Interfaith: The Prime Directive
The Vatican has just released a new document assuring everyone that it has no mission to the Jews.
This is not going to be politically correct. You have been warned.
The need to examine the Vatican's proof-text (Romans 11:29) in context required a detailed examination of Paul's clear teaching on the issue. That will be published in Part 2.
But for now, St. Paul wrote, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8-9 RSV.)
Keeping in mind St. Paul's double anathema, read what he wrote about the salvation of Jews:
We ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, 16 yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified.(Galatians 2:15-16 RSV.)
Now, since a different gospel is preached because of interfaith relations, one may ask which is the more important of the two. It is not surprising to hear the Vatican say it has no mission to the Jews, and that Jews may or may not have a special Jew way to salvation.
If you want the photo op with the rabbi at the press conference, the only thing you have to bargain with is the truth. Today, interfaith relations are so important they have eclipsed the truth. In addition, Pope Francis has worked closely with an Argentinian Rabbi, Abraham Skorka, with whom he authored a book, "On Heaven and Earth." We all know how Jorge Bergoglio's personal connections influence Church policies.
The Protestants say Catholics believe the teachings of men. The Bear has to concede them the point too often. The Bear is just an ursine mammal, but he would think twice about advocating a scheme in which knowing rejection of Jesus Christ was a routine method of salvation.
What does it really say about the need to be Christian -- no, Catholic -- to be saved, or, rather, our leaders' opinions on that? We have often discovered clues that the Church now believes in universalism, that all persons are saved and Hell is empty. Bad ideas have consequences in the Church, and we should be alert for their expressions. One is this: if everyone is saved, religious differences become unimportant.
Now the Vatican repeats their favorite phrase on this issue: "For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable." Of course He didn't revoke them. They got their Davidic dynasty forever, and they got their Messiah, in Whom the Law was completed. Elijah prepared his way in the person of John the Baptist, and Moses and Elijah -- the Law and the Prophets -- met with Jesus during the Transfiguration. Not to mention over 300 Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus' life.
God never revoked his covenant, He completed it.
All Jews have to do is accept it. Yet the Church has crossed them off the list of people to be asked in order to please men. Is the Bear alone in finding this monstrous?
How different from the early Church, where Jews were tirelessly proselytized! Why were Jews converting to anything under the urging of the Apostle Paul and other Christian leaders if it were not necessary?
What's Behind the Anti-Evangelical Interfaith Scam?
But something is going on that makes interfaith relations more important than the truth of the faith, and the salvation of souls of people we supposedly care so much about. The Bear sniffs the air, and there is something unwholesome on the breeze more often than not of late. The Bear finds himself typing "The Prince of This World" too often.
He fears for his Church as never before.
Ultimately, the Bear fears the Church is currently advancing a different program than the one Jesus began with St. Peter.
Let the Bear hasten to add, however, that he believes high-level machinations need not affect the average Catholic in the pew. The Bear has never said these are good times. All he has said is the rather desperate, "Nail your foot to the floor in front of your favorite pew and die there." Who knows what the future shall bring?
The Jew Alphonse Ratisbonne and the Miraculous Medal
Here is an embarrassing fundamentalist fable for our modern Church.
Later, another friend was making funeral arrangements in a church and asked Ratisbonne to wait for him inside. The friend returned to find Ratisbonne on his knees, weeping. He reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary. He was instantly convinced of the seriousness of his sins and the beauty of the Catholic faith. He couldn't get baptized quickly enough. (The appearance was approved by the holy see June 3, 1842.)
Alphonse Ratisbonne became a priest in 1847, and established a convent in Jerusalem from which he and his small band proselytized tirelessly for the conversions of Jews and Mohammedans.
Sorry, St. Paul, We've Given Up On Your People
Under current Church policy, this story would not happen. Catholics are discouraged from proselytizing. Not only would Ratisbonne die in his sins, but his program of proselytization would never happen, and would be prohibited by superiors in any case.
Sorry, St. Paul. Your Church has given up on your people. Please pray for us.
And what does the Church say now about the seeming miraculous nature of Ratisbonne's conversion, and the Virgin Mary's personal blessing of it? She did not come to say, "Alphonse, you are a Jew. You have no need of my Son." One might think that we were looking at two different Churches!
Who will be next to have their own special way of salvation that doesn't bother with Jesus? Surely the other leg of the tripod Three Amigos Great Abrahamic Religions, Islam.