Tuesday, January 05, 2016

One covenant or two? The Jewish-Catholic question briefly revisited

After reading Canonist Ed Peter's post on the recent Vatican document on Catholic-Jewish relations, as well as the exchange between Peters (in his above-linked post) and Jimmy Akin; and after a discussion with one of my colleagues who actually thought the Vatican document was a helpful theological advancement, I was provoked to do a little investigating of my own.

Following up on my earlier posts on said document (in "New Vatican Document on Judaism Provokes Controversy," Musings, December 18, 2015; and "A Non-Magisterial Magisterial Statement," Musings, January 3, 2016), I decided to examine the points controverted by John Vennari by putting them to the test in an examination of the original document. Here is a brief summary of my conclusions (headings are adapted from Vennari; excerpts from the Vatican document beneath them include my own as well as those he referenced in footnotes; bracketed numbers refer to numbered paragraphs of the Vatican document; and added emphasis is mine):
  • The New Covenant does not supersede the Old Covenant:
    [17] A replacement or supersession theology which sets against one another two separate entities, a Church of the Gentiles and the rejected Synagogue whose place it takes, is deprived of its foundations

    [23] The Church does not replace the people of God of Israel, since as the community founded on Christ it represents in him the fulfilment of the promises made to Israel. This does not mean that Israel, not having achieved such a fulfilment, can no longer be considered to be the people of God.
  • The Catholic Church, in principle, should have no mission to convert Jews:
    [40] The Church is therefore obliged to view evangelisation to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views. 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 ...
  • The Word of God is regarded as present to modern Jews by means of the Torah in a sense that equates this to the Word of God being present to Christians through Jesus Christ:
    [24] For Jews [the Word of God] can be learned through the Torah and the traditions based on it. The Torah is the instruction for a successful life in right relationship with God. Whoever observes the Torah has life in its fullness (cf. Pirqe Avot II, 7). By observing the Torah the Jew receives a share in communion with God. In this regard, Pope Francis has stated: "The Christian confessions find their unity in Christ; Judaism finds its unity in the Torah. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh in the world; for Jews the Word of God is present above all in the Torah. Both faith traditions find their foundation in the One God, the God of the Covenant, who reveals himself through his Word. In seeking a right attitude towards God, Christians turn to Christ as the fount of new life, and Jews to the teaching of the Torah." (Address to members of the International Council of Christians and Jews, 30 June 2015).
  • Modern Jews are treated as being in an acceptable position before God regarding salvation:
    [36]  From the Christian confession that there can be only one path to salvation ... 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. ... That the Jews are participants in God’s salvation is theologically unquestionable, but how that can be possible without confessing Christ explicitly, is and remains an unfathomable divine mystery.
  • “The term covenant, therefore, means a relationship with God that takes effect in different ways for Jews and Christians”:
    [25] Judaism and the Christian faith as seen in the New Testament are two ways by which God’s people can make the Sacred Scriptures of Israel their own. The Scriptures which Christians call the Old Testament is open therefore to both ways. A response to God’s word of salvation that accords with one or the other tradition can thus open up access to God, even if it is left up to his counsel of salvation to determine in what way he may intend to save mankind in each instance. That his will for salvation is universally directed is testified by the Scriptures (cf. eg. Gen 12:1-3; Is 2:2-5; 1 Tim 2:4). Therefore there are not two paths to salvation according to the expression "Jews hold to the Torah, Christians hold to Christ". Christian faith proclaims that Christ’s work of salvation is universal and involves all mankind. God’s word is one single and undivided reality which takes concrete form in each respective historical context.

    [27] The covenant that God has offered Israel is irrevocable. "God is not man, that he should lie" (Num 23:19; cf. 2 Tim 2:13). The permanent elective fidelity of God expressed in earlier covenants is never repudiated (cf. Rom 9:4; 11:1–2). The New Covenant does not revoke the earlier covenants, but it brings them to fulfilment. ... The term covenant, therefore, means a relationship with God that takes effect in different ways for Jews and Christians
  • “It does not follow that Jews are excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the Son of God”:
    [36] 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. Such a claim would find no support in the soteriological understanding of Saint Paul, who in the Letter to the Romans not only gives expression to his conviction that there can be no breach in the history of salvation, but that salvation comes from the Jews (cf. also Jn 4:22). ... That the Jews are participants in God’s salvation is theologically unquestionable, but how that can be possible without confessing Christ explicitly, is and remains an unfathomable divine mystery.
I sent the excerpts above to my colleague, appending the following remarks:
My problem is not that the document does not say the right things in certain places, but that it counters these statements with very ambiguous and misleading (and even apparently contradictory) statements in others. [One of my former professors taught us] that the advancement of doctrine can only take place through progressive clarification and refinement of propositions already received within a doctrinal tradition. I can't bring myself to see in the waffling ambiguities of this document, however, anything approaching a 'clarification' or 'refinement' of Catholic doctrine. The most that can be said, it seems to me, is that Catholics are now discussing some important issues that they have perhaps neglected in modern times; but WHAT they are saying about them seems appallingly unclear, at least to me.

We know that there are many Jews who will not be satisfied with Catholic-Jewish dialogue until Catholics entirely abandon the necessity of Christ [for] salvation. I heard a Jewish talk show host last fall denounce an evangelical woman who "still believed, in all charity, that Jews ought to convert to Christianity."

What a Jew 'hears' when he reads a document like this will [differ] from what a theologically-literate Catholic 'hears'. The fact is that a contemporary Jew will most likely be utterly indifferent to whether or not a Catholic sees pre-Christian Judaism as finding its fulfillment in Christianity [unless he is offended], since his understanding of the Old Testament in light of post-Temple synagogue Judaism differs significantly from the Christian (or even the Apostolic) understanding of it.

The other concern I have is that documents such as this are effectively taken as post-facto justifications for the failure of Catholics to evangelize Jews, or, for that matter, anyone. While the distinction between "institutional" and "personal" evangelism [in the Vatican document] makes a kind of sense as a "tactical" measure, if one squints hard enough, it really strikes me as an appalling disingenuity amidst the massive implosion of Catholic missions since Vatican II.
The following is what my colleague wrote back to me in response to my statements about the document. I quote them by permission and would be interested in how any of you who may be interested interpret the matter [Note: my colleague has updated his remarks in following]:
In many respects it is a good document. Some of the tensions that you point to can be resolved, and I try that below. Some are not easily resolved, and they take on the appearance of contradictions. But I think the document deserves a charitable reading. What does it mean to be charitable hermeneutically? I express here what is known as the principle of charity especially highlighted by American philosopher Donald Davidson as governing the interpretation of others. “In various versions it constrains the interpreter to maximize the truth or rationality in the subject’s saying” (Simon Blackburn, The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy [New York: Oxford University Press, 1996], p. 62). St. Ignatius of Loyola made this point more fully about a "charitable reading" at the start of his Spiritual Exercises: "Let it be presupposed that every good Christian is to be more ready to save his neighbor’s proposition than to condemn it. If he cannot save it, let him inquire how he means it; and if he means it badly, let him correct him with charity. If that is not enough, let him seek all the suitable means to bring him to mean it well, and save himself."

Significantly, thus work is not an official magisterial document of the Church, but a document of the Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, which is a division of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and hence a consultative body not an official teaching organ of the Catholic Church. Of course that doesn't mean that this Commission doesn't purport to lay out a teaching. And of course as far as the content of the text is concerned it does contain teaching that is infallible (first and second level teaching that is definitive and irreversible)--e.g., about the person and work of Christ, about the Old and New Testaments being the Word of God, about Christ being the fulfillment of OT promises, the Messiah of Israel, the full and sufficient causes of our salvation, and so forth. It probably has third level teaching, which is teaching taught authoritatively but not definitively. But I venture to suggest tentatively that regarding the more specific claims made in this document regarding, e.g., the claim that the "gifts and calling of God are irrevocable," these and others belong to the fourth level of teaching: "Sententia ad fidem pertinens, or theologice certa: theological conclusions logically deduced from a proposition of faith and taught by the magisterium which have a high degree of certainty"; also, consider the claim regarding the salvation of the Jews; this claim and other related ones belong to the fifth level: "Sententia probabilis: denotes probable opinion, although in theological discussion there are many other levels operating: well founded, pious, and tolerated opinions (with the least authority)." See Ludwig Ott for these and others level of teaching, section 8, Theological Grades of Certainty.

The document distinguishes between an institutional mission of the Church to evangelize Jews from the personal witness of individuals evangelizing Jews. "It is easy to understand that the so-called ‘mission to the Jews’ is a very delicate and sensitive matter for Jews because, in their eyes, it involves the very existence of the Jewish people. This question [of an institutional mission of evangelization to the Jews] also proves to be awkward for Christians, because for them the universal salvific significance of Jesus Christ and consequently the universal mission of the Church are of fundamental importance. The Church is therefore obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views. 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."

I think the document should have made a clearer distinction here between, on the one hand, the sort of "missionary efforts to convert Jews," efforts built on and presupposing the error of supersessionism (which the document rejects), that is, the view that the gifts and calling of the Jewish people have been revoked and superseded/replaced by the Church, and on the other hand, the appropriate and authentic sort of missionary efforts to evangelize Jews. These efforts rightly follow from the truth (and the document affirms all the following statements in quotes) that "[t]here cannot be two ways of salvation," "two parallel ways to salvation," that "there can be only one path to salvation," that "Christ is also the Redeemer of the Jews in addition to the Gentiles," that the Church must "'witness to Christ as the Redeemer for all',''and that the divine gifts and graces of the New Covenant are for the Jews as well." Indeed, "From the perspective of the Christian faith, he [Jesus] fulfills the mission and expectation of Israel in a perfect way,"Clearly, the document is not saying, in rejecting supersessionism, that the Jews qua Jews are saved by living in conformity with the Old Covenant. It seems to me that given everything the document says quoted here above about Christ, the question may be raised whether the document is theologically forced to speak of a qualified supersessionism. Why? Because Christ is the full and sufficient cause of man's salvation, including the Jews. Be that as it may, a clarification of this sort alluded to above would resolve the appearance of an inconsistency between, on the one hand, the appropriateness of the claim that "the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews," if it's based on a supersessionist theology, and on the other hand, the truth that the Catholic Church has a continuing "mandate to evangelize in relation to Judaism" and that Christians are "called to bear witness to their faith in Jesus Christ also to Jews."

The Old Testament is the Word of God, and so in that sense "By observing the Torah the Jew receives a share in communion with God." Catholics are not Marcions. Then comes the quote from Pope Francis, which I think is meant to support the teaching that the OT is the Word of God opening up access to God, but then it says correctly that "there are not two paths to salvation according to the expression "Jews hold to the Torah, Christians hold to Christ." The document adds: "Christian faith proclaims that Christ's work of salvation is universal and involves all mankind." Indeed, Christ can be considered "the living Torah of God." There is perfect fulfillment here in Christ. "The NT does not revoke the earlier covenants, but it brings them to fulfillment. Through the Christ event Christians have understood that all that had gone before was to be interpreted anew. . . . For Christians, the New Covenant in Christ is the culminating point of the promises of salvation of the Old Covenant, and is to extend never independent of it." "The New Covenant for Christians is therefore neither the annulment nor the replacement, but the fulfillment of the promises of the Old Covenant."

"Since God has never revoked his covenant with his people Israel, there cannot be different paths or approaches to God's salvation. The theory that there may be two different paths to salvation, the Jewish path without Christ and the path with the Christ, whom Christians believe is Jesus of Nazareth, would in fact endanger the foundations of Christian faith. Confessing the universal and therefore also exclusive mediation of salvation through Jesus Christ belongs to the core of Christian faith. . . . The Christian faith confesses that God wants to lead all people to salvation, that Jesus Christ is the universal mediator of salvation, and that there is no 'other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved' (Acts 4:12)."

Now, it then goes on to consider the question of the salvation of the Jews in light of everything the document clearly says about the ontological necessity of Christ's saving work for salvation. Can we be saved apart from the finished salvific work of Christ, his life, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension? No! But the document distinguishes ontological necessity from confessing Christ explicitly, meaning thereby that he is not epistemically necessary for salvation. Christ's saving work is ontologically necessary for my salvation, but it does not follow from this that I have to know that it is efficacious for me. That is what the document says. I find this distinction troublesome unless it is interpreted in the light of another notion, namely, the invincibly ignorant, those who through no fault of their own have failed to respond to the gospel. In fact, that is the context of LG 16. Be that as it may, the document says: "That the Jews are participants in God's salvation is theologically unquestionable, but how that can be possible without confessing Christ explicitly, is and remains an unfathomable mystery." In other words, Christ saves the Jews--his saving work is ontologically necessary, and hence there are not two ways of salvation, but only one--but they can be saved without explicitly responding to the Gospel. If so, then knowing Christ is not epistemically necessary for salvation. That's what I understand the document to be saying.

Not that it has solved the theological question of salvation for the Jews by distinguishing between ontologically necessary and epistemically necessary.

It says, "Another focus for Catholics must continue to be the highly complex theological question of how Christian belief in the universal salvific significance of Jesus Christ can be combined in a coherent way with the equally clear statement of faith in the never-revoked covenant of God with Israel." Again, it reiterates: "It is the belief of the Church that Christ is the Savior for all. There cannot be two ways of salvation, therefore, since Christ is also the Redeemer of the Jews in addition to the Gentiles."

In addition, as Bryan Cross of Called to Communion put it: "the document would be improved by including a clarification distinguishing between the sense in which Christians 'do not themselves have to implement the salvation of man', because this salvation is ultimately a divine work, and the sense in which, by our divine call to bring the Gospel to the whole world [including the Jews] that we as the Church do have to implement for man's salvation. This clarification would resolve the unintended implication of an ad hoc exception to our obligation to bring Christ's salvation to man, namely, to bring this salvation to all people except to the Jewish people, in whose case God uniquely intends to evangelize entirely apart from human messengers and witnesses. To be fair, that latter claim is not what the document says. But there is an unfortunate though undoubtedly unintended equivocation here between the truth of God's role as [primary] cause in bringing the Gospel to the Jews according to His divine plan, and the truth of our necessary role as [secondary/instrumental] causes, according to the divine plan, in bringing the Gospel to the world, including to Jews."
Clearly, my colleague offers the more charitable view.


18 comments:








Anonymous

said...

"It distinguishes ontological necessity from confessing Christ explicitly, meaning thereby that he is not epistemically necessary for salvation. Christ's saving work is ontologically necessary for my salvation, but it does not follow from this that I have to know that it is efficacious for me. That is what the document says. I find this distinction troublesome."

Exactly.

"It is easy to understand that the so-called ‘mission to the Jews’ is a very delicate and sensitive matter for Jews because, in their eyes, it involves the very existence of the Jewish people. This question also proves to be awkward for Christians..."

Utter garbage.

The mission to the entire WORLD is a very 'delicate' matter if it involves telling people they are wrong. Jews as well as everyone who rejects Christ. And they are wrong, no matter how sincere. Was the question 'delicate' for Peter and Paul? Is it delicate for converted Christians today? Was it delicate for Moshie Rosen? For Marvin Olasky? For the gentile Corrie Ten Boom? Rabbi Zolli of Rome at the end of WWII? For Hadley Arkes? Cardinal Lustiger? Hardly. But it is for Church bureaucrats. They create their own problem. And like the documents of Vatican II, this statement is borderline scandalous. Jews don't need conversion. Moslems love and worship the same God. Blah blah blah. But it's the same Church!!! If you want to engage in willful self-deception.

Jews need to be converted. Period. Along with everyone else. It's only delicate if you insist on trying to make faith inoffensive, or have to think Ratzinger's 'Highlights of Vatican II' is a theological classic. I guess we are all German theologians now.

Bottom line: We are not all brothers and sisters, we are not all on the same path, and doctrine matters in a nuts and bolts way. Which makes over half the Catholic hierarchy borderline irrelevant.

Why is this all so hard?





John L

said...

Your colleague is an idiot; at least that is the charitable interpretation of the remarks you give.





Charles

said...

Well, vis a vis supersessionism, your colleague assumes that the document has it right. Supersessionism is to be rejected. But is that not the point at issue?





Joe Ivers

said...

And yet we share this hand-wringing with Paul in Romans, as he tries to come to terms with Israel after the flesh, and what's to become of them. I read him as arguing both sides of this, but facing the guardrail that the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance. Elsewhere he gives the metaphor of the wild shoot (us goiim) grafted onto to the plant (Judaism or Israel), drawing our life from it, and he cautions us against becoming uppity about our privileges. Like Paul, who could only see the beginnings of Jewish imperviousness to Christ, I think there's got to be more here than meets the eye. If their covenant was a covenant, then God won't revoke it. Same with ours. Both have the same promise:everlasting.

One of the ironies, to me, is that Jesus is rejected for having failed to meet the qualifications of Messiah that they knew. One of these was the gathering in of the exiles, the untraceable (except to Mormons) lineage of Ephraim etc. To the Jews, Israel is the everlasting man, and all in Israel are in covenant. Jesus, in addition to being God the Son, is among that number, in Israel. Paul construes our gentile position as also being in Israel only by virtue of being in Christ, dependent on him. In this limited, human regard, he is as any Jew, in Isreal, and we are sons of God only by virtue of being adopted brethren of the one Son of God.

Perhaps this sounds incoherent to you. But it does illustrate an integrating mechanism accommodating these two covenants.

For what it's worth, recall that Judaism also encompasses more than one covenant. It includes what's known as the Path of the Righteous Gentile, also called the Noachid Covenant. I've read speculation that many of the early adopters of The Way were such God-fearing gentiles, being trained in this path, possibly en route to making teshuva to become Jewish converts.

At any rate, God clearly cast a wider net with the New Testament, and who knows whether this wasn't his way of gathering in the lost and assimilated tribes, redeemed by the blood of the lamb, to supplement the Jews and Levites still traceable within Israel, who are redeemed by the blood of the Passover lamb (which is also Jesus, whether they recognize him or not).

These possible parallel realities seem akin to the parallelism between Calvary and the sacrifice of the Holy Mass.

So maybe we don't invest in proselytizing Jews. As Phil Blosser point
ed out, we don't evangelize much of anyone else, either. But we should not promise them that Christians will not try to reach them. It's in our calling to reach out to everyone, but not necessarily to fully understand the big picture.

Thots?





Amateur Brain Surgeon

said...

Fear of the Jews is practically the sole continuity remaining twixt the nascent Church in the Upper room during the novena resulting in the Holy Ghost.

Read Acts of the Apostles and see that Peter and The Apostles preached Christ and Conversion in the Synagogues and private homes of the Messias-Deniers whereas now?

The FIRST time a Pope or Bishop preaches Christ and Conversion in a synagogue would be the LAST time that would be allowed for they would be banned from the Synagogue (it is owned by Satan anyways).

What does the New Testament have to teach us about these matters? Well, if Popes and Bishops do not preach the Gospel, they are committing mortal sins - Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel...

What does Jesus Christ say of the Messias-Deniers? He tells them that Satan is their father.

Luke 19:27 teaches that Messias-Deniers will be brought before Him and killed (i.e. sent to Hell)

The Torah is not the rule of Faith for the Messias-Deniers, the Talmud is as even the Jewish Encyclopedia notes.

There is no precedent within Tradition for these mendacious and fetid lies and they have to do with politics and not theology and those who support such BS are more interested in anthropocentric politics with our enemies them they are interested in the eternal souls of the Messias-Deniers.

NOT preaching Christ and Conversion to Messias-Deneirs is rank anti semitism for Popes and Bishop, by their silence in this matter ( a sin in the cooperation of another's evil; rejecting the Messias) are aught but patting them on their racial supremacism backs as they progress along the path of perdition.

Almost all of our modern praxis with the Messias-Deniers is a sick pathetic joke. We bow and scare before them, we change our sacred prayers at their objections, we delay canonisations because they hate our Saints, etc etc

At no time do we demand they excise from their Talmud their despicable and evil teachings about Jesus , Mary and Christians (they teach we are animals) we do not demand they eliminate their prayers praying for our demise, we do not denounce Maimonides for teaching that it is ok for a jew to fornicate with a THREE YEAR OLD Christian girl and then, he blames the Christian for tempting the jewish rapist; we do not denounce the orthodox rabbis in New York who suck the penises of babies after circumcising them.

The list of their permanent hatred of Jesus and His followers is as long as it is evil

O, and why'n'hell are we forever talking about God's Blessing vis a vis the Messias-Deniers but NEVER talking about God's CURSES on the Messias-Deneirs for breaking the covenant (Blessings and Curses having to do with the Covenants; they are in many of the better bibles).

God's call is not revoked? DUH, no shit. But His call is REJECTED and there are eternal eschatological consequences that will be applied to this who reject His call.

Such B.S, is all too typical of the Shadow Church (shadows lack substance) it is half-assed happy talk.

(Hope this is not too churlish)





Sheldon

said...

Charity? Charity??!! I can see the importance of charity in interpersonal relationships, in interpersonal correspondence, etc. But calling for a "charitable" interpretation of a Vatican document on the Vatican's official website is a little like Quakers asking us to disarm our military out of charity for our foreign neighbors. Or putting the best possible spin on the statements of ISIS that it wishes to conquer Rome or decapitate our leaders. Ummmm .... no.





Anonymous

said...

"It's in our calling to reach out to everyone, but not necessarily to fully understand the big picture."

No doubt, no doubt. Then why is this committee trying to pretend it does? Jesus is the only way. We are commanded to evangelize. Jews, everyone. Again, why is this so hard? Does anyone think Peter or Paul would not evangelize Jews? Please. This all stinks of Modernism, and that is the bottom line. God is love, we are all on the same road, bah blah. A far far cry from "work out your salvation with fear and trembling."





Sheldon

said...

"... the error of supersessionism"??? On what grounds was supersessionism ever declared an "error"? By whom? When? Why? Isn't the Church the "New Israel"?





Sheldon

said...

Want clarity? Here's clarity:

Pius XII, Mystici corporis Christi, (29, citing Leo the Great, Serm., LXVIII, 3: Migne, P.L. LIV, 374):

"By the death of our Redeemer, the New Testament took the place of the Old Law which had been abolished; then the Law of Christ together with its mysteries, enactments, institutions, and sacred rites was ratified for the whole world in the blood of Jesus Christ… [O]n the gibbet of His death Jesus made void the Law with its decrees fastened the handwriting of the Old Testament to the Cross, establishing the New Testament in His blood shed for the whole human race."

Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 674)

"The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by 'all Israel,' for 'a hardening has come upon part of Israel' in their 'unbelief' toward Jesus [Rom 11:20-26; cf. Mt 23:39]. ... The 'full inclusion' of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of 'the full number of the Gentiles' [Rom 11:12, 25; cf. Lk 21:24], will enable the People of God to achieve 'the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,' in which 'God may be all in all.'"

Want ambiguity? Here's ambiguity:

Cardinal Kasper, Dominus Iesus (May 1, 2001):

"God’s grace, which is the grace of Jesus Christ according to our faith, is available to all. Therefore, the Church believes that Judaism, [as] the faithful response of the Jewish people to God’s irrevocable covenant, is salvific for them, because God is faithful to his promises."

"A REFLECTION ON THEOLOGICAL QUESTIONS PERTAINING
TO CATHOLIC–JEWISH RELATIONS" (COMMISSION FOR RELIGIOUS RELATIONS WITH THE JEWS, December 10, 2015).

"[T]he 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 ...." [40]





Pertinacious Papist

said...

A relevant point to this discussion may by St. Thomas Aquinas' distinction between three periods of history: (1) from creation to the Fall, (2) from the Fall to the Incarnation, and (3) from the Incarnation to the end of history - the "age of grace."

Before sin entered the world, says Thomas, no explicit belief was required concerning Christ, although this could be understood as implicit in in the belief in providence. After the Fall, only implicit faith in the Redeemer was required of ordinary people, though explicit faith was required on the part of their leaders (like Moses). In the "age of grace," everyone is required to have explicit faith in Christ, says Thomas:

In his work on Truth (14, 11), Thomas writes: "Now the fullness of time ... is the age of grace. So in this age the leaders are bound to believe all matters of faith explicitly. But, in earlier ages, the leaders were not bound to believe everything explicitly. However, more had to be believed explicitly after the age of the law and the prophets than before that time."

Again, in Summa Theologiae (2a2ae 2, 7), he writes: "After the time of grace revealed both the leaders and the simple people are bound to have an explicit faith in Christ's mysteries. This belief mainly regards those points that are universally celebrated and publicly taught in the church, e.g., the articles of the Creed on the Incarnation that we have discussed. As to other finer points connected with these articles, people are bound to a greater or less [sic] degree of explicitness of belief in proportion to their calling and office."





Joe Ivers

said...

To Sheldon, who said:

"Does anyone think Peter or Paul would not evangelize Jews?"

Paul's answer, given many times, was "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek".

I'm disappointed that this document argues for disinvesting in any mission to the Jews. I think they're arguing that, if their covenant still is available to them, then we're not necessarily in a position to argue that they are not in a state of grace. I'm not sure. However, friends who are Jewish Catholic (and other Jewish Christian) converts tend to think of themselves as "completed Jews", or "fulfilled Jews", not as having abandoned their faith, but as attaining the fullness of the faith.

We Catholics tend to use the same metaphor vis a vis our Protestant brethren, encouraging them to seek the fullness of the faith. We may or may not proffer the "stick", arguing (with the church of ages past) that they are beyond the reach of God's grace, or we may hold (as post-Vatican II) that they enjoy God's graces without the sacraments. But there still remains the "carrot", applicable to Protestants, to separated Orthodox, and also to Jews, following Jesus suggestion "If I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me". It seems there is a lot of good reason for Jews to find Jesus, whether or not we believe that they are lost without bending the knee to him.

That may not be the most satisfying solution, but it seems to be an open door.

Yet I think the Church should actively foster this open door to the Jews, without necessarily arguing that they've fundamentally failed to understand their own scriptures, even though they've been studying it far longer than we have (some humility is suggested here).





Joe Ivers

said...

Sorry, I incorrectly pointed my last response to Sheldon, when it actually responded to Anonymous.

However, to Sheldon, who cites Pius XII on the abolition of the law (i.e supersessionism), I have this question.

P12 is here reflecting Paul in Romans and Galatians and elsewhere. From these texts Protestants argue that the whole law is abrogated, and a dead letter.

I think that Protestants misunderstand Paul in this, and (perish the thought) P12 must be parsed in a way that takes the following consideration into account. When Paul (and Pius) assert the abrogation of the Law, do they refer to the whole law, e.g. as Jews count them, all 613 commandments?

The letter to the Hebrews gets more specific, arguing in some detail that Jesus sacrifice fulfills all the requirements of the Levitical sacrificial system. In fulfilling these requirements of God's law (eternal and unchanging), the writer argues that Jesus achieves this for us, once for all. So this part of the law, while not exactly abrogated, is nevertheless fulfilled in such a way that we need not take specific action, such as bringing turtledoves to the (non-existant) Jerusalem temple.

Paul, however, elsewhere asserts that no murderer, adulterer, etc. etc. shall enter the kingdom of heaven. Where does he get this? Could it be that the moral law is not abrogated? Elsewhere Paul asserts that the "law is holy".

So I put forward this distinction to suggest that Paul (writing as an instrument of the Holy Spirit), and P12 (enjoying the protection of the Paraclete) cannot be asserting that the law in its entirety is superseded, but that the atonement provisions of the law are, yet only in the sense that "God has provided himself a lamb" for the sacrifice, as in the Akeida, where Isaac is taken by Abraham to be sacrificed.

Am I mistaken?





Amateur Brain Surgeon

said...

Now, try to imagine any man in the prelature siding with the Angelic/Universal Dr of the Church vis a vs the Messias-Denies and their knowledge of who Jesus is:

Article 5. Whether Christ's persecutors knew who He was?

.....

I answer that, Among the Jews some were elders, and others of lesser degree. Now according to the author of De Qq. Nov. et Vet. Test., qu. lxvi, the elders, who were called "rulers, knew," as did also the devils, "that He was the Christ promised in the Law: for they saw all the signs in Him which the prophets said would come to pass: but they did not know the mystery of His Godhead." Consequently the Apostle says: "If they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory." It must, however, be understood that their ignorance did not excuse them from crime, because it was, as it were, affected ignorance. For they saw manifest signs of His Godhead; yet they perverted them out of hatred and envy of Christ; neither would they believe His words, whereby He avowed that He was the Son of God. Hence He Himself says of them (John 15:22): "If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin." And afterwards He adds (John 15:24): "If I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin." And so the expression employed by Job (21:14) can be accepted on their behalf: "(Who) said to God: depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways."

.......

Article 6. Whether the sin of those who crucified Christ was most grievous?

...

I answer that, As stated above (Article 5), the rulers of the Jews knew that He was the Christ: and if there was any ignorance in them, it was affected ignorance, which could not excuse them. Therefore their sin was the most grievous, both on account of the kind of sin, as well as from the malice of their will. The Jews also of the common order sinned most grievously as to the kind of their sin: yet in one respect their crime was lessened by reason of their ignorance. Hence Bede, commenting on Luke 23:34, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," says: "He prays for them who know not what they are doing, as having the zeal of God, but not according to knowledge." But the sin of the Gentiles, by whose hands He was crucified, was much more excusable, since they had no knowledge of the Law.






Amateur Brain Surgeon

said...

Our Hierarchy is forever delivering obsequious apologies to the Messias-Deniers for the putative disgraceful actions of long dead Christians whose deaths makes those apologies such a cheap thrill for those doing the apologies; those apologising never apologise for their own actions in betraying the Faith and they never have to face the dead whom they are charging with all manner of evil against the always innocent Messias-Deniers.

Writing just for ABS, he would love to hear these long dead Christians, whose reputations are being thrown on the political pyre as an act of secular submission, just what it was they did that was so sinful and if they had been provoked to action by the perfidy, cheating, lying, or the usury of the Messias-Deniers.

But no, the One True Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church is now permanently standing before the Caiaphas of the epoch begging for acceptance by those who reject and even hate He who gave them their authority.

It is a pathetic perfidy but it is what one has come to expect of a once great Body of Christ that has willing let itself be scourged by feminism and sodomistation to the point where it places itself before the latest satanic Chiapas and submits to his judgment for, as Pope Paul VI told the Roman Clergy, "I desire to be loved....."

And, we know it will only get worse for the Hierarchy does not have the balls or the integrity to confess it erred in pursuing this political praxis with those who are its ancient and permanent enemy. No, it is only the sins of others that the Hierarchy makes confessions for and if that is not revealing as to their collective confusion, nothing is.

\





c matt

said...

I don't know, perhaps I am too legalistic, but "covenant" has a legal connotation to it, and if once the terms of a covenant are fulfilled by a performing party, the other cannot insist on a different performance. If I enter into a covenant to sing "Mary had a Little Lamb" at your 34th birthday party, and I do so, you cannot insist that I perform some other song at some other event. The fact that I complete the covenant, but you insist on a different performance, and I refuse the other performance, does not mean I revoked the prior covenant. To the contrary, I performed it, and you have not accepted performance to your own detriment.





Mark Citadel

said...

As usual, the Pertinacious Papist makes some very good arguments and delivers the goods. I also enjoy the other comments!





Paul Borealis

said...


Pertinacious Papist, thanks for the interesting and informative materials on this subject, and the exchange; I think I will need to read and study the Vatican document. If you do not mind, I would like to share the opinion of a protestant evangelist. I am not trying to promote him or protestantism, but I think contemporary Catholics might want to listen to perspectives like this coming from another camp [F.Y.I.]:

Jews Need Jesus. The Vatican Is Wrong

ASKDrBrown

Published on Dec 22, 2015

Dr. Brown responds to the recent Vatican statement about the Jewish people and Jesus, demonstrating that if Jesus is not the Messiah of the Israel, then He is not the Savior of the Gentiles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpKtsZvqZCY

==

December 22, 2015

The Vatican Is Wrong: Jews Do Need Jesus

https://askdrbrown.org/jewish/

==
https://askdrbrown.org/biography/





Paul Borealis

said...

Hello again

If you do not object, I want to share this; it is somewhat related to the topic at hand, but not directly (see below [*]).

I confess that I am troubled and uncomfortable, especially with the video! Perhaps I do not understand, or lack charity. What is this? Where is it coming from, and what is it teaching? Indifferentism? Should I be concerned?

In my opinion: among other things, the 1986 World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi put the Catholic Church on a practical and theological trajectory which is problematic and disconcerting. We really need to examine this issue. I do not wish to exaggerate, but has/will this movement result in heresy and loss of the faith? Is this the best way to love our enemies, and our neighbours, as our Lord Jesus -the Prince of Peace- commanded? Are we being true and faithful to Almighty God, and the new covenant? Is this authentic mission?

I may be entirely wrong, but it has bothered me for years; God forgive me if I scandalize or mislead. What I see here is just another small example of a deeper problem or error/sin in the Church.

Hmmm.

Take a look and judge for yourself:

[*]

Vatican Radio


Pope Francis asks for prayers for interreligious dialogue


http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/01/07/pope_francis_asks_for_prayers_for_interreligious_dialogue__/1199403


You can watch the video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq7us5Lf5IU