Pope: Christians cannot be anti-Semitic

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says due to “our common roots” with the Jewish people, “a Christian cannot be anti-Semitic!” Listen to Tracey McClure’s report: RealAudioMP3

The Pope was speaking to a 30 strong delegation from the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) who gathered in the Apostolic Palace’s Hall of the Popes for a private audience Monday. The IJCIC is committed to developing relations with the Vatican’s Commission on Religious Relations with the Jews, the Orthodox Christian Church, the World Council of Churches, and other international religious bodies.

en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/06/24/pope:_christians_cannot_be_anti-semitic/en1-704322

Pope Francis is absolutely right. We Catholics should never be anti-Semitic. It is wrong. I find it very sad that antisemitism has had a place in our Church’s history. I do believe that some of our past Popes have apologized for that though, haven’t they?

Agreed.

Ill go one step farther, and say to be anti-Semitic is to Reject Christ himself and there is no way to call yourself a Christian and be anti-Semitic and/or racist.

Great Job Francis :thumbsup:

The Church is not and never has been antisemitic (which I define as diminishing and discriminating against Jews as an ethnicity). Some individuals associated with the Church have had antisemitic views, but they are not views of the Church. Nonetheless, the Church has apologised for the actions committed by those individuals.

In fact, Brother JR has a very good post about how the Church has been probably the most protective of the Jews apart from the Jews themselves, if I can find it. :slight_smile:

:thumbsup: God bless Pope Francis!

It’s hard to say whether he’s referencing only “antisemitism” here, since that’s the term he used, or if he’s also referring to anti-Judaism. Obviously, he’s exceptionally learned – but “antisemitism” is often a short of shorthand (even in academic circles) for anti-Judaism. I hope he’s referring to both, as both are disgusting.

You are exactly right. The Church itself has never been antisemitic but some Catholic people have been and the Church has apologized for their actions. Unfortunately I think that some of these Catholic people who were antisemitic were high ranking like as in being Bishops or maybe even Cardinals. I am not sure on that though. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Unfortunately, there were flawed teachings throughout the years, such as the fact that for many years, many Catholics thought that it was okay to state the ugly myth that the Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death. Also, John XXIII specifically ordered the Mass revised in 1962 to take out things offensive to the Jews (such as “prayers for their conversion”). This obviously wasn’t the teachings of Jesus or what He wanted the Church to promulgate but His teachings were distorted by flawed, prejudiced people for many centuries.

Even today in certain traditionalist circles or blogs, there are certain whiffs of anti-Semitism. This is why I hope that any reconciliation with SSPX includes the group specifically denouncing anti-Semitism, acknowledging it is a sin, and accepting the truth of Nostra Aetate.

I believe you are right. I don’t remember many names from my cursory reading of the topic, but I would not surprised if some were Cardinals (do remember that Cardinals were not always bishops in the history of the Church). :slight_smile:

Flawed teachings? I believe you are thinking of individual opinions, because there is nothing in the teachings of the Church that is antisemitic. The Catholic Church has taught that Jews (and Romans) were responsible for Jesus’ death, not the Jews (or the Romans). It is simply a historical fact that Jesus was condemned to death by people who were Jews (and Romans), but it does not mean that the Jews (or Romans) as a people are collectively responsible. Nonetheless, the Church acknowledges that many individuals, in the past, have subscribed to such inaccurate views, and apologises for it.

There is nothing inherently wrong with praying for the conversion of the Jews. In fact, we should be praying for precisely that. Jesus came to redeem all, not just the Gentiles. If anything, the Jews have been integral to our tradition. Jesus was a Jew, the Apostles were Jews, the Gospel was first preached to the Jews, and so our first Christians were Jews. They have been greatly honoured in having had front-row seats to God’s great acts of compassion and mercy. As such, we must pray that they - the first of the peoples to receive the mercy of God - can continue in their tradition by recognising the Messiah promised to them in Holy Scripture and open their hearts to Christ.

If you’re thinking about the specific prayer for the conversion of the Jews, rather than the principle, it should be noted that Blessed John XXIII did not ‘revise the mass’ to combat antisemitism. His only revision to the prayer was to remove the Latin word perfidis. Unfortunately, poorly-catechised Catholics and non-Christians who have zero knowledge of Latin mistakenly believe that it calls Jews ‘perfidious’ (meaning treacherous), when it actually means ‘faithless’. This is the translation of the 1962 prayer:

Let us pray also for the Jews: that almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts; so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us pray. Let us kneel. Arise. Almighty and eternal God, who dost also not exclude from thy mercy the Jews: hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of thy Truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Do note that there is nothing that ascribes hatred toward the Jews. In fact, even the pre-1962 forms of the prayer do not do any such thing. It is simply an imploring for the Jews to find salvation in the New Testament, although the use of ‘blindness’ and ‘darkness’ is a rather unflattering description of the Jews.

Either way, it was correct of John XXIII to have it struck out, because it is pretty much an inaccurate depiction of the Jews, who are simply abiding by the faith that was given to them by their forefathers, even though they continue to ignore the New Covenant that Jesus Christ has promised to them (and us). However, ignorance of the Gospel is not unique to Jewish people. In fact, many of our fellow non-Christians continue to ignore the Gospel as well, so we are obligated to proclaim it to all of them - Jew and Gentile alike. :slight_smile:

Officially, the SSPX already denounces anti-Semitism, but like the Catholic Church of the past, there have been individuals who subscribe to such views. I’m not personally fond of the SSPX, but I do not see it as a major impediment in relations between the Holy See and the SSPX. I too hope that these individuals will recognise the error of the views. :slight_smile:

I was never taught to be anti-Semitic. None of my family ever felt that way.

I’m not sure what you mean: Are you saying Papal Bulls and Edicts making Jews wear badges marking them as Jews, or locking them in ghettos, or burning Jewish books, or denying Jews basic civil and legal rights were not anti-Semitic by your definition or are you saying that Papal Bulls and Edicts did not contain the views of the Catholic Church?

That’s a gross misunderstanding. Papal bulls are not Church teaching. They are letters that are written to communicate or implement an action under Papal authority, not to outline the beliefs of the Church. They can be abused and misused to extend the personal biases of the person pushing for that bull at that point in time, and in those times this was often the case.

I understand your frustration about these actions, and the Church is truly sorry for them. Please understand that the Church, like all large institutions, historically has had to deal with internal politicking, and these personal biases and interests often spilled over to affect others who happen to have resided under Church authority. :slight_smile:

I think you misunderstand. Papal bulls are not Church teaching. They are letters that are written to communicate or implement an action under Papal authority, not to outline the beliefs of the Church. They can be abused and misused to extend the personal biases of the person pushing for that bull at that point in time, and in those times this was often the case.

I understand your frustration about these actions, and the Church is truly sorry for them. Please understand that the Church, like all large institutions, historically has had to deal with internal politicking, and these personal biases and interests often spilled over to affect others who happen to have resided under Church authority. I must hasten to add that this does not make the actions committed against the Jews (or even the Templars) by way of papal edict acceptable, but it does provides some context behind it. :slight_smile:

Officially, the SSPX already denounces anti-Semitism, but like the Catholic Church of the past, there have been individuals who subscribe to such views. I’m not personally fond of the SSPX, but I do not see it as a major impediment in relations between the Holy See and the SSPX. I too hope that these individuals will recognise the error of the views.

I don’t think that that little reunification project is going to be pursued at all by Francis. I really don’t think he cares or will bend over backwards for them. In fact, he might view this as an addition by subtraction deal similar to when the Republican Party told Pat Buchanan to not let the door hit him on the way out.

As for the Society itself, I do get a vibe of anti-Semitism with the SSPX and some other traditionalist sites. The Anti-Defamation League has a list of all its concerns with them and it is more than just one Holocaust denier who was in the hierarchy. Even Bishop Fellay, who supposedly denounced anti-Semitism and is a “moderate,” made a speech last January that was quite concerning.

I’m not going to pre-judge Pope Francis’s intentions, but I think we can agree Pope Francis might not have had the sort of personal interest that Pope Benedict took in relations with the SSPX. However, we must remember that the relationship is still in place, and I doubt the CDF is going to let it freeze over while the opportunity is there. In any case, we’re not debating whether or not Pope Francis will pursue it, as that is something for an entirely different discussion. What I’m saying is just that antisemitism is unlikely to factor in as a major stumbling block in their relationship. :slight_smile:

I can’t deny that, pun not intended, and they’ll have to thresh out the discrepancy between what they do and say. However, I should point out that said Holocaust denier has been expelled from the society and Fellay is not a Holocaust denier, although his suspicion of the Jewish people is rather regrettable.

Shlama Amkhon! Peace be onto you!

There are Semitic Churches in full communion with Rome. My Chaldean Catholic Church, for example, is a Semitic Church, since we are descended from Shem. The Father of Israel, Abraham, was one of our people, from “Ur of the Chaldeans” (Gen. 11:31).

So if anyone despises the Semites, you end up despising your brothers and sisters in Christ.

God bless,

Rony

A fair point that is well-said. Welcome, brother! :smiley:

We commit a grave sin if we hate the Jews or blame them for Christ’s death or regard them as enemies of the Church. Anti-Semitism cannot be tolerated within the church. It wounds the body of Christ. It is cause for scandal. It has been used, even by clerics and bishops, to justify horrendous violence. It is wrong in all instances and there is no justification for it. Any anti-semitism expressed by Catholics is a cause for great shame.

We are called to love. Only God may judge.

Read the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles - especially Paul’s epistles. See the attitude of the earliest Christians. The Catholic Church and Judaism are not separate religions. There are two forms of Judaism today: Rabbinical Judaism and Catholic and Orthodox Christianity. We, too, are Jews.

I agree with you in all things but this. I would not call ourselves Jews. We are not Jews. We are Christians. Most of us are not Jewish in ethnicity, and none of us are Jewish in faith. Our faith tradition has become something greater and more wonderful than Judaism - no offense intended to our Jewish friends.

That being said, you are right in noting that we are a continuation of ancient Hellenic Judaism. The early church was externally considered to be a sect of Judaism, and the Apostles themselves considered themselves Jews, Jews who had seen and believed their Messiah. However, with the conversion of the Gentiles, the Church stopped becoming exclusively Jewish, and metamorphosed into an faith far greater than the old Judaism. So yes, our heritage is certainly Jewish, though our ethnicity and faith may not be so. Also, it is noteworthy that our heritage in ancient Hellenic Judaism is distinct from the modern Rabbinical Judaism that we encounter nowadays. As such, being not of Jewish ancestry nor of Jewish practice (as it is understood now), I would hesitate to call ourselves Jewish.

By the way, there are Jews who are Catholics - we call them Hebrew Catholics. They are the only Catholics we may also call Jews. If we called ourselves Jews we would be misappropriating the name and honour that rightfully belongs to them as descendants of the tribes of Israel. :slight_smile:

I agree with you in all things but this. I would not call ourselves Jews. We are not Jews. We are Christians. Most of us are not Jewish in ethnicity, and none of us are Jewish in faith. Our faith tradition has become something greater and more wonderful than what we normally call Judaism - no offense intended to our Jewish friends.

That being said, you are right in noting that we are a continuation of ancient Hellenic Judaism. The early church was externally considered to be a sect of Judaism, and the Apostles themselves considered themselves Jews - Jews who had seen and believed their Messiah while continuing to abide by Mosaic Law. However, with the conversion of the Gentiles, the Church stopped becoming exclusively Jewish, and metamorphosed into an faith far greater than the old Judaism. You will continue to see strong links with our Jewish heritage in the Church today, but our faith is no longer limited by the ethnocultural definition of Judaism, and therefore I would hesitate to call ourselves Jewish.

As a side note, it is also noteworthy that our heritage in ancient Hellenic Judaism is distinct from the modern Rabbinical Judaism that we encounter nowadays. We are the modern spiritual descendants of that Hellenic Judaism.

By the way, there are Jews who are Catholics - we call them Hebrew Catholics. They are the only Catholics we may also call Jews. If we called ourselves Jews we would be misappropriating the name and honour that rightfully belongs to them as descendants of the tribes of Israel. :slight_smile:

In Luke 23:34, Jesus says on the cross “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do”. In Luke 24: 27 After Jesus’ resurrection , He tells the two people on the road to Emmaus “Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory”? Jesus did not tell us to avenge His death or to blame Jews.

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