PopeWatch: Bear Growls: Sorry Saint Paul




One of the more pernicious pathologies within the Church today is an ecumenism that neuters the command of Christ to the Church to “make ye disciples of all the nations”.  Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear takes a look at a dispiriting recent example:
The Vatican has just released a new document assuring everyone that it has no mission to the Jews.

This is not going to be politically correct. You have been warned.

The need to examine the Vatican’s proof-text (Romans 11:29) in context required a detailed examination of Paul’s clear teaching on the issue. That will be published in Part 2.

But for now, St. Paul wrote, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9 RSV.)

Keeping in mind St. Paul’s double anathema, read what he wrote about the salvation of Jews:

We ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, 16 yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified.

(Galatians 2:15-16 RSV.)

Now, since a different gospel is preached because of interfaith relations, one may ask which is the more important of the two. It is not surprising to hear the Vatican say it has no mission to the Jews, and that Jews may or may not have a special Jew way to salvation.

If you want the photo op with the rabbi at the press conference, the only thing you have to bargain with is the truth. Today, interfaith relations are so important they have eclipsed the truth. In addition, Pope Francis has worked closely with an Argentinian Rabbi, Abraham Skorka, with whom he authored a book, “On Heaven and Earth.” We all know how Jorge Bergoglio’s personal connections influence Church policies.

The Protestants say Catholics believe the teachings of men. The Bear has to concede them the point too  often. The Bear is just an ursine mammal, but he would think twice about advocating a scheme in which knowing rejection of Jesus Christ was a routine method of salvation.

What does it really say about the need to be Christian — no, Catholic — to be saved, or, rather, our leaders’ opinions on that? We have often discovered clues that the Church now believes in universalism, that all persons are saved and Hell is empty. Bad ideas have consequences in the Church, and we should be alert for their expressions. One is this: if everyone is saved, religious differences become unimportant.

Now the Vatican repeats their favorite phrase on this issue: “For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” Of course He didn’t revoke them. They got their Davidic dynasty forever, and they got their Messiah, in Whom the Law was completed. Elijah prepared his way in the person of John the Baptist, and Moses and Elijah — the Law and the Prophets — met with Jesus during the Transfiguration. Not to mention over 300 Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus’ life.

God never revoked his covenant, He completed it.

All Jews  have to do is accept it. Yet the Church has crossed them off the list of people to be asked in order to please men. Is the Bear alone in finding this monstrous?

How different from the early Church, where Jews were tirelessly proselytized! Why were Jews converting to anything under the urging of the Apostle Paul and other Christian leaders if it were not necessary?

But something is going on that makes interfaith relations more important than the truth of the faith, and  the salvation of souls of people we supposedly care so much about. The Bear sniffs the air, and there is something unwholesome on the breeze more often than not of late. The Bear finds himself typing “The Prince of This World” too often.

He fears for his Church as never before.

Ultimately, the Bear fears the Church is currently advancing a different program than the one Jesus began with St. Peter.

Go here to read the rest.  Jews need Christ like all the rest of humanity.  For the powers that be in the Vatican to deny them as a group Christ, is the height of anti-Semitism.


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  1. My best friend is a Jew.

    We met twenty years ago and he was largely a secularist Jew at the time. Frankly, I was only nominally Catholic, so religion wasn’t a regular topic for us.

    Over time, both of us became more devout and, somewhere along the way, we began encouraging each other. Religion became a dialog, rarely express but often present, so much so that his fiance sought my advice in deciding whether to convert to Judaism from Agnosticism. (Jon is endlessly amused that a Christian convinced an Agnostic to become a Jew.)

    Jon asked me, long ago, how we can both be right. I told him that we cannot both be correct, that Jesus is either the Messiah or was a mad man. Jon laughed and told me that he hoped one day to convert me since I would make a fine Jew. I expressed the same view and that dynamic has held.

    My point is only this: the modern view of “tolerance” is capitulation and deceit. True ecuminism says “we have more in common than we readily acknowledge and, since true conversion can never be forced, let us concentrate on what we have in common. Let us accomplish good things together but, make no mistake, I am who I am and want you to walk ever more with me.”

    I think it is a mistaken attribution but, if the Church is saying “preach the Gospel constantly. If necessary, use words.” That sums up my view of ecuminism nicely.

  2. Even on its own terms, this non-magisterial document does not preclude evangelization by any Catholic, even with an eye towards conversion. Not not of anyone, Jewish or otherwise. It forgoes a formal “mission” directed to conversion of the Jewish people on the part of the Church, however the need for salvation through Christ our Lord for all people without exception is affirmed in the document.
    Here is a link to the actual document itself-http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/relations-jews-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20151210_ebraismo-nostra-aetate_en.html

    None of which to deny that the document is arguably problematic and confusing to say the least.

    To David’s point, if asked directly I wouldn’t recommend anyone convert to any faith other than the Catholic Faith, for any reason, and most certainly not as a pre-condition to marriage.

  3. I disagree.

    I prayerfully considered the matter and recommended that she follow the path most likely to fill her life with true joy – a faith filled life as a wife and mother.

    The enemy of faith is not persons of faith but the secular Agnosticism and Atheism that seeks to drive God from the mind and memory of Man. In this sense, I agree with Pope Francis.

  4. Thank you for the Bear Growls. The Bear has been very growly lately. One of the perils of two-part articles is that not everything is on the table after the first one. Indeed, individual Catholics may still seek the conversion of Jews so long as they do it “humbly” and with “sensitivity.” (Like pewsitters need to be told that?) But they sure aren’t encouraging, and the official mission of the Church is over, finished. Actually, a professor who sits on the commission that drafted the document has claimed it should be read as an “exhortation” that individual Catholics not seek to convert Jews.

    The Bear concedes that the document says all need to be saved “through” Christ. Yet, apparently, “through” does not mean actually believing in Him and accepting Him. You can reject Christ, yet still magically be saved “through” him. It reminds the Bear of the deliberately tricky language of Lumen Gentium that seemed to encompass everyone within the saving community of the Church, even though they did not actually belong to the Catholic Church.

    True, we have had “invincible ignorance” all along, but the Bear does not have the sense that’s what they’re talking about. (It would be insulting, for one thing.)

    The Bear thinks they really blew it by appealing to St. Paul, who had no doubt the only way to be saved was to give up the works of the Jewish law and put your faith in Christ. He taught that by retaining Jewish ceremony such as circumcision you were putting your faith in works, not the saving death of Christ.

  5. “Actually, a professor who sits on the commission that drafted the document has claimed it should be read as an “exhortation” that individual Catholics not seek to convert Jews.”

    I think that is the only logical way to read it. When is the last time the Church abandoned a whole group of people from “official” efforts at conversion? The distinction between individual and official efforts at conversion is merely a CYA effort against the outrage that this idiocy should rightly rouse among all Catholics who give a fig about the Faith.

  6. 16 . . . “A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; 17 and at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for all is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it; I pray you, have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them; I pray you, have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported this to his master. Then the householder in anger said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

    That’s something of a no-win scenario for the servant of the master in these politially correct times, isn’t it?

  7. True ecumenism says “we have more in common than we readily acknowledge and, since true conversion can never be forced, let us concentrate on what we have in common. Let us accomplish good things together but, make no mistake, I am who I am and want you to walk ever more with me.”

    I get what you are saying, but the danger in current times is concentrating too much on “what we have in common” and pretty much ignoring differences. If anything, the focus should be on the differences since that is what separates.

  8. Ernst Schreiber.

    You said it!

    “That’s something of a no-win scenario for the servant of the Master in these politically correct times, isn’t it?”

  9. C. Matt,

    “Meeting people where they are” pre-dates this papacy. That is a good thing for me since I really have to force myself to listen these days.

    I think the idea that we have to meet people where they are, fits this discussion well. Using my earlier example, Jon and I float between commonalities and stark differences. Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about the study of Talmud and how that differs from the study of scripture or theology.

    We talk about differences because there is a strong, fraternal bond between us. There is trust and, so, little room for misunderstanding. Where those conditions are more present, dialog continues through disagreement.

    It is a rare dialog that moves through disagreement without a pre-existing condition of trust.

    Sharing our faith must be more than mere defense of it. Yes, we must stand up for Christ, while standing in the Colloseum. Such noble service CAN convert. But, we must also build on our common experience as people of faith in a hostile world. If we honestly listen and share, some souls will be moved to dig deeper. THOSE are souls worth pursuing for God’s great glory.

    I should not like to see trust snuffed out by aggressively challenging the core beliefs of others prematurely.

  10. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” Of course He didn’t revoke them. They got their Davidic dynasty forever, and they got their Messiah, in Whom the Law was completed.

    Exactly – there is a difference between revoking and completion/fulfillment. Revoking an incomplete covenant would be going back on God’s word. But once a covenant is fulfilled or completed, there is no longer anything to revoke. You have to look at the terms of the covenant, and those terms were fulfilled by Christ. You cannot rely upon a fulfilled covenant to insist on continued obligations that no longer remain to be fulfilled. Thus, I don’t see how a Jewish adherent could insist on Judaism being salvific if the promised Messiah has already been provided and he refuses Him.

  11. I have no problem with the approach of meeting people where they are. The problem seems to be that people tend to get stuck there. You are right that trust needs to be built up, etc. I am referring more to those situations where it never seems to go beyond that “common bond” stage. I understand that with some people, it may never get beyond that. What I am finding even with people with whom I have a fair amount of trust, they simply can’t get beyond the current indoctrinated indifferentism. The law of non-contradiction does not seem to exist in their universe.

  12. C. Matt,

    “Ah, got it.”

    Yes, it is a curious thing that we live in an age of college kids refusing to go to class in “Lynch Hall” because of the “negative connotation” of the name “Lynch,” and, yet, nothing truly important is being discussed.

    His Holinessd is not alone in the absurd contradiction of proclaiming that Christians and brothers to Muslims and, yet, not even requestion normal filial courtesies like protecting our churches in Muslim lands. There is a definite one-way-ness to interfaith courtesy, even among our brother-Christians.

    There is a natural hesitation to give up on relationships, even ones which are destructive.

    I experienced this as a young man, dating a Southern Baptist. I was welcome in her family so long as I was a potential convert, “open” to their heavy-handed overtures. To their credit, when I finally staked my flag, willing to go no farther, I became persona non grata.

    So it should be whenever the give-and-take has ceased, when we are being told to either bend or be silent. It is then that we should rebel, both as individuals and as a community.

    There is surely a faithlessness to remaining silent before the House of Saud, letting their kingdom incarcerate Christians for bringing bibles into the kingdom, while giving into their demands for good treatment in the West,

  13. Christians killed by our “brother” Muslims are just collateral damage to a greater agenda. The Bear keeps smelling the same faint odor, and it’s all over the new Jew-Church document. (Read it and see if the Bear is making things up.) But he can’t quite place it.

  14. I have difficulty with the term Jew Church Document. This isn’t really for the Jews. If it were, then it would present Christ crucified and risen from the dead. This document condemns Jew to hell by effectively negating their conversion. Pretending to be pro-Jewish, it is anti-Semitic of the highest order. I despise it.

  15. Anzlyne,
    It is not liberal if…IF….the writer based it on Romans: 11:25 ” I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers, so that you will not become wise [in] your own estimation: a hardening has come upon Israel in part, until the full number of the Gentiles comes in.. ”
    Does the Church contradict God’s partial hardening of the Jews by trying to convert them prior to the full number of gentiles entering in? Is that hardening by God light and the Church can overcome it? This passage does not say that: Romans 11:21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, [perhaps] he will not spare you either. 22 See, then, the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who fell, but God’s kindness to you, provided you remain in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off.”
    This is a deep area. Are we saying that the Church should work against a severe choice of God prior to the Church ascertaining that the full number of gentiles has de facto entered in?

  16. Yes Bill my comment was too flip .
    My thought is that we should be conservative (even ! Fundamentalist) about the fact that we don’t ” convert” from the revelation of Truth in the old covenant. That covenant is fulfilled in the New.. Maybe I am too semantically inclined but ” conversion” is a turning perhaps perceived as a repudiation – whereas fulfilling has to do with all of us.being open… accepting the leading of the Holy Spirit to All Truth. Perhaps use of the term “conversion” is insulting to religiousJews, but the idea of ” fulfillment” is certainly not.
    I don’t think we should try to keep our evangelizing proselytizing powder dry until the day WE perceive the fullness of gentles entering in… God has got that part . We are called to ring out the message to the Ends of the earth

  17. God is outside of time. Therefore, the Jews who believe in the Trinity and God as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, are our older Brothers, who carry and revere the Old Testament. It is not God’s will that any soul be lost. Principles and persons must be winnowed.

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