Recent document on Jews exposes neo-Catholic hypocrisy

Recent document on Jews exposes neo-Catholic hypocrisy

Louie January 5, 2016

On December 10, 2015, the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews published a 10,000 word treatment on Nostra Aetate (the Second Vatican Council document on the Church’s relation to non-Christians) essentially stating that the Jews are off-limits with respect to the Church’s evangelizing efforts.

[Louie’s previous video commentary]

Their reasoning?

According to the document, the salvation of the Jews isn’t in jeopardy simply because they reject Jesus Christ:

From the Christian confession that there can be only one path to salvation, however, it does not in any way follow that the Jews are excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God.

This blatant denial of Him who said, “He who rejects me rejects Him who sent me” should spark outrage on the part of every single solitary person who dares lay claim to the name “Christian.”

It is clear, however, that this document has created something of a dilemma for the neo-Catholic “hermeneutic-of-continuity” crowd (e.g., EWTN, National Catholic Register, and to name just a few).

While this latest bit of apostasy out of Rome is presumably as plain and (one hopes) as offensive to them as anyone, they just can’t bring themselves to address this document for what it really is; namely, an official statement on the true meaning of Nostra Aetate.

You see, to do so would require departing, first and foremost, from their comfort zones.

It’s one thing to acknowledge that the Church in our day is in crisis thanks to an abundance of faithless prelates (even if one stops short of identifying the “humble” prelate in white as one of the worst offenders); it’s quite another to admit that the Almighty Council lies at the very heart of the problem.

Addressing that reality head-on not only endangers one’s psychological comfort, but also (as I know all-too-well) one’s financial comfort too.

Now, some in the neo-Catholic camp would likely deny the inextricable link between the Commission’s recent document and the content of Nostra Aetate, but that position is simply untenable.

In its opening commentary, the document reminds readers that the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews was established by Paul VI specifically for the purpose of undertaking “the practical implementation of Nostra Aetate;” clearly, with the suggestion being that this present treatment is simply an exercise of that very mandate.

Others will perhaps attempt to separate the two by pointing out that the Commission plainly said that “the text is not a magisterial document or doctrinal teaching of the Catholic Church.”

The fact of the matter is, however, the same can be said of Nostra Aetate itself as it also suffers from a total lack of doctrinal weight. In fact, none of the conciliar decrees are binding upon the faithful as such.

In spite of its nonbinding nature, who can deny that Nostra Aetate has become the de facto “position paper” of the post-conciliar popes with respect to their treatment of the Jews; even to the exclusion of all that preceded it?

In any case, this latest screed from the Pontifical Commission doesn’t claim to be anything other than a direct fruit therefrom.

In other words, as I’ve said in this space before: IT’S THE COUNCIL, STUPID!

This reality has left the dyed-in-the-wool neo-Catholic commentator with just two options; either defend the document, or ignore it.

Jimmy Akin of National Catholic Register, for example, produced yet another one of his tortured lists of “things to know and share” wherein he cheery picked from among the more palatable portions of the text, while splitting linguistic hairs on some of the others.

But hey, at least he tried to grab the bull by the horns.

The same cannot be said for our pal Michael Voris over at Church Impotent. Apparently his … ahem … Executive Producer … has decided that this topic comes too close to challenging the Council; something Michael used to do without trepidation before he decided to put sacred cows before sacred tradition.

Likewise has EWTN failed to even mentioned this travesty.

This, of course, may come as little surprise, but what many perhaps fail to recognize is the degree to which the lack of a response in this case (and most certainly others) represents sheer hypocrisy.

Some readers may recall the 2002 document jointly produced by the USCCB Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (under the leadership of Cardinal William Keeler) and the National Council of Synagogues entitled, “Reflections on Covenant and Mission.”

Among other highly controversial things, that document stated:

A deepening Catholic appreciation of the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people, together with a recognition of a divinely-given mission to Jews to witness to God’s faithful love, lead to the conclusion that campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church.

The publication of this document, the contents of which are being echoed in the one just issued by the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, elicited such widespread and severe backlash among Catholic prelates and theologians that the USCCB deleted it from its website within (as I recall) just a matter of days.

Among those outlets that published responses that came down rather hard on the apostasy contained in “Reflections” was none other than EWTN.

Writing for the Catholic media giant, Fr. John Paul Echert said:

From what I have read of the document, parts of it strike me as contrary to divine revelation, and I predict that it will not be approved by the Vatican, or perhaps the bishops themselves. As I understand it, this draft was put together by a committee, and it does not have approval by the body of bishops. It is an embarrassment, lacks any teaching authority, and serves to reveal the thinking of some people who hold powerful positions in the national conference. If a document such as this gains approval, as it currently stands, I will seriously consider the prospect that we are moving into one of the signs of the end times, namely, apostasy.

In 2009, the USCCB, still cognizant of the damage that had been done, even went so far as to issue a clarification (which is pathetic in its own right) entitled, “A Note on Ambiguities Contained in ‘Reflections on Covenant and Mission.’”

The entire affair was a colossal (and well-deserved) embarrassment for Cardinal Keeler.

Well, guess what?

Reflections on Covenant and Mission is once more available on the USCCB website!

So, what changed?

It’s certainly not the truth; rather, the men in charge in Rome have simply taken the propositions put forth by the Council yet another decade further toward their logical conclusion; outright apostasy. In conciliar hindsight, in other words, Cardinal Keeler was guilty of nothing more offensive than being ahead of his time!

Fr. Echert was at least partially correct in predicting that the Vatican wouldn’t approve a text so “contrary to divine revelation” as Reflections on Covenant and Mission.

What he, and perhaps none of us, could have imagined, however, is that a Pontifical Commission would issue a likewise reprehensible document of its very own some thirteen years later.

In conclusion, this entire episode, in spite of the great harm that it is causing (about which I will have more to say soon), also serves to confirm what St. Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Romans:

And we know that to them that love God all things work together unto good… (cf Romans 8:28)

In the present case, the good coming from this latest denial of Jesus Christ emanating from Rome lies in the degree to which it is exposing those who present themselves as defenders of the Faith; when in truth their labors are more properly ordered toward defending their own particular franchise.

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2 comments on “Recent document on Jews exposes neo-Catholic hypocrisy

  1. [Another neo-Catholic attempt to “square the circle”]

    Pope Francis: What is the Real Enemy?


    The approach of the highly-anticipated publication of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation that concludes the two Synods on the family may result in discussion focusing on an important topic. This topic is often overshadowed, though it is disturbing: how much has the Protestant Reformation had, and how much does it still have, an impact on the way Catholics perceive their Church?

    The topic does not deal merely with the possible effects of the Reformation on Catholic discipline. It involves the nature itself of the Church of Rome as it has been historically conceived. Through his preaching, Martin Luther questioned the sovereignty of the Holy See. He replaced de facto the notions of freedom and responsible choices with the notion of mercy, and thus considered the human being not fully responsible for his choices, that is, not free. He unchained the Church from the authority of the Pope, and replaces the authority of the Pope with the authority of princes, that is, with secular power. Lastly, he initiated a denigrating campaign against the Catholic Church that still echoes in current anti-Catholic media campaigns.

    “Martin Luther” (Siena: Cantagalli, 2015), a small book by the historian Angela Pellicciari, sheds light on the real contents of Martin Luther’s preaching and writings. Reading the book helps us to understand many of the current debates. Especially today it is important to be aware of the hidden and subtle enemy that is Protestantization.

    Since Pope Francis was elected, these topics have become the center of the media agenda set for the Pope who came from Argentina. Pope Francis’ emphasis on mercy fits, in the end, with the notion of a Church necessarily disengaged on a political level, but very much engaged on social issues. Since the Pope did not take part in the Second Vatican Council, he was considered more vulnerable to the media campaign that tends to portray the Council as a rupture in the history of the Church.

    That this was not the case has been proven by the extraordinary work of Archbishop Agostino Marchetto. Archbishop Marchetto authored three books on the history of the Second Vatican Council. The books are filled with documents that show that the Second Vatican Council was not about breaching the consistency of faith. The Council was not aiming at a different Church, with a different authority, eventually decentralized. The Council aimed at a Church able to use new language to describe the constant faith. The Pope was always the Pope; the Church was always Catholic, apostolic and Roman, Peter’s universality and authority were not to be undermined by the authorities of local bishops; priestly dignity was never put in question.

    When the “media Council” finally broke out at the end of the Second Vatican Council, the campaign tried to lead the Church toward territories that the same bishops who took part in the Council did not want to explore. After the Second Vatican Council, debate mostly focused (1) on the possibility of married priests and female priesthood, (2) on the importance of local bishops, and even on an emphasis given to bishops by eventually admitting some of the members of the Council of the Synod to the Conclave, and (3) on a change of Church doctrine on sexual morality in order to adapt it better to the spirit of the world.

    In fact, the drafting of “Humanae Vitae”, Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical on life and contraception, was characterized by a strong impact on the media. As one of the members of the drafting preparatory commission documented, the media sought to emphasize only selective viewpoints about the issues at stake, especially those more open to a possible change in sexual morality. Blessed Paul VI, a martyr of the Second Vatican Council because of his effort to preserve the unity of faith, circumvented the conclusions of the commission and reaffirmed Catholic doctrine as it was.

    Not by chance, the possibility of a “pastoral updating” of “Humanae Vitae” was circulated during the last Synod on the family. Since some of the small group discussions during the Synod were about this issue, it might appear in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation that the Pope is drafting. Even the hermeneutic of the “case by case discernment” in terms of access to sacramental Communion for the divorced and remarried was originally based on the parish priest’s application of “Humanae Vitae” in the confessional. But pastoral practice based on a wise approach in the confessional is one thing, another is the institutionalization of a break with the Church’s doctrine. This way, the unity of doctrine collapses, as doctrine would be subject to every priest’s relativistic, subjective interpretation.

    The push for subjectivity was one of Martin Luther’s arguments in his anti-Roman preaching. Angela Pellicciari writes: “With the elimination of the function of the magisterium, the denial of the priestly order, the exaltation of individual freedom and the rejection of the importance of works to achieve salvation, everyone makes his own decisions. Everyone reads the Bible and interprets it his own way, trusting in the Holy Spirit’s assistance.”

    In the end, the risk of the institutionalization of “case by case discernment” is to arrive at the “by Scripture only” (sola fide) notion that Martin Luther promoted. The priest who discerns on a case by case basis puts aside the function of the magisterium and founds his activity on his personal interpretation of the Scriptures. He wields enormous discretionary power, but it is much more a human power than one derived from God.

    In his encyclical Spe Salvi, Benedict XVI asks: “How could the idea have developed that Jesus’ message is narrowly individualistic and aimed only at each person singly? How did we arrive at this interpretation of the “salvation of the soul” as a flight from responsibility for the whole, and how did we come to conceive the Christian project as a selfish search for salvation which rejects the idea of serving others?”

    Angela Pellicciari responds: “It did so because Luther has misinterpreted as slavery to Rome the universal charism of Peter and his function in defense of the whole Church. As a consequence, “the body has been abandoned”, it seems “in favor of souls, that is, of the most interior part of each of us, which corresponds to our conscience. It is as if soul and body are set one against the other, and each of them goes on its own. As if obedience to conscience is a substitute to obedience to Peter.”

    These are still the main themes of our times. Unchaining the faithful from the authority of the Church, Luther gave to princes, the secular power, a fundamental role. He even claimed the authority of the secular power against the Pope, if the Pope makes mistakes. But the Pope’s authority, his sovereignty, is justified by the need for independence from secular power. Only this way – St. Leo the Great explained – can the Church be credible and really free.

    When Luther breaks the Church’s unity with arguments and obfuscates much of the Church’s history, he creates a fertile ground wherein anti-Catholic hatred can ferment. The theme of the “free exam” is taken up by Freemasonry that – in the name of Reason – launched the strongest attack against Catholic Church teachings, undermining, in the first place, the Church’s authority.

    After centuries, the Church’s authority has been undermined in public opinion which today endorses a poor Church that stays with the poor and is not involved in temporal issues (leaving to ‘princes’ the power to make decisions over the human being). The final aim is to undermine completely the teachings of the Church. This aim underlies many of the pressures moved toward Pope Francis to change Church teaching, or at least to be ambiguous enough in his statements to leave a space free for different interpretations.

    This is the case with the post-synodal apostolic exhortation about which there is great anticipation concerning the extent to which its interpretation will swing from one side to another. It is noteworthy that the Church in Germany was the one that pushed hardest toward an agenda of mercy, the same reality of Church at local level that felt more than any other the impact of the Protestant reform, and that more than any other feels attracted to the spirit of the world. The system of the Church Tax (the Kirchensteuer) made it a rich local reality of the Church, but also worldly. Benedict XVI pointed to this worldliness in his speeches during his second trip to his homeland in 2011. The Pope also noted that secularizing trends have been providential, as they permitted the Church to rethink itself in more spiritual terms.

    While everyone is pushing for a “more human Church”, a “more divine Church” is what is needed, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger once observed. This is the issue. The subtle enemy that is Protestantization is always current, and it is perhaps the hidden enemy that the Church must fight above all others.

    Will Pope Francis succeed in confronting it? Will he be able to go beyond the narratives that describe his as a “pontificate of rupture”, as the Second Vatican Council was considered a Council of rupture?

    For this reason, the Second Vatican Council is now pivotal. The rigorous work of Archbishop Marchetto must be carefully read. His latest publication, the diaries of Pericle Cardinal Felici, Secretary of the Council, witness the tireless efforts of this Council Father to bring the Church to unity, despite the drifts that came out during the debates. It was not an attempt to suffocate the debate, but rather an attempt to give them a continuity with the history and the doctrine of the Church.

    Looking forward to Pope Francis’ post-synodal document, these issues must be pondered. Even bishops and cardinals should do so. Pope Francis is changing the profile of bishops, and consequently that of the College of Cardinals. The Pope puts much emphasis on the local Churches; he does not want Class A and Class B dioceses any more. The upcoming Consistory (it will likely be held on February 20) should give us a clearer indication of Pope Francis’ ideas. That Consistory should be also place for a discussion about the post-synodal apostolic exhortation. Hence, we will be able to understand whether the College of Cardinals has fully understood the import of the issues at stake. The Church’s Protestantization would leave it short of defenses. The secular world could then “conquer Rome”, the accomplishment of which has always been its final goal.

  2. As usual Louie Verrecchio has nailed it.
    This document from Rome is grossly insulting to the whole fact of Our Lord Jesus Christ being the one way to Heaven, the Saviour.
    What nonsense to say that a group who reject Christ as Saviour needs no evangelising and are fine. What an insult to their chance of salvation.
    I would put this document in the class of heresy.

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