A Remark on the Gifts and Calling of God

If one wants a learned analysis of Christian doctrine on Judaism and supersessionism, then let me suggest you head over to Fr. John Hunwicke’s singularly excellent web-log. It’s timely stuff, what with the Commission on Religious Relations with Jews issuing a polarizing new document, The Gifts and Calling of God Are Irrevocable. For those who have been living under a rock for the last 24 hours, the document — which everyone and their brother is reminding us is non-magisterial — is the clearest official expression yet of the so-called “Two Covenants” theory. As a matter of policy (which a Catholic may or may not have to abide by), the document calls for an end to institutionally evangelizing the Jewish people while suggesting strongly that Salvation can come without confessing Jesus Christ. This is not a matter of drawing up exceptions for those suffering from “invincible ignorance,” mind you. This about doing an end-run around one the core tenets of the Apostolic Faith.

Now, some may say, in solidarity with the document, that the Jews “are different” for God gave them the Law and the Prophets; but Judaism rejects the One who came in fulfillment of the Scriptures. It would be wrong, nay, insulting to tell a devout Jew that his path is “ok” because mine, too, is “ok.” If he had a shred of self-respect, he would reject such a claim out of hand as gross. By the lights of a devout Jews, Christianity is an abomination for it is (allegedly) overrun with idolatry, impiety, and ignorance. The Christian believes, much to the horror of the orthodox Jew, in the Incarnation. Jesus, by Christian lights, is the Christ. He’s not simply a “nice guy” with some “good ideas.” How arrogant of the Vatican to try and whitewash over what devout Jews actually believe about Christianity by acting as if two religions with fundamentally opposed answers to the most important question in human history (“What think ye of Christ?”) are somehow capable of being equally true and existing in harmony with one another. St. Justin Martyr must be rolling over in his reliquary as St. Romanos the Melodist composes a lamentation in the Heavens.

The conservative Catholic establishment is trying to do some damage control here. They are stressing to all who would listen that this new document is not magisterial. Ok. But so what? The fact of the matter is that The Gifts and Calling of God will be treated by the vast majority of Catholics as quasi-magisterial in much the same way as some well-intentioned (though mistaken) Catholics believe the so-called “Balamand Statement” means that Catholics should never proselytize the Eastern Orthodox. Moreover, faithful Catholics are kidding themselves if they believe this statement is not the first (loud) step toward another doctrinal revolution, one which will attempt to relativize Christianity and the Catholic Faith while opening the door further to the false belief that there are “multiple pathways” into Paradise. Today it starts with Judaism; tomorrow it will be Islam, and so on and so forth.

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15 comments

        1. Well, Patrick and Gabriel, you both stated it well. This nonsense with the Jews has got to stop, one way or another!

  1. I’m not sure you are accurately reflecting the scope of what “what devout Jews actually believe about Christianity”. My experience is they pay almost no attention to what other religions believe, even a religion as close and ‘schismatic’ or ‘heretical’ to it as Christianity. As the people of God, the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they are called to live according to Torah, and there is no resulting condemnation for others living according to their religion. As long as others follow the Noahide commandments, they are good.

    I could ask either the cantor of a very large, very liberal Reformed congregation out West on one hand or a Lubavitcher friend on the other if you’d like more. I’m assuming one can find just about any view from at least some Jews, now or in history, as you can among Christians.

  2. It would appear in some ways that the walls between official Rome and official Anglicanism are becoming thinner and thinner. Of course, there are those who would most certainly consider this a good thing.

    1. Since Jews are the flavour of the month in Rome, I thought it might be apt to quote Jacob Bronowski who said that the arrow of time points always in the direction of diminishing difference. That is a wonderful thing to have said.

  3. How heretical must the papacy become before the average man in the pew realizes there is no justification for for its existence? Must he deny the Virgin Birth, the Divinity of Christ or the existence of God?

    1. I am not sure the heresy of one pope will ever be enough to draw the conclusion that “there is no justification for its existence.” I am inclined to believe there is no justification for Francis continuing to sit on the throne, but that’s another matter.

          1. My fear is that he will hold on for as long as possible,and more importantly fill the college of cardinals with men who think just like him; electing a next Pope who will make him seem almost Catholic in comparison. And because of the development of Papalotry in the last few centuries, there is no mechanism to stop it.

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