Judaism and the Catholic Church: before and after Vatican II

The key text of Nostra Aetate on this point is in the document’s fourth chapter:

Given this great spiritual heritage common to Christians and Jews, it is the wish of this sacred Council to foster and recommend a mutual knowledge and esteem… the Jews should not be presented as rejected by God or accursed, as though this follows from Scripture… The Church… deplores all hatred, persecution and other manifestations of anti-semitism, whatever the period and whoever was responsible.

Of course, no Catholic may favor the mistreatment of Jews or of anyone else. This is a given. What’s troubling, however, is the ambiguity contained in the phrase, “The Jews should not be presented as rejected by God or accursed, as though this follows from Scripture.”

This phrase lacks necessary distinctions.

Firstly, all of us are members of an “accursed race” – the human race. None of us are born Catholic, but enter this world stained with original sin as children of Adam and Eve. We are thus born, as Blessed Abbot Marmion explains, “enemies of God.” [5] The Psalms teach, “Indeed in guilt was I born and in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 5:7) St. Paul affirms, “For we are by nature children of wrath.” (Eph. 2:3). We are all born as part of the Kingdom of Satan.

To be freed from this kingdom, we need to be “saved”. The eminent Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton explains, the process of salvation requires a transfer from the Kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom of God, according to the age-old doctrine of the Two Kingdoms,[6] is the Catholic Church, the one and only supernatural society established by Christ in which salvation can be found.

The process of salvation, as Fenton notes, is similar to being saved from a sinking rowboat wherein the individual is sure to perish, and being transferred to a sea-worthy ocean liner. This necessary transfer from the Kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of God requires Baptism and acceptance of the Jesus Christ and his Divine Revelation. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved. He who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:6) This teaching applies to all people on earth, whether they be Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or secular humanist.

We are all thus born as part of an “accursed race.” The only way to free ourselves from this curse, the only way out of the kingdom of Satan, is to leave the devil’s empire and transfer into Christ’s one true Church, and to keep oneself in the state of grace by means of prayer and the sacraments.

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Rabbi wants to build understanding between Catholics and Jews based solely on his own flawed interpretation of Vatican II document.

2nd Vatican Council

by Doug Lawrence

Rabbi Howard Hirsch cited several accomplishments of the Vatican II Council, including the recognition that Jews are bound by an unbreakable covenant with God, a powerful deference to the Jewish religion and repudiation of any past Christian efforts to convert them.

Link

Editor’s note: Read the linked article and make careful note of the rabbi’s claims. Then, read the actual text of Nostra Aetate … the official Vatican II Catholic Church document to which he refers (pertinent sections of which are included below.)

In Nostra Aetate, you will NOT find any specific language making Judaism salvifically equivalent to Catholicism. Nor will you find any justification or rationale for what the Rabbi calls “powerful deference”… other than the dignity and respect due to peaceful people, everywhere.

You will NOT find any language that repeals the “Great Commission” of Jesus Christ, which calls on Christians to teach and baptize ALL NATIONS (including Jews) in the name of Jesus Christ … and you will NOT find any language claiming that any of the old covenants are equivalent to the New and Saving Covenant in Christ’s blood, which holds out the ONLY hope of salvation … primarily to faithfully baptized Christians.

As for “exonerating the Jews” … to the contrary … Nostra Aetate properly implicated ALL of sinful mankind, including Christians, Jews, Muslims and Pagans in the death of Jesus Christ, since it was the collective sins of all mankind that made Christ’s sacrifice necessary.

Rabbi Hirsch is a scholar. He knows the truth. Yet through his deliberate misinterpretation of an important, official document of the Catholic Church, he acts much more like crooked politician! Many liberal Catholic bishops have been complicit in this great falsehood, as well.

Read the pertinent sections of Nostra Aetate below. Then look up and study the various biblical citations, comparing them with the official text:

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4. Sounding the depths of the mystery which is the church, this sacred council remembers the spiritual ties which link the people of the new covenant to the stock of Abraham.

The church of Christ acknowledges that in God’s plan of salvation the beginnings of its faith and election are to be found in the patriarchs, Moses and the prophets. It professes that all Christ’s faithful, who as people of faith are daughters and sons of Abraham (see Gal 3:7), are included in the same patriarch’s call and that the salvation of the church is mystically prefigured in the exodus of God’s chosen people from the land of bondage. On this account the church cannot forget that it received the revelation of the Old Testament by way of that people with whom God in his inexpressible mercy established the ancient covenant. Nor can it forget that it draws nourishment from that good olive tree onto which the wild olive branches of the Gentiles have been grafted (see Rom 11:17-24). The church believes that Christ who is our peace has through his cross reconciled Jews and Gentiles and made them one in himself (see Eph 2:14,16).

Likewise, the church keeps ever before its mind the words of the apostle Paul about his kin: “they are Israelites and it is for them to be sons and daughters, to them belong the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race according to the flesh, is the Christ” (Rom 9:4,5), the Son of the Virgin Mary. It is mindful, moreover, that the apostles, the pillars on which the church stands, are of Jewish descent, as are many of those early disciples who proclaimed the Gospel of Christ to the world.

As holy scripture testifies, Jerusalem did not recognize God’s moment when it came (see Lk19:42). Jews for the most part did not accept the Gospel; on the contrary, many opposed its spread (see Rom 11:28). Even so, the apostle Paul maintains that the Jews remain very dear to God, for the sake of the patriarchs, since God does not take back the gifts he bestowed or the choice he made. *(Not exactly! See note below.)

Together with the prophets and that same apostle, the church awaits the day, known to God alone, when all peoples will call on God with one voice and serve him shoulder to shoulder (Soph 3:9; see Is 66:23; Ps 65:4; Rom 11:11-32).

Since Christians and Jews have such a common spiritual heritage, this sacred council wishes to encourage and further mutual understanding and appreciation. This can be achieved, especially, by way of biblical and theological enquiry and through friendly discussions.

Even though the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ (see Jn 19:6), neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his passion. It is true that the church is the new people of God, yet the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy scripture. Consequently, all must take care, lest in catechizing or in preaching the word of God, they teach anything which is not in accord with the truth of the Gospel message or the spirit of Christ.

Indeed, the church reproves every form of persecution against whomsoever it may be directed. Remembering, then, it’s common heritage with the Jews and moved not by any political consideration, but solely by the religious motivation of Christian charity, it deplores all hatreds, persecutions, displays of anti-semitism directed against the Jews at any time or from any source. The church always held and continues to hold that Christ out of infinite love freely underwent suffering and death because of the sins of all, so that all might attain salvation. It is the duty of the church, therefore, in it’s preaching to proclaim the cross of Christ as the sign of God’s universal love and the source of all grace.

5. We cannot truly pray to God the Father of all if we treat any people as other than sisters and brothers, for all are created in God’s image. People’s relation to God the Father and their relation to other women and men are so dependent on each other that the Scripture says “they who do not love, do not know God” (1 Jn 4:8). There is no basis therefore, either in theory or in practice for any discrimination between individual and individual, or between people and people arising either from human dignity or from the rights which flow from it.

Therefore, the church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against people or any harassment of them on the basis of their race, color, condition in life or religion.

Accordingly, following the footsteps of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, the sacred council earnestly begs the Christian faithful to “conduct themselves well among the Gentiles” (1 Pet2:12} and if possible, as far as depends on them, to be at peace with all people (see Rom12:18) and in that way to be true daughters and sons of the Father who is in heaven (see Mt5:45).

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*Therefore I say to you that the kingdom of God shall be taken from you and shall be given to a nation yielding the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they knew that he spoke of them. (Matthew 21:43-45)

In the above passage, it’s absolutely clear that Jesus was speaking to the Jewish hierarchy. In the passage below, it’s equally clear that St. Peter is explaining precisely who that holy and fruitful successor nation would be … the Catholic Church!

But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people: that you may declare his virtues, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Who in times past were not a people: but are now the people of God. Who had not obtained mercy: but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)

It’s high time Catholics wised up … and it’s also high time our Jewish brethren quit “spinning” Church documents to suit their own ends!

Shame on you, Rabbi Hirsch!