On the Recent Catholic-Jewish Controversy

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A few recent events have re-opened longstanding controversy between Jews and Catholics.

Before we go any further, Catholic teaching: the Church’s teaching, which goes back to Christ, 2,000 years ago, is that the old Israel, of the Old Testament, was superseded by the Catholic Church, which is the (new) Ark of the (New)Covenant. “Israel” in the Psalms refers to the Catholic Church, and the Scriptural teaching most commonly cited to explain supersession is the parable of the vineyard in Matthew Chapter 20, found at this link.

“Israel” defined either as the post-Christ followers of the rabbis, or as the Zionist state of Israel is an erroneous concept. As the Pope repeated, the Law of Moses has been fulfilled by Christ.

This is the first controversial event, Pope Francis’ latest remarks about how Christ is the salvation of man, and not the Law of Moses. Beginning with a quote from Pope Francis, from SSPX News:

“The Law, however, does not give life. It does not offer the fulfillment of the promise because it is not capable of being able to fulfill it. The Law is a path that takes you forward towards the encounter. Paul uses a very important term, the Law is the “pedagogue” in Christ [Gal 3:24], the teacher towards faith in Christ, that is to say the teacher who leads you by the hand to the encounter. Those who seek life need to look to the promise and its fulfillment in Christ.”

Francis immediately adds: “Dear friends, this first explanation of the apostle Paul to the Galatians presents the radical novelty of the Christian life: all those who have faith in Jesus Christ are called to live in the Holy Spirit, who frees from the Law and, at the same time, leads it to its fulfillment according to the commandment of love…”

Rabbi Arousi sent his letter on behalf of the Chief Rabbinate – the supreme rabbinical authority for Judaism in Israel:

“In his homily, the Pope presents the Christian faith as not only replacing the Torah, but affirms that the latter no longer gives life, which implies that the Jewish religious practice at the present time is made obsolete,” says Arousi in the letter.

The comedy in this is obvious: Jews are complaining about the Catholic Church teaching Catholic doctrine, as opposed to say, Jewish rabbinism. It’s pretty rich. German Cardinals, many afflicted with WWII-guilt, have predictably jumped on the apology bandwagon, denying tenets of the Catholic Faith. From Gloria TV:

Christians believe that Christ is a “new way” of salvation… Cardinal Kurt Koch claimed in a September 3 letter to Rabbi Rasson Arousi, but… this does not mean that the Mosaic Law is “no longer recognised as the ‘way of salvation for Jews’.”

With this false statement, Koch tried to fix a row which erupted when Francis stated on August 11, that the Mosaic law “does not give life” but only Christ saves. This fundamental Christian teaching which is solidly attested in the Old and New Testament, incited Arousi’s ire.

So, this was the first controversy that has broken out, as Brother Andre Marie at the Saint Benedict Center has already addressed, in what is in our opinion the best explanation of Christ’s teaching on this subject. That link can be found here, and here is a brief quote:

Since I began work on this Ad Rem, the Holy See has responded to Rabbi Arousi’s objections, at least indirectly. Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández of La Plata, Argentina, penned a brief “commentary on the fulfillment of the Law according to the Jewish and Christian traditions,” dated August 30 and entitled, “Law and grace for Jews and Christians.” It is interesting as far as it goes; and, if the issue between Rabbi Arousi and the Catholic Church were merely a discussion of the inadequacy of the external observance of God’s revealed Law without the internal love of God, it would be sufficient. But that, of course, is not the whole of the issue. What was left out is what Bishop Barron left out of his conversation with Ben Shapiro, but what Saint Paul did not neglect to teach the Galatians or the Romans or the Hebrews: the burning question of the fulfillment of the Old Law – in both its externals and its interior observance – in Jesus Christ, and the necessity for salvation of supernatural faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the King of Israel.

For those interested, this week’s Reconquest, which I called “To Galatia (and Jerusalem), with Love,” is on the same topic treated in this Ad Rem.

The second big blowup has been over political issues, namely the Vatican inviting a vaccine-extremist Jewish rabbi to Rome to speak at a “health summit.” From Free Republic:

The Vatican’s forthcoming health forum will host a high-profile Israeli rabbi who demonizes conscientious objectors to the COVID-19 vaccine as criminals and murderers and declares it obligatory for governments to punish vaccine refuseniks…

Rabbi Avraham Steinberg, whose fanatical views on the jab have been condemned by Jewish scholars and fellow rabbis as “extremely misleading” and “hateful,” will deliver a “biblical reflection” at the Vatican conference to be held online Sept. 27–28.

Titled “Public Health in Global Perspective: Pandemic, Bioethics, Future,” the online forum is being organized by the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) to reflect on the pandemic and call for a “necessary ethical, medical and ecological ‘conversion.'”

Setting aside what “ecological conversion” is even supposed to mean, the real question is why a Jewish rabbi is even being given a place of honor to preach to Catholics from a Roman pulpit in the first place. The Church has been rightly frustrated by this posturing, possibly to atone so-to-speak for the earlier honest teaching of Christian truth.

Catholic teaching on these issues are unambiguous: No Catholic is morally obligated to receive the experimental injection in the wake of Covid-19. No Catholic is bound by the Law of Moses, and no Jew may be saved without Jesus Christ. It would be hateful to say anything otherwise.

Saint Peter, ora pro nobis!