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Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

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Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Catholic_Truth on Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:48 pm

Church should not pursue conversion of Jews, Benedict XVI says
by John L Allen Jr on Mar. 10, 2011
National Catholic Reporter

http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/church-should-not-pursue-conversion-jews-pope-says

So whats your thoughts on this ? Is not Benedict rejecting the dogmatic teaching of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus ? Can someone reject a dogma of the Church and still be Catholic ? Can a nonCatholic be the visible head of the Catholic Church ?
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  columba on Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:00 pm

The whole thing about popes writing books but not in their capacity as Pope but rather as private theologians is a bit troublesome. It's difficult to seperate a Pope from his writings even when he says he isn't acting as Pope at the time.

St Vincent Ferrer converted something like 30,000 Jews in a couple of sermons.
He obviously didn't realize that this wasn't necessary.
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Elisa on Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:52 am

Didn’t the Pope’s book just come out today? So did you already read it or did you just take someone’s word for the Pope actually teaching such a thing?

I don’t particularly like John Allen and the National Catholic Reporter is a liberal rag and should never be confused with the National Catholic Register, which is a very good newspaper, recently purchased by EWTN.

You are quick to believe the unorthodox spin in this liberal newspaper, that is singling out ONE SENTENCE that the Pope QUOTES FROM SOMEONE ELSE.

If you believe that Pope Benedict doesn’t think we should evangelize and try to convert individual Jews, even large numbers of them, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

I’ve read enough of the Pope’s writings to I feel confident that when I read the whole section in context it will be referring to what the Church has always believed - that the Jewish people as a whole will be converted at the end times, as a sign of His Second Coming. That Catholic theologians have interpreted Scripture (since the earliest days of the Church) to say that the Jewish nation will be converted in it’s “proper time,” meaning after the whole world of Gentiles is converted, then the Jewish nation will be collectively converted.

Luke 21:28:
“Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Prophesying the destruction of the Temple and the fate of the Jews after that until the end of the world, when all the Gentiles are converted to Christ.)

Luke 13:34-35:
“"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling!
Behold, your house will be abandoned. (But) I tell you, you will not see me until (the time comes when) you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

Romans 11:25-29:
“I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers, so that you will not become wise (in) your own estimation: a hardening has come upon Israel in part, until the full number of the Gentiles comes in,
and thus all Israel will be saved
, as it is written: "The deliverer will come out of Zion, he will turn away godlessness from Jacob;
and this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."
In respect to the gospel, they are enemies on your account; but in respect to election, they are beloved because of the patriarchs.
For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.”


Note: When talking about all the Gentiles or the Jewish nation being converted, the Church does not mean every single last individual in those categories.

This is prophesy. This is accepted Catholic teaching. This is not new, but ancient Catholic theology. I will post some quotes after this.

The Church recognizes that God will take care of the Jewish nation collectively and has a plan for them. So we trust in God’s plan[/.

This is NOT saying that we should not try and convert or evangelize to INDIVIDUAL Jews, as we do with every other nonChristian today. Even large numbers of them. It is saying that we should not lament that all of Judaism did not convert in the time of Christ and that Israel is not now a Christian nation. God knew it would happen this way and told us that one day the Jewish people as a whole would accept Him.

Until that day, we do not expect them to convert en masse to Christianity. We pray that a huge amount of them convert individually now (like the 30,000 mentioned.) But we do not target the Jewish people collectively any differently than we would convert the Hindus or Moslems or atheists. We don’t target specific nations collectively in a planned and organized way. We evangelize to all nonbelievers. Because we want them all to convert to Christ and be saved individually in large numbers.

While it is tempting to desire that all Jews convert in a priority before Hindus or Moslems because of a tenderness of heart we may have for Israel of old being the cradle of Our Lord, He Himself has not forgotten them as a whole people and has a plan for them before the end.

We do NOT believe that there is a separate salvation plan for the Jews, a separate still valid covenant, whereby they are saved without explicit belief in Christ. If some are in any way invincibly ignorant right now, that must change to explicit faith at some point before entry into Heaven, by the grace and judgment of God alone. But never without faith in Christ.

I will guarantee you that the Pope does not believe error or informally teach error in his book.



Last edited by Elisa on Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:58 am; edited 3 times in total
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Elisa on Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:53 am

These are some quotes from this link, but the link has more I did not post:

http://www.salvationisfromthejews.com/endtimes.html

St. Augustine:
City of God XX.29:

Chapter 29.-Of the Coming of Elias Before the Judgment, that the Jews May Be Converted to Christ by His Preaching and Explanation of Scripture.

After admonishing them to give heed to the law of Moses, as he foresaw that for a long time to come they would not understand it spiritually and rightly, he went on to say, "And, behold, I will send to you Elias the Tishbite before the great and signal day of the Lord come: and he shall turn the heart of the father to the son, and the heart of a man to his next of kin, lest I come and utterly smite the earth." It is a familiar theme in the conversation and heart of the faithful, that in the last days before the judgment the Jews shall believe in the true Christ, that is, our Christ, by means of this great and admirable prophet Elias who shall expound the law to them. For not without reason do we hope that before the coming of our Judge and Saviour Elias shall come, because we have good reason to believe that he is now alive; for, as Scripture most distinctly informs us, he was taken up from this life in a chariot of fire. When, therefore, he is come, he shall give a spiritual explanation of the law which the Jews at present understand carnally, and shall thus "turn the heart of the father to the son," that is, the heart of fathers to their children; for the Septuagint translators have frequently put the singular for the plural number. And the meaning is, that the sons, that is, the Jews, shall understand the law as the fathers, that is, the prophets, and among them Moses himself, understood it. For the heart of the fathers shall be turned to their children when the children understand the law as their fathers did; and the heart of the children shall be turned to their fathers when they have the same sentiments as the fathers. The Septuagint used the expression, "and the heart of a man to his next of kin," because fathers and children are eminently neighbors to one another. Another and a preferable sense can be found in the words of the Septuagint translators, who have translated Scripture with an eye to prophecy, the sense, viz., that Elias shall turn the heart of God the Father to the Son, not certainly as if he should bring about this love of the Father for the Son, but meaning that he should make it known, and that the Jews also, who had previously hated, should then love the Son who is our Christ. For so far as regards the Jews, God has His heart turned away from our Christ, this being their conception about God and Christ. But in their case the heart of God shall be turned to the Son when they themselves shall turn in heart, and learn the love of the Father towards the Son.

On the Psalms (Ps. LXXIV, para 10) (NPNF, Vol 8, pages 345-346) cites the account of Moses' hand turning white with leprosy and then being restored to health as a prefigurement of the restoration of Israel after its initial rejection of Christ.

On the Psalms (Ps. LXXXIX, para 35) (NPNF, Vol 8,pages 438-439): "After these stern penalties which have been recorded as having been inflicted upon this people and kingdom (Israel), that God might not be supposed to have fulfilled His promises in it, and so not to grant another kingdom in Christ, of which kingdom there shall be no end, the prophet addresses Him in these words, 'Lord, how long wilt Thou hid Thyself unto the end?' (v 46). For possibly it was not from them and to the end; because 'blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Genitles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved.' but in the mean while 'shall Thy wrath burn like fire.'"


St. Jerome, Comm. to the Song of Songs, Homily 1:
"Their sins occasioned the salvation of the Gentiles and again the incredulity of the Gentiles will occasion the conversion of Israel. You will find both in the Apostle (St. Paul)."


St. John Chrysostom:
Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew HOMILY LVII:

For the Scriptures speak of two advents of Christ, both this that is past, and that which is to come; and declaring these Paul said, "The grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared, teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, and righteously, and godly."Behold the one, hear how he declares the other also; for having said these things, he added, "Looking for the blessed hope and appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ."And the prophets too mention both; of the one, however, that is, of the second, they say Elias will be the forerunner. For of the first, John was forerunner; whom Christ called also Elias, not because he was Elias, but because he was fulfilling the ministry of that prophet. For as the one shall be forerunner of the second advent, so was the other too of the first. But the Scribes, confusing these things and perverting the people, made mention of that other only to the people, the second advent, and said, "If this man is the Christ, Elias ought to have come beforehand." Therefore the disciples too speak as follows, "How then say the Scribes, Elias must first come ?" Therefore also the Pharisees sent unto John, and asked him, "Art thou Elias?"making no mention anywhere of the former advent. What then is the solution, which Christ alleged? "Elias indeed cometh then, before my second advent; and now too is Elias come;" so calling John. In this sense Elias is come: but if thou wouldest seek the Tishbite, he is coming. Wherefore also He said, "Elias truly cometh, and shall restore all things."All what things? Such as the Prophet Malachi spake of; for "I will send you," saith He, "Elias the Tishbite, who shall restore the heart of father to son, lest I come and utterly smite the earth." Seest thou the accuracy of prophetical language? how, because Christ called John, Elias, by reasoning of their community of office, lest thou shouldest suppose this to be the meaning of the prophet too in this place, He added His country also, saying, "the Tishbite;"whereas John was not a Tishbite. And herewith He sets down another sign also, saying, "Lest I come and utterly smite the earth," signifying His second and dreadful advent. For in the first He came not to smite the earth. For, "I came not," saith He, "to judge the world, but to save the world." To show therefore that the Tishbite comes before that other advent, which hath the judgment, He said this. And the reason too of his coming He teaches withal. And what is this reason? That when He is come, he may persuade the Jews to believe in Christ, and that they may not all utterly perish at His coming. Wherefore He too, guiding them on to that remembrance, saith, "And he shall restore all things;" that is, shall correct the unbelief of the Jews that are then in being. Hence the extreme accuracy of his expression; in that he said not, "He will restore the heart of the son to the father," but "of the father to the son."For the Jews being fathers of the apostles, his meaning is, that he will restore to the doctrines of their sons, that is, of the apostles, the hearts of the fathers, that is, the Jewish people's mind. "But I say unto you, that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of Man suffer of them. Then they understood that He spake to them of John." And yet neither the Scribes said this, nor the Scriptures; but because now they were sharper and more attentive to His sayings, they quickly caught His meaning. And whence did the disciples know this? He had already told them, "He is Elias, which was for to come;"but here, that he hath come; and again, that "Elias cometh and will restore all things." But be not thou troubled, nor imagine that His statement wavers, though at one time He said, "he will come," at another, "he hath come." For all these things are true. Since when He saith, "Elias indeed cometh, and will restore all things," He means Elias himself, and the conversion of the Jews which is then to take place; but when He saith, "Which was for to come," He calls John, Elias, with regard to the manner of his administration. Yea, and so the prophets used to call every one of their approved kings, David; and the Jews, "rulers of Sodom,"and "sons of Ethiopians;" because of their ways. For as the other shall be forerunner of the second advent, so was this of the first.

Pope St. Gregory the Great:
Moralia in Iob (Preface, X, 20):
"After the loss of Job's possessions, after all his bereavements, after all the suffering of his wounds, after all his angry debates, it is good that he is consoled by twofold repayment. In just this way does the holy church, while it is still in this world, receive twofold reward for the trials it sustains, when all the gentile nations have been brought into its midst, at the end of time, and the church converts even the hearts of the Jews to its cause. Thus it is written, 'Until the fulness of nations enters and so all Israel is saved.'"

St. Thomas Aquinas in Commentary on Epistle to the Romans:
"The blindness of the Jews will endure until the fullness of the gentiles have accepted the faith. And this is in accord with what the Apostle says below about the salvation of the Jews, namely, that after the fullness of the nations have entered, 'all Israel will be saved', not individually as at present, but universally." ...

"What, I say, will such an admission effectuate, if not that it bring the Gentiles back to life? The Gentiles would be the believers whose faith has grown cold, or even that the totality, deceived by the Antichrist, fall and are restored to their pristine fervor by the admission of the Jews."

St. Robert Bellarmine in De Summo Pontifice (I, 3):
"the coming of Enoch and Elias, who live even now and shall live until they come to oppose Antichrist himself, and to preserve the elect in the faith of Christ, and in the end shall convert the Jews, and it is certain that this is not yet fulfilled."

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Elisa on Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:10 am

Acts 1:4-9:
“While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for "the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit."
When they had gathered together they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
He answered them, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.”

St. Luke (who wrote both books) puts it slightly different at the end of his Gospel:
“repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”


This discussion reminded me of something interesting from my Bible study this week.

Jeff Cavins (The Great Adventure Catholic Bible Study) was explaining how the Apostles obeyed Our Lord perfectly. They waited in Jerusalem until Pentecost. Then they evangelized and spread Christianity in the same order Jesus foretold.

First for 2 years in Jerusalem, then for in Judea and Samaria and finally to the whole world.
Acts of the Apostles is divided into those 3 sections.
Chapters 1-8 (Jerusalem - 2 years)
Chapters 8-15 (Judea and Samaria – 10 years)
Chapters 16 to 28 (Middle East, Europe and Asia – 17 years till the end of Acts)

Very interesting. And please note what Jesus says. That God has established seasons “by his own authority” that concern the future of Israel. And St. Paul in Romans says they are still “beloved because of the Patriarchs.” Not forgotten, but collectively beloved.

Good night, all.
God bless you.
Love,
Elisa
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Guest on Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:50 am

It is troubling but I agree with Elisa I would like to wait till more info comes out. And As Columba pointed-out, he isn't writing as "pope" but as a theologian.

wir werden sehen

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Lourdes on Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:00 pm

Forgive me, as I don't know how to write this without sounding angry...which I am.

Since when does a pope write books as a private theologian?

Don't we have enough confusion and division in the church without the popes contributing to it? Benedict XVI is not a stupid man. He has to know what he is doing every time he speaks and/or writes as a private theologian.

The same thing happened with the condom issue. What Pope Benedict should have answered was what the Church teaches, not what he personally thinks.

And it doesn't matter that he writes that none of this is binding. John Paul II said the same thing about the "Luminous Mysteries" and we all know how that ended up with the traditional Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary relegated to the same dark hole as the Third Secret of Fatima.

Every single time something like this happens, the Church loses souls to independent chapels. It doesn't matter if it is only a handful, they are souls precious in the sight of Our Lord and they cost Him a great deal.



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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Guest on Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:19 pm

I bought the book, and will read it soon. My gut reaction is to look it and decipher the context; but I'm going to just read the book straight through to get a fuller expression of his meaning.

I do think though, that living in the modern age we do, that Popes (and bishops, etc.) need to be very careful about what they publish and when they publish anything. The condom comments should not have happened in that setting... publishers also need to be aware of the excerpts they release and the impression they will give. Stirring the pot for media attention ought to be avoided.

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  simple Faith on Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:43 pm

Well done Elisha for bringing some balance to the thread before some fall, once again, into despair by focusing only on attention grapping headlines.
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Missouri Mark on Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:43 pm

Catholics should be concerned about "this Jew" and "this Moslem" and "this non-believer" and "this Protestant." Jesus said to the Jews, "If you do not believe that I am he, you shall die in your sins." The Pope has no authority to change the Church's mandate from Christ "to teach all nations" and "preach the gospel to every creature." Is not one Jewish convert of inestimable worth? RIGHT NOW!? In this present time? I think that Alphonse Ratisbone and Edith Stein and Ven Joseph Libermann would beg to differ with this uncaring attitude. It almost seems to say "Leave the Jews alone, let God take care of them, en masse, in His own time." This is wrong. What about "in the meantime?"

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Guest on Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:38 am

oops wrong thread can't delete

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Roguejim on Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:25 am

For what it's worth, I asked Fr. Harrison, Robert Sungenis, and the St. Benedict Center whether the Holy Father's view on the evangelization of the Jews was consistent with the perennial teaching of the Church. All three answered with "No", one person going so far as to call the Pope's views "heretical". The crisis continues.
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  columba on Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:44 pm

Roguejim wrote:
For what it's worth, I asked Fr. Harrison, Robert Sungenis, and the St. Benedict Center whether the Holy Father's view on the evangelization of the Jews was consistent with the perennial teaching of the Church. All three answered with "No", one person going so far as to call the Pope's views "heretical". The crisis continues.

It will probably boil down to opinions again and no one will be able to say definitively if this is heresy or not.
Those who say that a Pope cannot err (even in a private capacity) will somehow manage to make this "no converting the Jews" statement fit (awkwardly) with the traditional understanding concerning evangelization.
Do you have a personal opinion on the subject Jim? Wink
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Roguejim on Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:16 pm

My opinion is expressed in this email to Fr. Harrison:

"Dear Father,

One likes to give the Holy Father the benefit of the doubt, when possible. I'm not sure it's possible in this case. Some of what he said is true; some appears to be heretical. The sedevacantists drool while the crisis continues...

Jim

Fr. Harrison's response:

"You're right - unfortunately!"
BH


Robert Sungenis is writing an article on this for Culture Wars. Unfortunately, it will cost $39 to read it, i.e., the cost of a subscription. Maybe he will include it somewhere on his own site.
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  MRyan on Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:38 pm

Elisa wrote:
I will guarantee you that the Pope does not believe error or informally teach error in his book.
Sorry Elisa, while you can assure us that the Pope will not lose the Faith, you can make no such guarantee that he has not taught error as a private theologian. I've seen nothing from the cited texts that would not lead me to believe that the private theologian (who is also the Vicar of Christ) is once again causing great confusion with a reprehensible form of double-speak where on the one hand he is not opposed to individual conversions, while on the other the Jews should not be targeted for conversion.

In fact, these are some of the most despairing comments I have ever read that would seem to leave the salvation of the Jews to some eschatological mass conversion which ultimately leaves them in the here and now deprived of the grace of salvation; or, it assumes that the Jews have a legitimate path to salvation in their own religion.

Neither interpretation is acceptable. What and where is the alternative or contextual explanation for these remarks?

When he is said to have "rejected" the view that "God’s covenant with the Jews endures, even after the establishment of the New Covenant", how can he then say that "Christians should 'wait for the time fixed for this by God' rather than attempting to convert the Jewish people."?

Did he really say that? Did he really say this: "Pope Benedict XVI writes that Catholics should not seek the incorporation of the Jewish people into the Church."?

Did he say these things; or didn't he; and if he did, what kind of "context" can justify such remarks?

Finally, Elisa, I think you protesteth too much by rushing to post a bunch of stuff on the end times conversion of the Jews, as if that has anything to do with the Church's divine mission to seek their conversion in the here and now.

Is the acceptable time of their conversion long past? Is the Church's divine mission restricted, as the Pope is reported to have said, to the gentiles, thus leaving the Jews in a sort of hellish "limbo" (and damnation) until the end times?

I fail to see the "charity" in such a conflicting and despairing sentiment.

It would seem that the liberal elements of the Church, to include the private theologian Pope Benedict XVI (doesn't he know that the public cannot and will not differentiate his roles?), in their attempt to justify the current policy of non-direct preaching of the Gospel to the Jews (non-proselytisation), are dangerously close to denying the Church's divine mission.

I admire your reflexive defense, Elisa, but I am not so optimistic.

If this is just one more mind-numbing cross to bear and one more "gotcha" in the arsenal of the sede camps, so be it.

I'll be waiting for an "explanation" that puts his words into "context" (the book is out there, where are the "explanations"?); but I'm not holding my breadth.

I pray that I am wrong, but I see nothing positive about these statements whatsoever.

Perhaps, however, the fallout will be so bad that the Church will be forced to offer an "official clarification" to the Pope's remarks (as private theologian) by reasserting her divine mission and mandate to preach the Gospel to all men without exception -- for salvation can be found only within our Lord's Mystical Body - the Church.

Wishful thinking? Perhaps.

Pray for the pope.
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Elisa on Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:20 pm

excerpts from MRyan:
the Jews should not be targeted for conversion. . . .

to leave the salvation of the Jews to some eschatological mass conversion which ultimately leaves them in the here and now deprived of the grace of salvation; or, it assumes that the Jews have a legitimate path to salvation in their own religion . . .

how can he then say that "Christians should 'wait for the time fixed for this by God' rather than attempting to convert the Jewish people." . . .

Did he really say that? Did he really say this: "Pope Benedict XVI writes that Catholics should not seek the incorporation of the Jewish people into the Church."? . . .

Did he say these things; or didn't he . . .

Is the Church's divine mission restricted, as the Pope is reported to have said, to the gentiles, thus leaving the Jews in a sort of hellish "limbo" (and damnation) until the end times?


“Did he really say that?” That’s my point. I don’t think he did say them.

There is a difference between the Pope saying those things and John Allen saying that the Pope said those things, with no quotes of the Pope saying them.

Only one quote from the Pope on this topic is quoted in the whole article:
“Israel is in the hands of God, who will save it ‘as a whole’ at the proper time, when the number of Gentiles is full,”

(A statement reiterated for centuries by the Church.)

And the Pope quotes Hildegard Brem, whose quote is: “The church must not concern herself with the conversion of the Jews, since she must wait for the time fixed for this by God.”

John Allen says the Pope also “quotes St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s advice to one of his predecessors, Pope Eugene III, that ‘a determined time has been fixed’ for the conversion of the Jews ‘that cannot be anticipated.’”

That is it. That’s the extent of the Pope’s quotes on this topic in the article and we do not see them in context.

Again, I think the Pope is probably talking about the official Church being concerned with the conversion of the Jewish people as a whole right now, the Jewish nation. Not talking about individual Jews converting right now, even in large numbers.

That’s why I posted traditional Catholic teaching on the conversion of Jews as a whole at the end of time. Because I will bet that is precisely what the Pope is reiterating.


Like I said before, I think the Pope is talking about the Church officially concerning herself with the conversion of all the Jews with a priority over the conversion of Hindus, pagans, Muslims, atheists, etc, or in a way that differentiates their conversion from the conversion of other nonbelievers. He is probably talking about setting the Jews apart from other nonbelievers, because they had the Old Covenant that was fulfilled in Christ, who came from the Jewish nation. Because feeling a mission to set them apart from other nonbelievers for a group conversion did not always end well in centuries past, even with good intentions.

That’s my guess. I think his CLEAR words were probably distorted. If I find out I’m wrong after reading the whole chapter in context, I will apologize. But past experience for a couple decades with newspapers and the Pope tells me otherwise. It wasn’t a “reflexive defense.” It was thought out and for a reason.

We have not seen these 3 sentences in context yet. Maybe Marian has read it already and she can tell us. Might it be ambiguous when we read it? Maybe. I hope not. But this Pope is usually clear and I’ve seen his words twisted in the media even when he is clear.

I have read enough of what this Pope has written or said in the last 10-15 years to be confident that, not only does he not believe heresy, but even as a private theologian he has not written heresy. Not because of any charism for a Pope, but because I’ve read this man. (Not talking about things he wrote decades ago.)

I’ll tell you what I have seen over the last decade, especially with things that this Pope has said. Articles from secular and liberal Catholic papers who take things that the Pope and “the Vatican” have said and twist them to sensationalize things and make it seem like the Church or Pope is now teaching something else, something liberal.

Time and again, a couple weeks later when the full story emerges, the writer got it wrong. Even when the Pope is not being ambiguous, but clear. They spin things and distort.

To be honest, I don’t think Pope Benedict has been ambiguous as Pope. Yes, past statements out of Rome have been ambiguous, even Pope John Paul, who I liked, had his moments. And Vatican II things have been ambiguous. But not Pope Benedict. If you read or listen to his statements, and not quotes here and there, he is always clear and orthodox. It is not his fault that his words are distorted. Including the “condom” uproar. The Pope was clear in what he said and has on multiple occasions been criticized by society for continuing to reject condom use in AIDs infected counties in Africa. But they still twist his words and run with it.

No one is perfect and neither is Pope Benedict, but without reading it for myself, I refuse to attribute heretical statements to a Pope who has never, even ambiguously, implied heresy.

I could be wrong this time. Maybe he is saying heretical things or things that any honest reader would think sounds heretical. If that is the case, I will be quick to apologize for my defense.

But until that time comes when I get the chance to read the book (after April 15th lol too much work lately), I will wait and see before I take some liberal newspaper’s opinion for fact. (or take as fact any sede leaning person’s opinion who hasn’t read the book)

Again, if after reading it for myself if find I’m wrong, I will apologize. Hope you understand my point, my friend. You know I love you to piece. lol

God bless you and your family and thank you for all your posts here.
God bless everyone here.
Love,
Elisa
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Missouri Mark on Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:51 pm

Check this out

Pope Benedict admits Christians efforts to convert the Jews have been ‘a horrifying misunderstanding’.
By Deacon Nick, on March 11th, 2011

here is a link to that, http://protectthepope.com/?p=2679

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Lourdes on Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:42 pm

Roguejim wrote:For what it's worth, I asked Fr. Harrison, Robert Sungenis, and the St. Benedict Center whether the Holy Father's view on the evangelization of the Jews was consistent with the perennial teaching of the Church. All three answered with "No", one person going so far as to call the Pope's views "heretical". The crisis continues.


Rogue Jim, thanks. That is all I needed to know.

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  simple Faith on Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:38 pm

Had Fr. Harrison, Robert Sungenis, and the St. Benedict Center read the book before giving their opinions, especially if one of them would consider it 'heretical'? or are they like a lot of others rushing to condemnation on the basis of a quote of a partial phrase form an entire book?
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Lourdes on Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:41 pm

simple Faith wrote:Had Fr. Harrison, Robert Sungenis, and the St. Benedict Center read the book before giving their opinions, especially if one of them would consider it 'heretical'? or are they like a lot of others rushing to condemnation on the basis of a quote of a partial phrase form an entire book?


If you knew who they were, you would know that they have too much integrity to do something like that.

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  simple Faith on Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:57 pm

Well then maybe you could explain to me why these individuals are so special or privileged that they would apparently refuse to read the writings of their Pope but yet would so quickly condemn him.
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Lourdes on Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:57 pm

simple Faith wrote:Well then maybe you could explain to me why these individuals are so special or privileged that they would apparently refuse to read the writings of their Pope but yet would so quickly condemn him.

Did someone here write that they refused to read the writings of their Pope?

Somehow, I can't see Fr. Brian Harrison or Brother Andre Marie doing something like that.



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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  simple Faith on Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:22 pm

OK maybe got our wires crossed. So to what do you refer when you state, "they have too much integrity to do something like that" when I asked if thet had read the book before they commented on it?
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Lourdes on Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:30 pm

You wrote:


simple Faith wrote:Had Fr. Harrison, Robert Sungenis, and the St. Benedict Center read the book before giving their opinions, especially if one of them would consider it 'heretical'? or are they like a lot of others rushing to condemnation on the basis of a quote of a partial phrase form an entire book?

insinuating that these these individuals were just irresponsibly shooting off their mouths without reading the book, to which I replied that they have too much integrity to do something like that.


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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  columba on Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:55 pm

From the link posted by Missouri Mark above (which appears to be an NO site) there seems to be no contention that Pope Benedict (though not acting as Pope) does in fact hold the view that Jews should not be targeted for Prosetylization.

We're all waiting on MarianLibrarian for confirmation on this.
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  simple Faith on Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:34 pm

So Lourdes, you are certain that all these individuals have read the book? or are you just assuming they have because of their 'integrity'? At least one of them certainly doesn't have much "integrity" when he refers to the Holy Father as a heretic.
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Lourdes on Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:57 pm

simple Faith wrote:So Lourdes, you are certain that all these individuals have read the book? or are you just assuming they have because of their 'integrity'? At least one of them certainly doesn't have much "integrity" when he refers to the Holy Father as a heretic.

Don't talk to me about assumptions. Your posts are full of them.

You remind me of a a bitter ex-sede that has gone overboard in the other direction.

This is my last response to you, and I will not answer you anymore.




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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  simple Faith on Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:19 pm

Lourdes, maybe you should not come on a discussion forum if you are not prepared to debate with different points of view or back up your snide remarks with some evidence. Also it is not the first time you have made the wrong 'assumption' that I am a 'bitter ex-sede' (seems to me you just might be irritated by Catholics who actually accept the Pope as the TRUE head of the Church). I could make a few calculated guesses regarding your background but I'll not go off on that tangent. Whether or not you respond to my future posts does not really concern me but that does not mean I will not respond to yours.
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  MRyan on Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:33 pm

Wow. The “fight” has already begun.

This is one "debate" where cooler heads should prevail until more information is forthcoming.

But let's clear the air about a critical point. To call the Pope's views (as a private theologian) "heretical" is not the same thing as referring “to the Holy Father as a heretic.”

There were several popes who said heretical things, but were not heretics. To be labeled a heretic always presumes pertinacity (a refusal to listen to the Church) in denying a revealed or defined truth.

On the one hand, if they were only commenting on what has been presented by way of the Catholic media, I really don't need anyone to post the off-handed opinions of the St. Benedict Center, Fr. Harrison or Robert Sungensis – we're all reading the same thing and can form our own opinions.

However, if Sungenis, for example, is writing an article on the subject book and makes the case that the pope holds a heretical view … let's see the evidence for this opinion.

Besides, Roguejim is a trouble-maker; always has been. Shocked

Man, I'm in trouble now.
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  columba on Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:01 pm

Simple faith, you assume the three sources who commented haven't read the book and Lourdes assumes they have.
From what I've read from these sources I've never found them commenting on things they haven't studied so I would go with Lourdes assumption on this one.

BTW, no one has accused the Pope of anything; he's accused some private theologian saying something heretical. Would be interersting though to know if the Pope thinks this is heresy. Shocked
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  columba on Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:07 pm

PS. I'm thinking, could Pope Benedict be using his books to state things that he couldn't otherwise say in his capacity as Roman Pontiff.
It seems everytime he writes a book, controversy abounds.
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  columba on Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:28 pm

PPS... I've just noticed that on the front cover of the book the authors name is given as Joseph Ratzinger (in small font) and Pope Benedict XVI in very large font.
So who is the author? The mystery deepens.
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Guest on Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:43 pm

columba wrote:We're all waiting on MarianLibrarian for confirmation on this.
Oh, come on! Does no one else on this forum READ?! No

I have read the part in question (it's actually very near the beginning), and it is short. The more contentious parts are the quotes used... since it is relatively short, I will type it up in a few minutes (gotta grab a bite for dinner).

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  columba on Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:00 pm

MarianLibrarian wrote:
Oh, come on! Does no one else on this forum READ?! No

We are all cheap-skates. Much too miserable to spend the money on the book. Embarassed
And buying the book might be aiding and abetting heresy.
Have you no conscience at all ML? Laughing
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Guest on Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:23 pm

Jesus of Nazareth, CH. 2 Jesus' Eschatological Discourses, II. The Times of the Gentiles
A superficial reading or hearing of Jesus' eschatological discourse would give the impression that Jesus linked the end of Jerusalem chronologically to the end of the world, especially when we read in Matthew: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened...; then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven..." (24:29-30). This direct chronological connection between the end of Jerusalem and the end of the whole world seems to be further confirmed when we come across these words a few verses later: "Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all these things take place..." (24:34).
On first glance, it seems that Luke was the only one to downplay this connection. In his account we read: "They will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (21:24). Between the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world, "the times of the Gentiles" are here inserted. Luke has been accused of thereby shifting the temporal axis of the Gospels and of Jesus' original message, recasting the end of time as the intermediate time and, thus, inventing the time of the Church as a new phase of salvation history. But if we look closely, we that these "times of the Gentiles" are also foretold, in different terms and at a different point, in the versions of Jesus' discourse recounted by Matthew and Mark.
Matthew quotes the following saying of Jesus: "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come" (24:14). And in Mark we read: "The gospel must first be preached to all nations" (13:10).
We see at once how much care is needed when making connections within this discourse of Jesus; the text is woven together from individual strands of tradition that do not present a straightforward linear argument but must, as it were, be read in the light of one another. In the third section of this chapter ("Prophecy and Apocalyptic"), we will look in more detail at this redactional question, which is of great significance for a correct understanding of the text.
From the content, it is clear that all three Synoptic Gospels recognize a time of the Gentiles: the end of time can come only when the Gospel has been brought to all peoples. The time of the Gentiles-- the time of the Church made up of all the peoples of the world-- is not an invention of Saint Luke: it is the common patrimony of all the Gospels.

At this point we encounter once again the connection between the Gospel tradition and the basic elements of Pauline theology. If Jesus says in the eschatological discourse that the Gospel must first be proclaimed to the Gentiles and only then can the end come, we find exactly the same things in Paul's Letter to the Romans: "A hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved" (11:25-26). The full number of the Gentiles and all Israel: in this formula we see the universalism of the divine salvific will. For our purposes, though, the important point is that Paul, too, recognizes an age of the Gentiles, which is the present and which must be fulfilled if God's plan is to attain its goal.
The fact that the early Church was unable to assess the chronological duration of these kairoi ("times") of the Gentiles and that is was generally assumed they would be fairly short is ultimately a secondary consideration. The essential point is that these times were both asserted and foretold and that, above all else and prior to any calculation of their duration, they had to be understood and were understood by the disciples in terms of a mission: to accomplish now what had been proclaimed and demanded-- by bringing the Gospel to all peoples.
The restlessness with which Paul journeyed to the nations, so as to bring the message to all and, if possible, to fulfill the mission within his own lifetime-- this restlessness can only be explained if one is aware of the historical and eschatological significance of his exclamation: "Necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!" (1 Cor 9:16).

In this sense, the urgency of evangelization in the apostolic era was predicated not so much on the necessity for each individual to acquire knowledge of the Gospel in order to attain salvation, but rather on this grand conception of history: if the world was to arrive at its destiny, the Gospel has to be brought to all nations. At many stages in history, this sense of urgency has been markedly attenuated, but it has always revived, generating new dynamism for evangelization.
In this regard, the question of Israel's mission has always been present in the background. We realize today with horror how many misunderstandings with grave consequences have weighed down our history. Yet a new reflection can acknowledge that the beginnings of a correct understanding have always been there, waiting to be rediscovered, however deep in the shadows.
Here I should like to recall the advice given by Bernard of Clairvaux to his pupil Pope Eugene III on this matter. He reminds the Pope that his duty of care extends not only to Christians, but: "You also have obligations toward unbelievers, whether Jew, Greek, or Gentile" (De Consideratione III/I, 2). Then he immediately corrects himself and observes more accurately: "Granted, with regard to the Jews, time excuses you; for them a determined point in time has been fixed, which cannot be anticipated. The full number of the Gentiles must come in first. But what do you say about these Gentiles?... Why did it seem good to the Fathers... to suspend the word of faith while unbelief was obdurate? Why do we suppose the word that runs swiftly stopped short?" (De Consideratione III/I, 3).
Hildegard Brem comments on this passage as follows: "In the light of Romans 11:25, the Church must not concern herself with the conversions of the Jews, since she must wait for the time fixed for this by God, 'until the full number of the Gentiles come in' (Romans 11:25). On the contrary, the Jews themselves are a living homily to which the Church must draw attention, since they call to mind the Lord's suffering (cf. Ep 363)..." (quoted in Samtliche Werke, ed. Winkler, I, p. 834).

The prophecy of the time of the Gentiles and the corresponding mission is a core element of Jesus' eschatological message. The special mission to evangelize the Gentiles, which Paul received from the risen Lord, is firmly anchored in the message given by Jesus to his disciples before his Passion. The time of the Gentiles-- "the time of the Church"-- which, as we have seen, is proclaimed in all the Gospels, constitutes an essential element of Jesus' eschatological message.

The above is only section 2 of the second chapter, if you want more it'll cost ya! study
(Please forgive any unintentional typos on my part...)

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Guest on Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:26 pm

columba wrote:
MarianLibrarian wrote:
Oh, come on! Does no one else on this forum READ?! No

We are all cheap-skates. Much too miserable to spend the money on the book. Embarassed
And buying the book might be aiding and abetting heresy.
Have you no conscience at all ML? Laughing
Razz
... I read it all! It's very gratifying to write "baloney!" in the margins of books by goofy theologians (like Karl Rahner, et. al).

PS- books are the best thing to spend money on!

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  MRyan on Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:32 pm

MarianLibrarian wrote:
columba wrote:We're all waiting on MarianLibrarian for confirmation on this.
Oh, come on! Does no one else on this forum READ?! No
Why "read" when we can "opine" to our heart's content and sound so, well, "in the know"? Reading is so passe.

MarianLibrarian wrote:I have read the part in question (it's actually very near the beginning), and it is short. The more contentious parts are the quotes used... since it is relatively short, I will type it up in a few minutes (gotta grab a bite for dinner).
That is appreciated. I confess that I am not a big fan of the private musings (in the form of books) of popes, perhaps Pope JPII had something to do with it.

Give me the "magisterial" part - private opinions can sometimes get in the way of a true understanding that may have nothing to do with a pope's private opinion. There is something about the "office" that sends shivers down a pope's spine when he teaches in his official capacity with one uni-vocal voice with Peter and all of his successors.

However, in this case, I am curious to know what the Pope is thinking in his private capacity. I think.
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  MRyan on Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:35 pm

Thank you, ML, truly.

A couple of quick points and initial impressions. I see no “heresy”, even if I have not yet been able to fully square the knot of orthodoxy. But I see glimmers of hope that I hope is not wishful thinking.

Point number 2: The Pope is no theological slouch – he knows his stuff and I do not believe he would be careless enough to introduce a heretical “new reflection [that] can acknowledge that the beginnings of a correct understanding have always been there, waiting to be rediscovered, however deep in the shadows.”

We should follow him into the shadows, as it were, and see where this new reflection leads. I must admit, I am captivated by his insights, even if I am still troubled by some of the implications.

This is intriguing:

At this point we encounter once again the connection between the Gospel tradition and the basic elements of Pauline theology. If Jesus says in the eschatological discourse that the Gospel must first be proclaimed to the Gentiles and only then can the end come, we find exactly the same things in Paul's Letter to the Romans: "A hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved" (11:25-26). The full number of the Gentiles and all Israel: in this formula we see the universalism of the divine salvific will. For our purposes, though, the important point is that Paul, too, recognizes an age of the Gentiles, which is the present and which must be fulfilled if God's plan is to attain its goal.
One note of caution: As Tornpage knows from our previous exchanges on Predestination, one must be careful when making the proper distinctions between God's universal salvific will (“the universalism of the divine salvific will”), and His particular salvific will. They are in actuality one will, with the particular being the concrete manifestation of the universal. So don't anyone jump to the conclusion that the Pope is talking about “universal salvation”; I don't believe he is. He may be tying eschatology into God's universal salvific will, with the particular manifestation of that will being hidden, as it were, during the “time of the Gentiles”.

I'm getting ahead of myself. Before commenting further, this section deserves special attention:

Yet a new reflection can acknowledge that the beginnings of a correct understanding have always been there, waiting to be rediscovered, however deep in the shadows.

Here I should like to recall the advice given by Bernard of Clairvaux to his pupil Pope Eugene III on this matter. He reminds the Pope that his duty of care extends not only to Christians, but: "You also have obligations toward unbelievers, whether Jew, Greek, or Gentile" (De Consideratione III/I, 2). Then he immediately corrects himself and observes more accurately: "Granted, with regard to the Jews, time excuses you; for them a determined point in time has been fixed, which cannot be anticipated. The full number of the Gentiles must come in first. But what do you say about these Gentiles?... Why did it seem good to the Fathers... to suspend the word of faith while unbelief was obdurate? Why do we suppose the word that runs swiftly stopped short?" (De Consideratione III/I, 3).
"A hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved" (11:25-26)... “with regard to the Jews, time excuses you; for them a determined point in time has been fixed, which cannot be anticipated.”

Does anyone see the dynamic at work here in the context of “Yet a new reflection can acknowledge that the beginnings of a correct understanding have always been there, waiting to be rediscovered, however deep in the shadows.”

Scary ... I'm starting to understand what the Pope is saying. But I'm not there yet. How to tie-in this “new reflection” with the divine mission of the Church (a particular/universal mission that corresponds with the particular/universal will of God and the particular/universal time of the Jews vs the Gentiles?).

Intriguing, but I'm too tired to continue. Just wait for the fireworks. I might have to buy the book!
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Charity for Gentiles and Jews

Post  MRyan on Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:57 am

Excellent article by Br. Andre Marie:
http://catholicism.org/ad-rem-no-154.html

'Charity for Gentiles and Jews

There is a lot of talk about the Pope’s new book. I have not read Volume II of Jesus of Nazareth, so I cannot and will not comment on it. Rather, I will use one short article about the book as a springboard into a purely theological, biblical, and, if you will, “missiological” issue of tremendous import. This issue touches on the very heart of our Crusade.

John Allen’s brief article on the subject, Church should not pursue conversion of Jews, pope says, focuses on the fact that the Jews will indeed convert “in God’s time,” and that this event will happen “when the number of Gentiles is full.” Allen also claims that the Holy Father excuses the Church from any mission to evangelize the Jews:

In terms of the proper Christian attitude in the meantime, Benedict approvingly quotes Cistercian abbess and Biblical writer Hildegard Brem: “The church must not concern herself with the conversion of the Jews, since she must wait for the time fixed for this by God.”
Supposedly, too, the book attenuates the missionary imperative by asserting that the Faith is not necessary for each individual to be saved, but only necessary in a global sense for the human race to fulfill its ultimate destiny:

Benedict says that in the early church, the urgency of evangelization wasn’t based so much on the idea that every human being had to know Christ in order to be saved, but rather on a “grand conception of history,” according to which the Gospel had to reach all the nations in order for the world to fulfill its destiny.
My comments are based on Mr. Allen’s reading of the Pope’s book and not at the book itself; but what of the possibility that Allen’s words accurately represent the Pope’s thought? If that were the case, are faithful Catholics permitted to disagree? I’ll let Pope Benedict himself reply. In the Preface to the first volume of this same work, the Holy Father made it plain that the thoughts therein do not bind Christians:

Of course, it goes without saying that this book is absolutely not a magisterial act, but is only the expression of my personal search for the “face of the Lord” {Psalm 27:8}. So everyone is free to disagree with me. I ask only that my readers begin with that attitude of good will without which there is no understanding.
In considering Allen’s article with “that attitude of good will,” I cannot help but agree with the remarks he quotes from the late Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J. (emphasis mine):

Almost ten years ago, the late Cardinal Avery Dulles was critical of a joint statement from the National Council of Synagogues and the Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference to the effect that “targeting Jews for conversion to Christianity” is “no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church.”

Dulles replied that the church cannot curtail the scope of the gospel without betraying itself: “Once we grant that there are some persons for whom it is not important to acknowledge Christ, to be baptized and to receive the sacraments, we raise questions about our own religious life,” he wrote.
Decades of theological drift away from the influence of his one-time spiritual Father seem to have been forgotten in that statement of the famous Jesuit.1

Is there any truth to the assertion that “in God’s time,” the Jews will convert en masse “when the number of Gentiles is full”? Yes.

In three famously difficult chapters of his Epistle to the Romans (9-11), St. Paul wrestles with the thorny and painful question of Israel’s rejection of the Christ. With a tender love for his nation, St. Paul juxtaposes a litany of Jewish prerogatives and divine favors with the tragic scene he beholds in his own day, when the vast majority of his people (though, of course, not all, as he himself points out) refused to accept God’s Anointed One. In the last of these three chapters, he makes it very clear that Israel will come into the Church:

I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, … that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fullness of the gentiles should come in. And so all Israel should be saved, as it is written [Isaias 59:20]: “There shall come out of Sion he that shall deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” …For as you [gentiles] also in times past did not believe God, but now have obtained mercy through their [Israel's] unbelief, so these also now have not believed, for your mercy, that they also may obtain mercy.” (Rom 11:25 sqq.)
Father Pohle, in his volume on Eschatology (pp. 105-106), explains:

From this text [of Romans 11, which I've just cited] it may with reasonable certainty be concluded:

(a) That the majority of nations, or at least the majority of the people of all nations (plenitudo gentium), will embrace Christianity before the end of the world;

(b) That, after the general conversion of the “gentiles,” the Jews, too, will accept the Gospel.

Though these propositions by no means embody articles of faith, it requires more than such antisemitic scolding as was indulged in by Luther to disprove them. The Apostle expressly speaks of a “mystery,” and ascribes the final conversion of the Jews, not to the physical or mental characteristics of the Semitic race, but to a special dispensation of God’s “mercy.” Luther overlooked both these factors when he wrote: “A Jew, or a Jewish heart, is as hard as wood, stone, or iron, as hard in fact as the devil himself, and hence cannot be moved by any means. … They are young imps condemned to Hell. … Those who conclude from the eleventh chapter of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans that the Jews will all be converted towards the end of the world, are foolish and their opinion is groundless.”
Father Pohle is not alone among Catholic authors in censuring Luther’s anti-Jewish diatribe on Romans 11. Father Ferdinand Prat, in his masterful two-volume The Theology of St. Paul (vol. I, p. 266) takes umbrage with the same passage from the apostate Augustinian, and broadens his criticisms to Luther’s fellow heresiarchs: “If the leaders of the Reformation refused to believe in the ultimate conversion of the Jews, it was only on account of the dogmatic prejudices. … Modern Protestants have, on the whole, returned to a better exegesis of St. Paul, whose teaching is wholly unambiguous.” Father Prat’s many scholarly pages on Romans 9 to 11 are a must-read for those seriously interested in the teachings of St. Paul on Israel and his relationship with the Church.

If St. Paul is “wholly unambiguous” on the subject of the eventual mass-conversion of the Jews, it seems to me that the Fathers of the Church were, as well — at least an impressive number of them. I’ll cite but one passage, from St. Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Genesis, Bk. 5: “Towards the end of time, Our Lord Jesus Christ will effect the reconciliation of His former persecutor Israel with Himself. Everybody who knows Holy Scripture is aware that, in the course of time, this people will return to the love of Christ by the submission of faith . . . Yes, one day, after the conversion of the Gentiles, Israel will be converted, and the Jews will be astonished at the treasure they will find in Christ.”

Two impressive digests of patristic passages have been put together by Roy Schoeman (a Catholic convert from Judaism) and Michael Forrest.2

The old Good Friday prayer for the Jews, and, more explicitly, Pope Benedict’s new replacement, both use the language of Romans 11 in praying for the conversion of the Jews (see “Father Z” for the texts in Latin and English).

I must strongly disagree with the proposition that “in the early church, the urgency of evangelization wasn’t based so much on the idea that every human being had to know Christ in order to be saved, but rather on a ‘grand conception of history,’ according to which the Gospel had to reach all the nations in order for the world to fulfill its destiny.” The language here sounds disturbingly Teilhardian, and discounts the scriptural, patristic, and magisterial data to the contrary.

You can’t get any more “early-church” than Jesus, and He told the Apostles, “Go ye into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mk. 16:15-16). As for the Fathers, I refer the reader to the articles, The Fathers of the Church on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus and Pelagius Lives, to see whether they diminished the necessity of individual conversion in favor of a “grand conception of history.” And no Catholic can hold that, when the Roman Magisterium gave us three infallible definitions on the subject, Holy Mother Church taught us a Faith contrary to what was believed “in the early church.” To hold that would be to postulate “a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” spanning across two millennia.

If we exclude Jews from evangelism, we do more than “raise questions about our own religious life,” as Cardinal Dulles correctly observed. We sin against Charity, and judge, with Luther, that this or that Jew is incapable of conversion. The big conversion will happen in the end, yes; but, meantime, the Church must make disciples of all nations. In individual cases, the grace and mercy of God can and will certainly precede the large-scale eschatological event of Israel’s conversion.

Thus has it been all throughout the history of the Church.

Gary Potter wrote a wonderful article, “Forgotten Converts,” in which he discusses such converts to the Faith as Rabbi David Paul Drach, Theodor and Alphonse Ratisbonne, Ven. Paul Francis (Jacob) Liberman, Ludwig and Jenny Loeb — Jews all. Mr. Potter’s subjects belonged to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We may go back further in citing the Catholic Encyclopedia article on St. Thomas Aquinas. Both in his life and posthumously, through his writings, the Angelic Doctor converted at least three Rabbis:

Calo, Tocco, and other biographers relate that St. Thomas, traveling from Rome to Naples, converted two celebrated Jewish rabbis, whom he met at the country house of Cardinal Richard (Prümmer, op. cit., p. 33; Vaughan, op. cit., I, p. 795). Rabbi Paul of Burgos, in the fifteenth century, was converted by reading the works of St. Thomas.
That same Encyclopedia, in its entry on another Dominican, the Spanish St. Vincent Ferrer, tells us of that apostolic friar’s fruitful harvest: “Ranzano, his first biographer, estimates the number of Jews converted at 25,000.” This is in addition to all the Moslems, Waldensians, Cathars and bad Catholics whom St. Vincent converted.

These random examples do not even scratch the surface, but the point is irrefutable: There has been a steady, if small, stream of conversions to the Faith from Jewry since the day St. Peter preached to them, converting 3,000 on that first Christian Pentecost. St. Paul himself, in the very context of his prophesy of the eventual conversion of the Jews in Romans 11, assures us that in converting the gentiles he also hopes to provoke the Jews to conversion: “For I say to you, Gentiles: as long indeed as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I will honour my ministry, if, by any means, I may provoke to emulation them who are my flesh, and may save some of them.” (Rom. 11:13-14). The New American Bible translates verse 14 this way: “I glory in my ministry in order to make my race jealous and thus save some of them.” By converting the gentiles to the life of grace in the Mystical Body of the Jewish Messias, St. Paul wanted to make his own people “jealous” and desirous of the blessings of the New Covenant. If he, the Apostle of the Gentiles, provoked his people to conversion that he might “thus save some of them,” how can we modern-day Catholics say that we have no mission to the Jews?

At the risk of sounding terribly unsophisticated and callow, I propose that, since Israel will not enter the Church en masse until the fullness of the gentiles has entered, let us direct our prayers and works toward that very end, the in-earnest evangelization of nations, from farthest East to deepest South, into Communist strongholds and through the frightening Islamic wall that has rendered a massive swath of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific seemingly impervious to the Gospel. Yes, this is an invitation to martyrdom, that semen Christiani that will make the Church grow.

In other words, let’s launch “Project Gentile Fullness,” so that the corporate conversion of Israel may become a reality. This is charity for the Gentiles, charity for the Jews, and charity, most importantly, for the Blessed Trinity, without whose grace and truth we will all perish.'
[END]

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Guest on Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:00 am

Thanks for the post! Very Happy
Very good article. Glad to see you still respect Br. Andre's opinion. Cool

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  columba on Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:56 pm

Yes.. Very good post Mryan.
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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  DeSelby on Wed May 18, 2011 2:03 pm

Roguejim wrote:Robert Sungenis is writing an article on this for Culture Wars. Unfortunately, it will cost $39 to read it, i.e., the cost of a subscription. Maybe he will include it somewhere on his own site.

I think this is it:

http://www.catholicintl.com/articles/Review%20of%20Jesus%20of%20Nazareth.pdf


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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Lourdes on Wed May 18, 2011 2:35 pm

Has anyone here actually read the entire book?

I began reading it with much enthusiasm. I must say, though, that I am up to page 103 and my enthusiasm has taken a nosedive. I thought if someone else here has actually read the book, we could discuss it.

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Guest on Wed May 18, 2011 3:29 pm

Lourdes wrote:Has anyone here actually read the entire book?

I began reading it with much enthusiasm. I must say, though, that I am up to page 103 and my enthusiasm has taken a nosedive. I thought if someone else here has actually read the book, we could discuss it.
It's a pretty quick read; what did you want to discuss? A specific issue, or just in general--chapter by chapter (/subject)? Or something different?

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Lourdes on Wed May 18, 2011 5:53 pm

Marian, we can start with this.

Beginning at page 93 "That they may all be one...". This is bizarre. Maybe you can tell me what he is saying. I only know what I think he's saying.

I find him a very difficult read, as some pages he writes very clearly, and other sections I haven't the foggiest idea what he's talking about.

I am glad to be able to talk to someone about this who has actually read the book.

Thanks, Marian!

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Guest on Wed May 18, 2011 6:51 pm

While many people lauded Pope Benedict XVI for his "readability" in writing both volumes of Jesus of Nazareth... this is where I disagree. He wrote as a theologian, and, many times the ambiguity of his theological opinions (or the constant reference to other theologians without context) can seem to give leeway to liberal "Catholics". The section you point to is DEFINITELY one of those times. Bultmann was a mistake to quote (especially at such length!) in the beginning of that section.

However, I think there is a way to understand the Holy Father properly which does not conflict with the Faith. He DOES also say:
Unity must be visible... the invisible unity of the "community" is not sufficient. (p. 96)
Faith is something more than a word, an idea: it involves entering into communion with Jesus Christ and through Him with the Father. Faith is the real foundation of the disciples' communion, the basis for the Church's unity.
In its nucleus, this faith is "invisible". But because the disciples unite themselves to the one Christ, faith becomes "flesh" and knits the individual believers together into a real "body"... (p. 97)
Two important things he's saying:
1. Unity is visible
2. The basis of unity is faith entered into through communion with Jesus Christ... (this has other implications including what communion with Jesus IS)
Furthermore:
A defining characteristic of the community of disciples in every age must be their "being sent" by Jesus. This will always mean that for them, too, "my teaching is not mine"; the disciples do not proclaim themselves, but they say what they have heard...
In this quality of "being sent", characteristic of Christ's disciples, and inasmuch as they were bound to His word and to the power of His Spirit, the early Church was able to recognize the form of "apostolic succession"...
Together with "apostolic succession", the early Church discovered (she did not invent) two further elements fundamental for her unity: the canon of Scripture and the so-called regula fidei, or "rule of faith". This was a short summary... of the essential content of the faith, which in the early Church's different baptismal confessions took on a liturgical form...
The unity of these three constitutive elements of the Church--the sacrament of succession, Scripture, the rule of faith (creed)-- is the true guarantee that "the word can resound authentically", that "the tradition is maintained" (cf. Bultmann) (p. 99)
Scripture, Tradition, Magisterium (apostolic succession). Only the Catholic Church has these elements necessary for the unity of the Church. Thus, unity can only be authentically found in the Catholic Church.

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Lourdes on Wed May 18, 2011 7:20 pm

The last paragraph you quoted is what saved it for me, but why doesn't he ever just come right out and say these things? The reader is left to deduce these conclusions him/herself.

Without that saving paragraph, I got the impression he was saying that institutions and dogmas had nothing to do with unity and are not necessary for unity (at which point I thought to myself, what do we need the church for then?).

He is continually quoting these lutheran theologians. Personally, I don't care what a protestant theologian thinks. Doesn't the church have enough for him to choose from that he has to go to non-Catholics to look for answers?

It is a sad day for the Catholic Church when someone reading a book written by a pope has to search for ways to make what he is writing sound Catholic.

I'll be back with more. I am reading about the Last Supper now...

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Lourdes on Wed May 18, 2011 7:22 pm

study study

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Guest on Wed May 18, 2011 7:26 pm

Lourdes wrote:The last paragraph you quoted is what saved it for me, but why doesn't he ever just come right out and say these things? The reader is left to deduce these conclusions him/herself.
I agree with you on this. Most definitely. I think sometimes he wishes to appear to be addressing the "other side" of the issue, but he is not clear enough that he's outlining a mistaken opinion until a few pages later... it's a dangerous route to take. Less discerning and "skim readers" could take away a very different understanding from the book.

I am sure you'll find plenty more to comment on/discuss. I think this second volume is worse than the first as regards his initial ambiguity about which position he's promoting. When these volumes were first announced, I was hoping they'd be more meditative. These are not meditative at all! They demand a discerning and attentive mind.

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Re: Benedict's Book says not to pursue convesion of Jews

Post  Guest on Wed May 18, 2011 7:31 pm

Lourdes wrote:
It is a sad day for the Catholic Church when someone reading a book written by a pope has to search for ways to make what he is writing sound Catholic.

I was thinking the same thing, LOL. Growing up going to modernist "Catholic" schools in the 80's and 90's nothing surprises me anymore though. At least you older folk can reminisce about the Latin Mass in your childhood. Somehow my childhood memories of Church always have the song "Gather Us In" in the background or co-ed serving Mass with the girl you have a crush on in 6th and 7th grade......but hey let's have another World Youth Day! Yeah, that will really bring the youth back to the Church....or better yet let's buy them copies of the latest from Ignatius Press......

Could it get any worse?

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