Letting a Jewish synagogue use our church

A church I attend is hosting a Jewish congregation for the month of September. I’m unclear as to why…I think it has something to do with they have outgrown the temple they are in currently and don’t have the funds to move to a larger space just yet. (I could be wrong about that though, that’s just what I seem to remember reading.)

So the church is “hosting” them during their holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The bulletin made clear that our Mass and confession schedule will not be affected by this, but the reality is they have been. During the times of the Jewish celebrations (which has amounted to, so far, 5 different days) Catholics are barred from the sanctuary, the narthex and the bathrooms. We are restricted to the Adoration Chapel only, which is where I’m assuming the church is keeping Jesus during these celebrations. Also Saturday morning confession has been cancelled to accomodate the temple congregation’s use of our church.

Anyhow…I was just wondering, is this ok for the church to do? My fiance was distressed and said that it wasn’t allowed. But then he looked up some documents online that say it is allowed under certain circumstances with the permission of the bishop. Since then, we’ve tried to locate these documents again, but we can’t seem to find them lol.

I don’t know. I’m not anti-ecumenism but I don’t like how the Christians are being restricted from use of our own church and Sacraments, even on a limited basis.

In these situations I must wonder, Would Greek Orthodox be as welcome? Oriental Orthodox? Nestorians? ELCA? SSPX?!!

Granted, I am relatively new so I am still catching up with what is allowed, what is in line with tradition, and what just makes sense (or does not). It seems that this can really send the wrong message to a parish (such as indifferentism).

It just does not make sense that a Catholic church would let any of the above (accept for SSPX) to conduct a Mass in it for the practical reason that they are not in communion with Rome. Or, that they hold significant differences with the Magisterium.

This might hurt feelings, but Judaism is not an acceptable alternative to the one true Church. Implying such only further deprives others of conversion and a relationship with Jesus Christ. I wager that Robert Novak is glad that those Catholics urged him that the Church was the true way and not just ‘another path’ :slight_smile:

I am surprised that Jews would even enter a church! Overall, i don’t like this situation.

And you know what’s kind of ironic? If one were so upset by this that they would want to go to the bishop…Well, they wouldn’t be able to. The HF dispatched our bishop to take over New Orleans. For the first time in the history of the Austin diocese we have no bishop nor an auxiliary bishop, according to the diocese’s website. :shrug:

Maybe it was the Vicar General or Administrator that permitted this.

Or you could go and complain to him.

Can. 1210 Only those things which serve the exercise or promotion of worship, piety, or religion are permitted in a sacred place; anything not consonant with the holiness of the place is forbidden. In an individual case, however, the ordinary can permit other uses which are not contrary to the holiness of the place.

Allowing the celebration of the Jewish high holy days in a Catholic Church does not violate the canon, because said exercises are not profane or take away from the holiness of the place. However, the scheduling problem should have been better planned. I don’t understand why they cancelled confessions. Why can’t they have confessions in the parish offices or some other part of the facility?

Even if you do not have a bishop, the Vatican always appoints a diocesan administrator. This can be the Chancellor, the Vicar General or some other person, even a lay person. The diocesan administrator can give permission for this use. The diocesan administrator is not an Ordinatry. Therefore, she or he, cannot do anything that requires Ordinary authority. This is not one of those situations.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Or it’s possible that our bishop gave approval for this before he left his post here. Here’s the Bishop’s Office website that sort of briefly explains the situation: austindiocese.org/dept/bishops_office/bishops_of_Austin.php

I think they’re handling it all wrong by restricting Christians access to their own church. I don’t think I will complain, but if I did I would probably complain directly to the pastor (who’s idea it was) about how all this has been handled and how some of his congregation feel about it.

The reason that you don’t have access is that you’re a gentile. The temple area must be kept completely clearn from any kind of impurity. In that regard, you’re going to have to be patient. From the looks of the article, it seems that the bishop did approve it. Therefore, there is no recourse.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

PS. I see that the Holy See has approved of a diocesan administrator and she’s a lay woman. Interesting. :slight_smile:

??? What diocese is that? Msgr Michael Mulvey is the administrator of the Austin diocese.

Canon 425 says that the diocesan administrator must be a priest.

Hey, where did you get this info JR? I didn’t see it on the link I posted. All I saw was the statement about how we don’t have a bishop or auxiliary bishop.

Also, Fr. David, where did you get the info you posted? Sorry yall, I just am not very good with the internet because I couldn’t find any of this. :blush:

I found it here


Here is a list of all the staff of the diocese of Austin

The Jews are our elder brothers. I think it is wonderful that your church is hosting them during the High Holy Days. As you said, it is a handful of days only. You can be patient during that time and certainly be praying for them–the individual members of the synagogue as well as the Jews as a people.

I agree with Mrs Sally. Allowing the use of the church was a nice gesture and the inconvienience is for such a very short time. In Austin, I am certain there are many other parishes that offer confession times.

OK, I see what’s wrong with the website. The site is not clear. When you go to the site, it has a woman’s name under adminstrator. But I clicked that and it sent me to Msgr. Mulvey’s page. I was mistaken. But the list is misleading. That’s why I used the word, “interesting.” Because I knew that canon law says the administrator must be a priest.


Thanks for the correction Father.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

I agree.

I am sorta amazed the Jews agreed to use a Catholic parish…

What it tells me is that they recognize that a catholic church is a sacred space. Otherwise, they would not have asked.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

So, they kick us out of the temple in the 60s (no, the ACTUAL 60s) and this is how we repay them?!!

Wait a minute, one can’t use the church during this time? What if one is curious and wants to go to temple?

And, I think it’s alright to do this, I mean, it is a size issue. I don’t know about you, but, in certain south western Chicago suburbs, Catholic congregations would meet in public school gyms until their church was built. This has happened multiple times in the past 20+ years.

Ah well, may they have had a Happy Roshashana and may they observe a blessed Yom Kippur. We should pray that God touches the hearts of these observant people, that they’re not just JINOs, and, while we may not agree with their conclusions, that God uses them for His Will and that they love Him and serve Him in the best way they can…and better, because, I’m not going to lie, praying for their conversion, especially on Good Friday, is the most compassionate thing we can do.

And who knows if enough people pray for them while they are in a CC some might convert:thumbsup:

I think that reaches to the heart of the issue. This ritual impurity notion is commonly brought up in the Gospels (and rebuked). It substitutes external standards in place of true ones.

Coordinating for common civil goals such as abortion or pornography laws is very good and, in my view, should be ecumenism’s focus rather than the lowest common denominator spiritual unity.

What appears to have happened is that Catholics were displaced, even if it were for a short time, for the purpose of allowing a non-Christian religious event. True enough, the church was not given for, say, a polytheistic Hindu festival - but just because Judaism is ‘closer’ does not make this good or correct.

A church should not be made unavailable for the faithful for such a reason esspecially in this time with intense attack from the enemy (i.e., that Confession was cancelled perturbs me).

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