Skip to comments.'Acknowledged The Validity Of Judaism And Affirmed The Catholic-Jewish Relationship'
Posted on 01/19/2010 2:02:52 PM PST by Pope Pius XII
New York, NY, January 19, 2010 The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said that the visit to the Rome Synagogue by Pope Benedict XVI "acknowledged the validity of Judaism and affirmed the Catholic-Jewish relationship."
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
Pope Benedict acknowledged the validity of Judaism and affirmed the Catholic-Jewish relationship by his visit to Rome's main synagogue. Like his predecessor Pope John Paul II, whose 1986 visit to the same Rome Synagogue was a message to the Christian world that Judaism was not superseded by Christianity and is a living dynamic religion with its own continued vitality and sacred purpose to do God's will, Benedict sent the same message to prelates, priests and those in the pews.
Pope Benedict has institutionalized for his and future papacies the fact of mutual respect by making it clear that the Jewish people are the people of God's Covenant through Moses. The Pope's words cannot but help to bring greater understanding, respect and dialogue to our two connected faiths.
While there remains a cloud over the relationship on issues relating to the Holocaust, there is no doubt that his visit to the synagogue confirms the importance of the Catholic-Jewish relationship and that we will continue to dialogue with mutual respect.
How can a true Christian accept that?
Abe is distorting what the Pope said.
Areas of cooperation
In this light, Benedict XVI said there are “several possible areas of cooperation and witness,” and he chose to emphasize three.
“The ‘Ten Commandments’ require that we recognize the one Lord, against the temptation to construct other idols, to make golden calves,” he said.
And since “in our world there are many who do not know God or who consider him superfluous” and “other new gods have been fabricated to whom man bows down,” Jews and Christians share a common mission, the Pope suggested.
“Reawakening in our society openness to the transcendent dimension, witnessing to the one God, is a precious service which Jews and Christians can offer together,” he stated.
Secondly, the Ten Commandments “call us to respect life and to protect it against every injustice and abuse, recognizing the worth of each human person,” Benedict XVI noted. “[...] Bearing witness together to the supreme value of life against all selfishness, is an important contribution to a new world where justice and peace reign.”
Finally, the Holy Father affirmed that the Decalogue calls to “preserve and to promote the sanctity of the family, in which the personal and reciprocal, faithful and definitive ‘Yes’ of man and woman makes room for the future, for the authentic humanity of each, and makes them open, at the same time, to the gift of new life.”
He exhorted Jews and Christians to “witness that the family continues to be the essential cell of society and the basic environment in which human virtues are learned and practiced,”
Actually, it’s a bit of a distortion, but the words are correct.
Christianity did not SUPERSEDE or replace Judaism, it fulfilled it. There is an enormous difference. The Christian God is the same as the God of the Jewish Bible. The Christian God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah promised by the prophets. Jews do not. But that doesn’t mean that Judaism is a false religion, or has been superseded.
(This is completely unlike Judaism’s relation to Islam, I might add, which does NOT accord with the Hebrew Bible but differs with biblical history and biblical teachings on numerous points. Muslims say that they respect the People of the Book, but their Abraham is not our Abraham, and their Allah is not our God.)
Dear Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Rome,
President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities,
President of the Jewish Community of Rome,
Friends, Brothers and Sisters,
1. At the beginning of this encounter in the Great Synagogue of the Jews of Rome, the Psalms which we have heard suggest to us the right spiritual attitude in which to experience this particular and happy moment of grace: the praise of the Lord, who has worked marvels for us and has gathered us in his Hèsed, his merciful love, and thanksgiving to him for granting us this opportunity to come together to strengthen the bonds which unite us and to continue to travel together along the path of reconciliation and fraternity. I wish to express first of all my sincere gratitude to you, Chief Rabbi, Doctor Riccardo Di Segni, for your invitation and for the thoughtful words which you have addressed to me. I wish to thank also the President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, Mr Renzo Gattegna, and the President of the Jewish Community of Rome, Mr Riccardo Pacifici, for their courteous greetings. My thoughts go to the Authorities and to all present, and they extend in a special way, to the entire Jewish Community of Rome and to all who have worked to bring about this moment of encounter and friendship which we now share.
When he came among you for the first time, as a Christian and as Pope, my Venerable Predecessor John Paul II, almost 24 years ago, wanted to make a decisive contribution to strengthening the good relations between our two communities, so as to overcome every misconception and prejudice. My visit forms a part of the journey already begun, to confirm and deepen it. With sentiments of heartfelt appreciation, I come among you to express to you the esteem and the affection which the Bishop and the Church of Rome, as well as the entire Catholic Church, have towards this Community and all Jewish communities around the world.
2. The teaching of the Second Vatican Council has represented for Catholics a clear landmark to which constant reference is made in our attitude and our relations with the Jewish people, marking a new and significant stage. The Council gave a strong impetus to our irrevocable commitment to pursue the path of dialogue, fraternity and friendship, a journey which has been deepened and developed in the last forty years, through important steps and significant gestures. Among them, I should mention once again the historic visit by my Venerable Predecessor to this Synagogue on 13 April 1986, the numerous meetings he had with Jewish representatives, both here in Rome and during his Apostolic Visits throughout the world, the Jubilee Pilgrimage which he made to the Holy Land in the year 2000, the various documents of the Holy See which, following the Second Vatican Councils Declaration Nostra Aetate, have made helpful contributions to the increasingly close relations between Catholics and Jews. I too, in the course of my Pontificate, have wanted to demonstrate my closeness to and my affection for the people of the Covenant. I cherish in my heart each moment of the pilgrimage that I had the joy of making to the Holy Land in May of last year, along with the memories of numerous meetings with Jewish Communities and Organizations, in particular my visits to the Synagogues of Cologne and New York.
Furthermore, the Church has not failed to deplore the failings of her sons and daughters, begging forgiveness for all that could in any way have contributed to the scourge of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism (cf. Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, 16 March 1998). May these wounds be healed forever! The heartfelt prayer which Pope John Paul II offered at the Western Wall on 26 March 2000 comes back to my mind, and it calls forth a profound echo in our hearts: God of our Fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your Name to the nations: we are deeply saddened by the behaviour of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and asking your forgiveness we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant.
3. The passage of time allows us to recognize in the Twentieth Century a truly tragic period for humanity: ferocious wars that sowed destruction, death and suffering like never before; frightening ideologies, rooted in the idolatry of man, of race, and of the State, which led to brother killing brother. The singular and deeply disturbing drama of the Shoah represents, as it were, the most extreme point on the path of hatred that begins when man forgets his Creator and places himself at the centre of the universe. As I noted during my visit of 28 May 2006 to the Auschwitz Concentration camp, which is still profoundly impressed upon my memory, the rulers of the Third Reich wanted to crush the entire Jewish people, and, essentially, by wiping out this people, they intended to kill the God who called Abraham, who spoke on Sinai and laid down principles to serve as a guide for mankind, principles that remain eternally valid (Discourse at Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp).
Here in this place, how could we not remember the Roman Jews who were snatched from their homes, before these very walls, and who with tremendous brutality were killed at Auschwitz? How could one ever forget their faces, their names, their tears, the desperation faced by these men, women and children? The extermination of the people of the Covenant of Moses, at first announced, then systematically programmed and put into practice in Europe under the Nazi regime, on that day tragically reached as far as Rome. Unfortunately, many remained indifferent, but many, including Italian Catholics, sustained by their faith and by Christian teaching, reacted with courage, often at risk of their lives, opening their arms to assist the Jewish fugitives who were being hunted down, and earning perennial gratitude. The Apostolic See itself provided assistance, often in a hidden and discreet way.
The memory of these events compels us to strengthen the bonds that unite us so that our mutual understanding, respect and acceptance may always increase.
4. Our closeness and spiritual fraternity find in the Holy Bible - in Hebrew Sifre Qodesh or Book of Holiness their most stable and lasting foundation, which constantly reminds us of our common roots, our history and the rich spiritual patrimony that we share. It is in pondering her own mystery that the Church, the People of God of the New Covenant, discovers her own profound bond with the Jews, who were chosen by the Lord before all others to receive his word (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 839). The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to Gods revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews belong the sonship, 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), for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable! (Rom 11:29) (Ibid).
5. Many lessons may be learnt from our common heritage derived from the Law and the Prophets. I would like to recall some of them: first of all, the solidarity which binds the Church to the Jewish people at the level of their spiritual identity, which offers Christians the opportunity to promote a renewed respect for the Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament (cf. Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Jewish people and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, 2001, pp.12 and 55); the centrality of the Decalogue as a common ethical message of permanent value for Israel, for the Church, for non-believers and for all of humanity; the task of preparing or ushering in the Kingdom of the Most High in the care for creation entrusted by God to man for him to cultivate and to care for responsibly (cf. Gen 2:15).
6. In particular, the Decalogue the Ten Words or Ten Commandments (cf. Ex 20:1-17; Dt 5:1-21) which comes from the Torah of Moses, is a shining light for ethical principles, hope and dialogue, a guiding star of faith and morals for the people of God, and it also enlightens and guides the path of Christians. It constitutes a beacon and a norm of life in justice and love, a great ethical code for all humanity. The Ten Commandments shed light on good and evil, on truth and falsehood, on justice and injustice, and they match the criteria of every human persons right conscience. Jesus himself recalled this frequently, underlining the need for active commitment in living the way of the Commandments: If you wish to enter into life, observe the Commandments (Mt 19:17). From this perspective, there are several possible areas of cooperation and witness. I would like to recall three that are especially important for our time.
The Ten Commandments require that we recognize the one Lord, against the temptation to construct other idols, to make golden calves. In our world there are many who do not know God or who consider him superfluous, without relevance for their lives; hence, other new gods have been fabricated to whom man bows down. Reawakening in our society openness to the transcendent dimension, witnessing to the one God, is a precious service which Jews and Christians can offer together.
The Ten Commandments call us to respect life and to protect it against every injustice and abuse, recognizing the worth of each human person, created in the image and likeness of God. How often, in every part of the world, near and far, the dignity, the freedom and the rights of human beings are trampled upon! Bearing witness together to the supreme value of life against all selfishness, is an important contribution to a new world where justice and peace reign, a world marked by that shalom which the lawgivers, the prophets and the sages of Israel longed to see.
The Ten Commandments call us to preserve and to promote the sanctity of the family, in which the personal and reciprocal, faithful and definitive Yes of man and woman makes room for the future, for the authentic humanity of each, and makes them open, at the same time, to the gift of new life. To witness that the family continues to be the essential cell of society and the basic environment in which human virtues are learned and practised is a precious service offered in the construction of a world with a more human face.
7. As Moses taught in the Shema (cf. Dt 6:5; Lev 19:34) and as Jesus reaffirms in the Gospel (cf. Mk 12:19-31), all of the Commandments are summed up in the love of God and loving-kindness towards ones neighbour. This Rule urges Jews and Christians to exercise, in our time, a special generosity towards the poor, towards women and children, strangers, the sick, the weak and the needy. In the Jewish tradition there is a wonderful saying of the Fathers of Israel: Simon the Just often said: The world is founded on three things: the Torah, worship, and acts of mercy (Avoth 1:2). In exercising justice and mercy, Jews and Christians are called to announce and to bear witness to the coming Kingdom of the Most High, for which we pray and work in hope each day.
8. On this path we can walk together, aware of the differences that exist between us, but also aware of the fact that when we succeed in uniting our hearts and our hands in response to the Lords call, his light comes closer and shines on all the peoples of the world. The progress made in the last forty years by the International Committee for Catholic-Jewish Relations and, in more recent years, by the Mixed Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and of the Holy See, are a sign of our common will to continue an open and sincere dialogue. Tomorrow here in Rome, in fact, the Mixed Commission will hold its ninth meeting, on Catholic and Jewish Teaching on Creation and the Environment; we wish them a profitable dialogue on such a timely and important theme.
9. Christians and Jews share to a great extent a common spiritual patrimony, they pray to the same Lord, they have the same roots, and yet they often remain unknown to each other. It is our duty, in response to Gods call, to strive to keep open the space for dialogue, for reciprocal respect, for growth in friendship, for a common witness in the face of the challenges of our time, which invite us to cooperate for the good of humanity in this world created by God, the Omnipotent and Merciful.
10. Finally, I offer a particular reflection on this, our city of Rome, where, for nearly two millennia, as Pope John Paul II said, the Catholic Community with its Bishop and the Jewish Community with its Chief Rabbi have lived side by side. May this proximity be animated by a growing fraternal love, expressed also in closer cooperation, so that we may offer a valid contribution to solving the problems and difficulties that we still face.
I beg from the Lord the precious gift of peace in the world, above all in the Holy Land. During my pilgrimage there last May, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, I prayed to Him who can do all things, asking: Send your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East, upon the entire human family; stir the hearts of those who call upon your name, to walk humbly in the path of justice and compassion (Prayer at the Western Wall of Jerusalem, 12 May 2009).
I give thanks and praise to God once again for this encounter, asking him to strengthen our fraternal bonds and to deepen our mutual understanding.
Exactly, Christ’s sacrifice fulfilled the old Jewish covenant, but many Jews view Christianity as an “earthly threat” and don’t understand the spiritual/covenantal aspect, most having lost their faith long ago, anyhow.
Certainly Judaism is a religion, but after the Christ’s resurrection and the destruction of the temple in 70AD, God had clearly closed the book on the old covenant, but not all Jews were paying attention.
Islam is a Judeo-Christian heresy, plain and simple and should’ve been left on the trash-heap of history along with so many other heresies.
“How can a true Christian accept that?”
What makes you think Foxman is trustworthy?
“How can a true Christian accept that?”
Jesus says those who do not believe will be judged under the Law. The Jews study the Law. Many try very hard to live by it.
It’s a tough row to hoe. They worship the same God we do. Their Torah study sessions sounds a lot like my Bible study sessions and they study most of the same Bible we do. Their kids learn about David and Goliath, Obindigo and the writing on the wall.
But they are really tough on themselves by not accepting the Christ’s gift. I pray that the 144,000 Jews in Revelation means all of them.
Pretty sad that they need the POPE to VALIDATE their religion.
Foxman has the Devil as his father.
Which is why the poster of the article claimed that it was not the words of the pope.
What were the actual words? Anyone knows?
James C. Bennett:
Post #7 is the unofficial English translation of the Pope’s speech. Here is another link to it
It is the story “Into the Temple” on 17 January.
There cannot be two parallel covenants.
“Dual covenant theology” is deadly to Christianity and to the Western Civilization built by Christianity.
Christ is the universal Savior: necessary for everyone.
No religion, including Judaism, gets a “Christ-free” path to salvation.
Nor does any member of any religion get a free pass for thousands of years, as the dispensationalists contend.
If salvation came by the laws of the old testament, than the salvation sacrifice of Christ would have, as Paul wrote, been in vain.
Why do you hyphenate “Christian”?
To deny Christ is to deny God.
That fact invalidates any religion which denies Christ.
Then why does the Old Testament repeatedly say that God’s Covenant is forever? And Paul says the same thing at one point in his Epistles.
Admittedly, this is something of a mystery. The early Church grew as fast as it did party because a lot of Jews converted, as well as Romans and Greeks. It was presumed that all the Jews would convert, or else die out.
But they did not. And while there are bad Jews, just as there are bad Christians, it would be wrong to say that about all of the Jews. God converts whom He chooses to convert. And for some reason, He has apparently refrained from converting all of the Jews. For 2000 years.
This is admittedly a mystery. But there it is. Contrary to political correctness, there is nothing wrong in Christians trying to convert Jews. It would be less than charitable to refrain from doing that. But it would seem that God decides that some Jews belong where they are.
As a Catholic, I too believe that no one is saved except through Christ. But that includes patriarchs, prophets, and faithful Jews, such as Moses and Elijah, who appear with Jesus on the mountain. And the Church teaches that it can also include noble pagans who have not had the opportunity to convert, if God so chooses.
The same holds for the mystery of why God allowed His Church to splinter, although He calls on it to be one. I don’t believe that no one will be saved except those belonging to the correct sect, whichever that might be. Sincere Christians of all kinds will be saved, if they do the best they can by their lights, if they avoid or repent their mortal sins, and if God so wills. Catholics have the advantage of the sacraments, but presumably more is expected of them as a result.
Will the Jews be converted before the End of Days? Will the Church come together again in unity? That is for God to decide. We just have to do the best we can.
But I’ll repeat what I said earlier, because it’s important. Christianity did not supersede Judaism. Christianity fulfilled Judaism. Judaism was not a false religion, like Islam. Jesus came to fulfill the promises of the Hebrew Bible and the Hebrew Prophets.
Good post, thanks.