Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Catholicism and the Jews

  I went to the National Holocaust Museum last week in Washington DC. It was a very educational and extremely moving exhibit of the horrors that occurred during the Nazi reign of terror in Europe. It is estimated that over 11 million people died, 6 million of which were Jews, exterminated in a systematic fashion by the Third Reich.  The purpose of the exhibit was to help future generations see what occurred in the hopes that this can never be allowed to happen again.
    Over the past 8 years of being Catholic, I have discovered that there are certain elements of the faithful that have no love for the Jewish people. As a matter of fact, they don't accept the Church's teaching on how we as Catholics need to relate to the Jewish people. Some of these Catholics even minimize the Holocaust and claim that the numbers are exaggerated. One leader of a traditional Catholic group claims that no Jews died in gas chambers! Sadly, it seems that most anti-Semitism in the Church now resides among those who call themselves traditional Catholics. I am not saying that all Catholics who attend the tridentine mass are anti-semitic, but there has been an association between those who call themselves Traditional (not accepting Vat 2, or calling it "problematic") and emnity toward the Jews.

It truly breaks my heart that there are those among us who claim to love the Lord,  and the Church Christ started, but refuse to acknowledge the Jews as "our elder brothers in the faith" and harbor resentment towards them. They see the Jewish people as enemies of the faith and scapegoat the Jews for many of the problems in modern society. Our Holy Fathers Blessed John Paul 2 and Pope Benedict XVI have made it abundantly clear that anti-semitism is to be rejected by anyone who calls themselves Catholic.  The Vatican 2 document Nostra Aetate is very clear on the way in which Catholics are to relate to Jews.  I write this post in the hopes that those who are drawn to the devotions and reverence found in traditional Catholic circles will be mindful of the Church's teachings regarding the Jews.

Blessed John Paul 2

I would like once more to express a word of abhorrence for the genocide decreed against the Jewish people during the last War, which led to the Holocaust of millions of innocent victims.

A special relationship--with non-Christian religions--is the one that the Church has with those who profess faith in the Old Testament, the heirs of the patriarchs and prophets of Israel. The Council in fact recalls "the spiritual bond linking the people of the New Covenant with Abraham's stock"
[Nostra Aetate, 4].

 Honoring our respective traditions, theological dialogue based on sincere esteem can contribute greatly to mutual knowledge of our respective patrimonies of faith and can help us to be
 more aware of our links with one another in terms of our understanding of salvation.

I thank Divine Providence that I was able to visit our "elder brothers" in the faith of Abraham in their Roman Synagogue! Blessed be the God of our fathers! The God of peace!

...Holy Scripture nourishes faith, strengthens ecclesial unity and is an important element of our common spiritual patrimony with Abraham's stock, our Jewish brothers and sisters.

                                                        Pope Benedict 16th

True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ.
Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone [Nostra Aetate 4].

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