rabbinic traditions which supplements and systematizes the commandments of the Torah—which was completed around 200 A.D. The Mishnah contains laws on agriculture, festivals, marriage, civil and criminal law, ritual laws, and purifications. It is essentially an attempt to record and perpetuate the religious and legal views held by the scribes and Pharisees prior to the destruction of the Temple, together with inevitable covert extensions of these views. The difficulties of the Mishnah led to the composition of an authoritative commentary on it, the Gemara, completed in the 5th century, which exists in both Palestinian and Babylonian versions. The Mishnah and Gemara together make up the Talmud; the Babylonian version is the one generally used.
The reason why Rabbinic Jews are not enemies of the Church can be put briefly. Such Jews do not seek to convert Christians to Judaism, or to prevent non-Jewish Christians from exercising their faith. They only refuse to become Christians themselves, which does not suffice to make them “enemies” of the Church.
This can be seen by contrasting Rabbinic Jews with Muslims. It is a tenet of Islam that Christianity has been replaced by the message of Mohammed, and that Christians should convert to Islam. It is a duty for Muslims to impose sharia law on the whole of humanity, by force if necessary. (Sharia law, according to Muslims, is a moral code and religious law.) This law systematically discriminates against Christians in a way that is designed to induce them to convert to Islam. This Muslim position does constitute Muslims as “enemies” of the Church, because it commits them to actively working for the destruction of Christianity. This purpose of destruction is what constitutes being an enemy, and it is not present among Rabbinic Jews.
Although this brief explanation suffices to prove its conclusion, it is helpful to expand on it by addressing in detail the various arguments that have been offered for the Jews being the enemies of the Church. The principal arguments are the following.
- The Scriptures state that the Jews are enemies of the Church.
- “The denial of the divinity, and the Messianic status, of Christ is the central idea of Rabbinic Judaism. Since Rabbinic Jews work to deny the divinity of Christ, they work to destroy the Catholic Church, which manifests his divinity.”
- “Rabbinic Judaism is not the religion of the Jews of the Old Testament, but is, instead, a new religion that is based on hostility to Christ.”
- “The Talmud permits Jews to behave immorally towards Gentiles.”
- “Because Rabbinic Jews deny the doctrine of the Trinity, they do not believe in the same God as the Christians.”
- “The Talmud is an evil, anti-Christian work.”
- Believing and practising Rabbinic Jews.
- Secular Jews.
- Conservative Jews.
- The state of Israel.
- Jewish organizations involved in relations with the Holy See.
Accurate knowledge of the main contemporary Jewish groups ... reveals that it is wrong to describe the Jews as enemies of the Church. That does not mean that there are no Jewish enemies of the Church; to deny that this is the case would be absurd—it would mean that Trotsky or Freud, for example, were not hostile to the Catholic faith. But it does mean that it is false and unjust to describe the Jewish people, or Jewish religious believers, as enemies of the Catholic Church.Read more >>