Why Pope Francis’ comments on the Torah were hurtful to his Jewish friends ...
This past August, Pope Francis made a statement that some have characterized as causing the greatest tension in the relationship between the church and the Jewish people since the beginning of his pontificate. ...
That the pope could embrace the notion that Torah is just a way-station to a fuller, higher truth is painful to Jewish ears. Whether it was said with strategic intentionality, or just blurted out inadvertently, it is a testimony to the fact that for all that has been achieved since 1965, and despite all the hopes held by many — Jews and Catholics alike — there is still much work to be done until the hopes engendered by “Nostra Aetate,” until the implicit message of that document, bloom into the fullness of their potential. For Jews those words carry great weight; and they will, undoubtedly, be the subject of much conversation with the church in the time ahead. They raise the question whether the church is truly prepared to accept the faith of Jews as a spiritual equal. That is an issue of the greatest significance, indeed.
Now the National Catholic Register reports:
A cardinal has written to Jewish leaders, assuring them that recent comments by Pope Francis did not devalue the Torah, the Vatican confirmed on Friday.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, which oversees the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews, published two letters on Sept. 10, written by Cardinal Kurt Koch, who is president of both the council and the commission.
The letters, dated Sept. 3, were addressed respectively to Rabbi Rasson Arussi, chair of the Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel for the Dialogue With the Holy See in Jerusalem, and Rabbi David Sandmel, chair of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations in New York.
The Vatican's official response, seen by Reuters on Friday, said the pope's comments in a homily on the writings of St. Paul should not be extrapolated from their context of ancient times and had no bearings on today's Jews.This admits that the Reform Jews do not even accept the Torah. So why should the Pope?
"The abiding Christian conviction is that Jesus Christ is the new way of salvation. However, this does not mean that the Torah is diminished or no longer recognised as the 'way of salvation for Jews,'" wrote Cardinal Kurt Koch, whose Vatican department covers religious relations with Jews.
"In his catechesis the Holy Father does not make any mention of modern Judaism; the address is a reflection on (St. Paul's) theology within the historical context of a given era," Koch wrotei
"The fact that the Torah is crucial for modern Judaism is not questioned in any way," he said.
The Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, contains hundreds of commandments for Jews to follow in their everyday lives. The measure of adherence to the wide array of guidelines differs between Orthodox Jews and Reform Jews.
This show how pervasive Jewish power and influence are today. Some rabbi can made an absurd rant about the Catholic Church being insfuffiently res pectful of an ancient Jewish law that that most Jews don't even care about, and the Vatican has to issue a groveling apology.
Relations between Catholics and Jews were revolutionised in 1965, when the Second Vatican Council repudiated the concept of collective Jewish guilt for the death of Jesus and began decades of inter-religious dialogue. Francis and his two predecessors visited synagogues.So are the Jews going to Hell or not?
Is following the Torah really a way of salvation for the Jews? If so, does that mean that Orthodox Jews can be saved, but not Reform Jews who ignore the Torah? And who is responsible for killing Jesus?
Of course Judaism is contrary to Christianity. So is Islam and every other religion. The Pope should make that clear, and not take orders from any rabbis.