(Rorate Caeli) - The Assembly of Rabbis of Italy has made known that, at least for this year, there will be no collaboration between the Jewish Communities of Italy and the Catholic institutions for the celebration of the Day of Judaism (January 17). It is the logical consequence of a particular moment which the inter-Confessional dialogue is living today, a moment in which the signs began to appear when the Pope, by liberalizing the Latin Mass, indicated in the Tridentine Mass the norm to follow. In that formulation, in the prayers of Good Friday, there is a prayer which asks for the conversion of the Jews to the "truth" of the Church and to faith in the salvific role of Jesus. In truth, that prayer, which, in its first wording defined the Jews as "perfidious", that is "outside the faith" and blind, had already been "changed" (but never abolished) by John XXIII. Benedict XVI expunged from it the most offensive terms, and reintroduced it.THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: To which all I can say is THANK GOD! It's about time things start getting back to the way they should be. For 2,000 years Jewish rabbis have been disapproving of Catholicism in one way or another. It is only in this last 40 years of the post conciliar era of ecumenism that the Church has received a guarded and reserved hint of approval from the rabbis, and for what? Their approval comes only when Holy Mother Church has watered down the Catholic faith, and made the message of the gospel more ambiguous.
It is not, therefore, a matter of hypersensitivity: it is in the most banal sense about the respect owed to the other as a creature of God. If to that we add the most recent positions taken by the Pope regarding the worthiness of dialogue, defined as useless because in every case the superiority of the Christian faith is clear, it is evident that we march towards the cancellation of the past fifty years of the history of the Church. From this point of view, the interruption of the collaboration between Italian Jewry and the Church is the logical consequence of the ecclesiastical mindset expressed by its supreme authority...
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We should all take a lesson from the apostolic era. Rabbinical disapproval of Catholic Christianity goes all the way back the the foundations of the Church. Since when did Jesus Christ receive the approval of the rabbis? The lesson of history is simply this. If the Jewish rabbis disapprove of the Catholic Church, with her clear and undiluted teaching of the gospel message, then she must be doing something right!
The chief rabbi of Venice, joined by many rabbis with him, has just accused the pope of turning back the clock on ecumenism 50 years. Oh, if only we should be so lucky! Sadly, I'm afraid the good rabbi's words are an overstatement, and merely an attempt at political manipulation.
Some reading this may be stunned by my frankness here. Some may even be wondering if an anti-Semitic mindset is fueling it. As a man who has Jewish members in my extended family, I can assure you this is not the case. I've had conversations with my Jewish in-laws on these issues, and believe it or not, they too are worried about the ecumenical trends of modern times. They see them as just as much a threat to Judaism as they are to Christianity. Jews and Christians (particularly Catholics) SHOULD disagree and disapprove of various aspects of the other's religion. That's why we are separate religions in the first place. There is nothing stopping us from learning about each other's faiths, but we should stop short of trying to appease each other's demands. Judaism is Judaism. It's not going to change, and it's certainly not ever going to do anything to appease Christian concerns or desires. The same should go for Christianity. We shouldn't expect the Catholic Church to do anything to appease Jewish concerns or desires. Such expectations would be unrealistic and impractical.
So of course the issue is immediately raised by Christian ecumenists and Jewish apologists about the historic persecution of Jews by European powers. To which I can only respond that there is nothing in the New Testament, the Catechism, or the Code of Canon Law that instructs Christians to persecute Jews. In fact, these things instruct us to seek charitable justice for all people, and that would most certainly include Jewish people. That in itself is enough! Catholics can bring charitable justice to Jews (and others) just by being good Catholics. Only when Christians fail to uphold these values do we find injustice upon Jews and other people. So the secret to good relations with the Jews is to simply be good Catholics, and the same goes vice versa. Jews can have good relations with Christians simply by being good Jews, because in both cases, our religions call us to be charitable and just when dealing with each other. That's it! There doesn't need to be anymore, especially from the Catholic Church. Now Protestants, particularly Lutherans, have a bit more to apologize for, but that is their problem.
Now when we look to Europe today, we see the deplorable resurgence of anti-Semitism following the current violence involving the nation of Israel in the middle east. This anti-Semitism arises in spite of the Catholic Church's failed attempts at ecumenism with the Jewish leaders. Why? Because when one looks at the demographic makeup of Europe today, the overwhelming majority of Europeans no longer practice Christianity. Why would they listen to a religion they haven't practiced in a generation? This observation should also be a lesson to us, for it is in the abandonment of Christianity that we see a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. We've seen this before. A precursor to this kind of apostasy appeared in Germany during the 1930s - 40s, as the Nazi Party led the German people into a kind of neo-paganism of so-called "folk" religions in which the state became the supreme "god" over them all. Hitler hated the Catholics just as much as he did the Jews. He executed the faithful, and put priests in concentration camps, right alongside the Jews. This is just a matter of historical fact. So today we see a similar kind of apostasy but on a much larger scale, and the results are the same -- anti-Semitism coupled with anti-Catholicism.