Bob Sungenis has replied to my response (Carl Schmitt, Israel Shamir and Robert Sungenis Against The Grain January 19, 2007). While I’d prefer not to turn Against the Grain into a perpetual discussion of Catholic extremism, I’ll address a few of his points further.
- R. Sungenis:
“Responding in writing to a particular article” is not debating. It is merely Mr. Blosser’s opportunity to do more of the same that he already does on his blog — make unsubstantiated accusations based on his own personal fears and biases without being challenged immediately and promptly in a public debate.
I understand debate to be an exchange of views and a challenging of positions. In his prior response Sungenis defended his use of Carl Schmitt, asserting that “Schmitt was not actually IN the Nazi party, much less had an “active role” in the party.” — I challenged it. Sungenis asserted that, based on his reading of the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004, “it looks like every good Catholic who is faithful to his religion is now classed as an anti-semite by the U.S. government” — I demonstrated how this interpretation was erroneous and largely inferred from the biased reading of the “Reverend” Ted Pike.
I’ll reiterate my response to Campbell: Public speaking [in the form of public debating on stage] is not my forte. However, I may be persuaded to respond in writing to a particular article he has written on Zionism, Judaism, etc. Although I don’t promise on devoting too much time to debating Catholic extremists.
- R. Sungenis:
I didn’t defend Schmitt. I merely pointed out the duplicity of the article that said he was both an anti-semite and an anti-nazi, depending on whether he was being castigated by Jews or Nazis. I wouldn?t defend Schmitt in either case. By posting Shamir’s article, I simply wanted to alert Catholics to the liberalism inherent in Judaism and Zionism, no more, no less.
Bob, your challenge: “So which is it, Mr. Blosser? Was Schmitt anti-semite or anti-Nazi? Curious minds want to know” certainly sounds like a defense to me.
While one can point to “liberal tendencies” in secular or reformed Judaism, or various forms of Christianity, it seems to me that Israel Shamir’s point is somewhat different from your own, in that he contends that “the ‘liberal democracy and human rights’ doctrine carried by the US marines across the Tigris and the Oxus is a form of secularised Judaism.”
Sungenis [now] professes concern about the threat of liberalism within Judaism [secular or otherwise].
Shamir is concerned about the threat of Judaism within “liberal democracy and human rights’ doctrine.”
Two different things, and given Shamir’s explicit bias, probably all the more reason why Sungenis should have reconsidered using him as a source. But my hunch is that Sungenis was initially attracted to Shamir because of his ideological bent — that, or this is another example of Sungenis uncritically posting a dubious source without careful consideration.
- R. Sungenis: This is a watershed moment. Mr. Blosser has put himself on the line by attempting to define “anti-semitism.” According to him, it is not merely racial hatred of Jews but “animosity” towards Jews, and he is apparently claiming that I have such
“animosity.” But the first problem is, Mr. Blosser doesn’t define what “animosity towards Jews” is, and thus he hasn’t advanced the discussion any further.
Funny, since in the very article I conveyed my agreement with Fr. Flannery’s description of anti-semitism as “a hatred, contempt and stereotyping of the Jewish people as such.”
. . . let me say loud and clear to Mr. Blosser and to all my critics: I have no animosity toward Jewish people. I am a Catholic apologist and I write books, articles, give lectures and do debates against people who either attack the Catholic faith or have an opposing religion to the Catholic faith. […] When I first started in the early 90s, Protestants were my main source of contention, yet no one in the Catholic world said I did so because I had ?animosity? toward Protestants. They knew I did so because Protestants were attacking and weakening the Catholic faith.
Let’s see, in his fourteen years of service as a Catholic apologist:
Where has Bob said that Protestants “want to rule the world, and the Catholic Church too?” — He said that about the Jews:
But the Jews haven’t been humble at all. They do intend to rule the world. And now the problem is that they want to rule the Catholic Church, too.
- Where has Bob referred to “Protestant control of the media” or “the Protestant agenda of Hollywood’s elite”? — He said that about the Jews.
(“Jewish critics such as the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen are far outnumbered, however. The number of pro-Israel/pro-Zionist media outlets in America is staggering . . .”
- Where has Bob suggested that Disney movies used to be of a higher moral quality because Walt Disney had a policy of not hiring Protestants? — He said that about the Jews:
A telltale sign in the movie industry of the shift in mores was demonstrated no better than in the Walt Disney corporation. Founder Walter Disney was well-known in the 50s and 60s for wholesome family entertainment. Interestingly enough, Walt had a policy of not hiring Jewish people.
[Source: “Neo-Cons and the Jewish Connection” – the last sentence was removed when Sungenis was confronted by Michael Forrest’s expose; however, one does not have to read through the remainder of the paragraph without noticing the same inference: Disney was fine until the Jews took over.]
- Where has Bob questioned the political motives and policies of any of our Protestant presidents, based on their Protestantism? — He did so with regard to FDR and his supposed Jewish ancestry.
- Where has Bob said that Protestants are “inherently violent” and “some of the most ruthless people” when they come into power? Where has he suggested that “real Protestants consider all non-Protestants to be “less than animals”? — He said that about the Jews.:
[R. Sungenis]: Christianity is certainly not inherently violent, but unfortunately, Judaism tends to be, because real Judaism considers all non-Jews goyim that are less than animals, and this precipitates a loathing and violence against non-Jews. You can read all about this in the Babylonian Talmud and the Encyclopedia Judaica. Fortunately, Judaism is such a small enterprise today that they neither have the power or will to exercise these ideas in large part, and most of today’s Jews are quite liberal and could care less about Judaism. But when they come into power, as they did in the communist regime under Lenin and Trotsky, they can be some of the most ruthless people on the face of the earth.
[Source: “Question 8- Muslims, USA and the Jews, Part 2” Catholic Apologetics International Q&A January 2006]
Certainly no stereotyping of the Jews as such — Just plain and simple political criticism, right? I think if you invited a sampling of Jews to survey Catholic Apologetics International with its curious preoccupation, the majority of them would leave confused and outraged by Bob’s attitude and behavior and the kind of language that is used.
- Where has Bob said that Protestants “want to rule the world, and the Catholic Church too?” — He said that about the Jews:
- Responding to my observation that “Fahey’s restricted definition of anti-semitism didn’t prohibit him from indulging in fantasies of Judeo-Masonic conspiracies so off the wall that Hillaire Belloc was moved to say ?The thing is nonsense on the face of it,” Sungenis notes that “Fahey wrote his work in 1950. Hillaire Belloc wasn’t writing any comments at that time because he had a stroke eight years earlier which totally incapacitated him.”
Fair enough. Nonetheless, Belloc was discussing the notion of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, which was espoused by Fahey. According to Dennis Barton In Defense of Hilaire Belloc ChurchinHistory.org), “Belloc denied the anti-Semite belief that the Jews were responsible for modern Capitalism ((HBJ 52)). He ridiculed The Protocols of The Elders of Sion, a book which was being treated like a ‘Bible’ by Anti-Semites.” According to Belloc himself:
“… these explanations of the Russian revolution are very good specimens of the way in which the European so misunderstands the Jew that he imputes to him powers which neither he nor any other poor mortal can ever exercise. Thus we are asked to believe that this political upheaval was part of one highly-organised plot centuries old, the agents of which were millions of human beings all pledged to the destruction of our society and their acting in complete discipline under a few leaders superhumanly wise! The thing is a nonsense…”
Incidentally, Sungenis in a dialogue with an individual named Mark discusses the Belloc quote, and Fahey had disputed Belloc’s criticism in relation to his own views in The Kingship of Christ
and The Conversion of the Jewish Nation.
- Regarding Sungenis’ assertion that “the State Department’s Report on Global Anti-Semitism . . . contains 12 descriptions of “anti-semitism,” — twelve points which I found to be contained nowhere in the report itself but rather resided in a news alert by the “Reverend” Ted Pike, Sungenis now concedes:
Ted Pike made a summary of the document based on the history of cases prosecuted recently for anti-semitism. Culture Wars picked up the summary and mentioned it in an article several months ago, which is my source. The official government document can be found here:
Official dialogue on it can be found here:
Sungenis took his info from E. Michael Jones. Jones makes the same erroneous assertion — “Mr. Rickman will not have to define anti-Semitism. His state department office has already done that for him [referring to the twelve points]” — without documentation. (The Conversion of the Revolutionary Jew October 2006).
Regretfully, the first link that Sungenis provides is non-functional, and the latter two (the 2005 Report on Global Anti-Semitism, which I had already linked to; and the second, a 2005 briefing with Ambassador Michael Kozak and Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Ambassador Edward O’Donnell, do not contain the “twelve points.” So again, we’re at a loss and I am not prepared to take E. Michael Jones’ or Ted Pike’s “summary” of what The Global Holocaust Report means on faith. As I indicated to our readers, it’s far better to simply read the government report and come to your own conclusions.
Regarding the official Congressional Act, in mentioning their desire to ?enforce laws relating to the protection of the right to religious freedom of Jewish people? (p. 3),
although I realize that the United States grants religious freedom to everyone, I?’m concerned that a reference to the religion of the ?Jewish people? is specified. All that needs to be reiterated is that the United States gives religious freedom to everyone, not that the United States protects a specific religion out of the myriads of religions existing. As it stands, a judge could take upon himself to interpret the new Congressional Act to mean that ?vociferous? criticism of Judaism, the Talmud or Kabbalah would constitute an infraction of the law against anti-semitism.This concern of mine is supported by the sentence on page 2 where it attempts to define “anti-semitism” by pointing out that “Anti-Semitism has at times taken the form of vilification of Zionism, the Jewish national
movement, and incitement against Israel.” Again, a judge favoring Israel and the Jews could easily interpret “vilification” or “incitement” as including any criticism of the aforementioned. The fact that Judaism and its political offshoots are now, under US law, a state-protected religion, should alarm anyone who understood the US as a republic that separates church and state. No other religion enjoys this status.
First, Sungenis’ clarification here sounds a tad more self-composed, for which I’m appreciative. It’s possible to discuss this without jumping to conclusions like “every good Catholic who is faithful to his religion is now classed as an anti-smite by the U.S. government.”
If we turn to the report itself, we’ll see that the State Department is concerned with distinguishing between real acts of anti-semitism and criticism of Israeli policy:
For the purposes of this report, anti-Semitism is considered to be hatred toward Jews—individually and as a group—that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity. An important issue is the distinction between legitimate criticism of policies and practices of the State of Israel, and commentary that assumes an anti-Semitic character. The demonization of Israel, or vilification of Israeli leaders, sometimes through comparisons with Nazi leaders, and through the use of Nazi symbols to caricature them, indicates an anti-Semitic bias rather than a valid criticism of policy concerning a controversial issue. Global anti-Semitism in recent years has had four main sources:
- Traditional anti-Jewish prejudice that has pervaded Europe and some countries in other parts of the world for centuries. This includes ultra-nationalists and others who assert that the Jewish community controls governments, the media, international business, and the financial world.
- Strong anti-Israel sentiment that crosses the line between objective criticism of Israeli policies and anti-Semitism.
- Anti-Jewish sentiment expressed by some in Europe’s growing Muslim population, based on longstanding antipathy toward both Israel and Jews, as well as Muslim opposition to developments in Israel and the occupied territories, and more recently in Iraq.
- Criticism of both the United States and globalization that spills over to Israel, and to Jews in general who are identified with both.
Granted that these examples are not clearly defined — any legal case or attempt to prohibit anti-semitism will entail the need for distinctions. But I think one might offer examples of what would be considered manifestations of anti-semitism (as opposed to mere “political criticism”):
- Consider that it was only a matter of days after 9/11 before you had allegations of Jewish complicity and orchestration, even that it was staged to bring about a neoconservative coup. Dispensation of books and media asserting a Jewish 9/11 conspiracy has become quite the cottage industry (see the Anti-Defamation League’s report, “Unraveling Anti-Semitic 9/11 Conspiracy Theories “, and the 2006 update, “9/11 Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories Still Abound” Sept. 7, 2006).
- Consider the rampant spread of Arab/Muslim anti-Semitism — in 2002, the Paterson, NJ weekly Arab Voice serialized the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; National Geographic published a story on the persistent popularity of The Protocols in Arab nations, despite their being exposed as a hoax (“Anti-Semitic “Protocols of Zion” Endure, Despite Debunking” Sept. 11, 2006); MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) has been documenting anti-semitism in the Arab newspapers and media.
- As for the homegrown variety, I think it is mostly racially-based. I’m reluctant to link to such sights but you can check out the National Vanguard, StormFront.org and the website of former KKK David Duke for starters (Duke recently participated in the Iranian Holocaust-Denial Conference — there has been a remarkable degree of “cross-pollination” between anti-semitic movements of various stripes and the anti-Zionist movement in general; on Fringewatch we recently blogged on Militant Islam’s Alliance with Right Wing Extremism).
As I mentioned in my initial response, if you examine the actual U.S. Report on Global Anti-Semitism, the displays of anti-semitism the State Department is largely concerned about involve direct acts of desecration and violence — vandalism of Jewish gravesites, synagogue-burnings, racially-motivated beatings, etc.
Not every political cartoon that has the object of their criticism the state of Israel is anti-semitic. At the same time, it is true that many (particularly within Arab media) perpetuate old stereotypes and caricatures of the Jew as such, or notions of a Jewish global conspiracy. (See Major Anti-Semitic Motifs in Arab Cartoons, and illustrated interview with Dr. Joël Kotek), in much the same manner as anti-Catholic cartoons of the 19th century relied upon certain stereotypes and falsehoods.
“Criticizing the Talmud” or “saying an unkind word [about the Kabbalah]” isn’t necessarily anti-semitic, or will be deemed such by the U.S. government. Madonnah is not likely to be labeled an anti-semite for becoming disillusioned with the Kaballah center — a far cry from the original esoteric tradition — think of Fr. Matthew Fox’s “techno-mass” as compared to the original Latin). On the other hand, employing criticism of the Talmud in such a way as to “paint Judaism as an immoral religion that preaches hatred for non-Jews and promotes obscenity, criminality, sexual perversion and other immoral acts” probably is. (See the ADL’s The Talmud in Anti-Semitic Polemics.
Again, I think that, were a Jewish reader to stumble across Catholic Apologetics International‘s obsessive preoccupation with the Jews and “real” Judaism, he would question Sungenis’ motives in doing so. Just as one would question the motives of a Protestant website that was inordinately preoccupied with publishing anti-Catholic propaganda and perpetuating an attitude of general hostility towards Catholics in general.
Reflections on the Jewish Covenant and its people: An Enduring Relationship?
Bob denounces “Judaism, Zionism, Talmudism, Jewish nationalism, liberal Jewish groups, Evangelical Protestants favoring Israel, and even Catholic converts advancing their Jewish views of religion” of possessing a fallacious and dangerous notion:
seem to be working under the premise that the Jews are still “God’s chosen people”, . . . the false premise that God still has some special relationship with the Jews above his relationship with the Gentiles, or has a distinctive ?covenant? with the Jewish people in the same way that He did in the Old Testament. These are grave errors in theology and politics, and every Catholic apologist should be condemning them. Unfortunately, there are only a handful that are doing so. The rest have been deceived. The Jews are no different than any other group of people on the face of the earth. There are no “special relationships” with God based on one?s ethnic background or heritage.
In October 2004 I carried on a 3-part discussion with Jeff Culbreath on “Jewish rejection of the Messiah” and contemporary Jewish-Christian relations, exploring the thought of Cardinal Ratzinger in Many Religions, One Covenant. You can find the concluding reflections and remarks for a summmary. It was a learning experience and I thank Jeff Culbreath for patiently indulging me. I suspect Jacob Michael has provided a much more coherent investigation in Never Revoked by God: The Place of Israel in the Future of the Church (e-book available for download), and so I’ll leave specific discussion of the particular status of the Jewish covenant to more qualified hands.
That said, I want to touch on the question of what kind of spirit should one embody in conveying theological disagreement with and/or engaging in interreligious dialogue with the Jewish people.
In my last post I noted the possibility of offering criticism of Zionism without succumbing to the kind of malevolent stereotyping — as demonstrated by Denis Fahey, Fr. Coughlin, Sungenis and others. I assert that the same possibility exists in expressing theological disagreement in Jewish-Christian dialogue. Note for example, that Father Avery Dulles took a position critical to the joint publication of Reflections on Covenant and Mission which aroused Sungenis’ initial ire back in 2002. (“Covenant and Mission” Vol. 187 No. 12 October 21, 2002). Observe how Cardinal Dulles is perfectly capable of mounting comparable criticism of the document (and its theological constructs) without resorting to the kind of polemic fury that mired Sungenis in controversy and tarnished his career as an apologist. (Cardinal Dulles would revisit the issue in 2005, and provoke a bit of controversy as well, when he rejected “the two-covenant concept — a valid covenant for Jews made at Mount Sinai (the life of Torah) and a valid one for Christians made at Calvary (the resurrection of Jesus),” provoking the criticism of Rabbi James Rudin. See my discussion “To evangelize — or not to evangelize?” Against The Grain March 21, 2005).
I would add that Fr. James V. Schall SJ, Dr. Ronda Chervin, Fr. Francis Martin, Mark Drogin and David Moss all voiced their criticism of the document in a symposium for the National Catholic Register — David Moss conveying that he was “embarrassed and irritated” — embarassed by Catholic leaders, who after two decades could produce something inconsistent with the Catholic faith, and irritated, that the document was released without undergoing more careful scrutiny by the USCCB. Likewise, Jewish convert Roy Schoeman expressed his strong displeasure and in fact, wrote the book Salvation is From the Jews in large part as a refutation of the document.
Again frustrating Sungenis’ stereotype of a Neocon-ZionistTM, Deal Hudson, then-publisher of Crisis magazine, asked, “If we’re saved only through Jesus, how can we say that God’s covenant with the Jews ‘is a saving covenant’?” (“Rome Rejects While the Bishops ‘Reflect'”).
By no means would I compare my own work to the likes of Dulles or the rest of these scholars, but one of the very first essays I posted to the RatzingerFanClub’s discussion forum was entitled Jewish-Christian Relations: Mixed Signals from the Vatican, which was a joint reaction to the vitriolic response of Christopher Ferrara, Robert Sungenis, and John Vennari and to offer my own criticisms of Reflections on Covenant and Mission and the CDF document Dominus Iesus, noting conflicting positions of Cardinals Kasper and Ratzinger in their presentation of the Church’s attitude towards fulfilling the Great Commission.
It’s interesting to note that at no point did any of the aformentioned scholars allude to Vatican or USCCB complicity in a Zionist agenda. Each of these individuals take issue with Covenant and Mission, yet the very spirit they embody speaks volumes.
* * *
Let’s turn for a minute to the thought of the two most recent Popes on their relationship with contemporary Jews.
On April 13, 1986, John Paul II made a historic visit to the Synagogue in Rome. In his address to the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community, the Pope reiterated the fundamental points of Nostra Aetate, the first of which was that
the Church of Christ discovers her “bond” with Judaism by “searching into her own mystery.” The Jewish religion is not “extrinsic” to us, but in a certain way is “intrinsic” to our own religion. With Judaism, therefore, we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You (the Jews) are our dearly beloved brothers and, in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.
I think we can assert with confidence that John Paul II wasn’t only speaking of our relation to Jewish converts, but to the Jewish people in general.
Turning to an early essay by our present Pope, then-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Interreligious Dialogue and Jewish-Christian Relations Communio 25, no. 1 (1998): 29-41), it is important to examine not only the content, but the overall tone of Ratzingers’s remarks:
“Even if Israel cannot join Christians in seeing Jesus as the Son of God,it is not altogether impossible for Israel to recognize him as the servant of God who brings the light of his God to the nations.” The converse is also true: even if Christians wish that Israel might one day recognize Christ as the Son of God and that the fissure that still divides them might thereby be closed, they ought to acknowledge the decree of God, who has obviously entrusted Israel with a distinctive mission in the “time of the Gentiles.” The Fathers define this mission in the following way: the Jews must remain as the first proprietors of Holy Scripture with respect to us, in order to establish a testimony to the world. But what is the tenor of this testimony? . . . I think we could say that two things are essential to Israel’s faith. The first is the Torah, commitment to God’s will, and thus the establishment of his dominion, his kingdom, in this world. The second is the prospect of hope, the expectation of the Messiah — the expectation, indeed, the certainty, that God himself will enter into this history and create justice, which we can only approximate very imperfectly. The three dimensions of time are thus connected: obedience to God’s will bears on an already spoken word that now exists in history and at each new moment has to be made present again in obedience. This obedience, which makes present a bit of God’s justice in time, is oriented toward a future when God will gather up the fragments of time and usher them as a whole into his justice.
Christianity does not give up this basic configuration. The trinity of faith, hope, and love corresponds in a certain respect to the three dimensions of time: the obedience of faith takes the word that comes from eternity and is spoken in history and transforms it into love, into presence, and in this way opens the door to hope. It is characteristic of the Christian faith that all three dimensions are contained and sustained in the figure of Christ, who also introduces them into eternity. In him, time and eternity exist together, and the infinite gulf between God and man is bridged. For Christ is the one who came to us without therefore ceasing to be with the Father; he is present in the believing community, and yet at the same time is still the one who is coming. The Church too awaits the Messiah. She already knows him, yet he has still to reveal his glory. Obedience and promise belong together for the Christian faith, too. For Christians, Christ is the present Sinai, the living Torah that lays its obligations on us, that bindingly commands us, but that in so doing draws us into the broad space of love and its inexhaustible possibilities. In this way, Christ guarantees hope in the God who does not let history sink into a meaningless past, but rather sustains it and brings it to its goal. It likewise follows from this that the figure of Christ simultaneously unites and divides Israel and the Church: it is not in our power to overcome this division, but it keeps us together on the way to what is coming and for this reason must not become an enmity.
Consider as well the Holy Father’s December 2000 essay, The Heritage of Abraham: The Gift of Christmas (December 2000):
We know that every act of giving birth is difficult. Certainly, from the very beginning, relations between the infant Church and Israel were often marked by conflict. The Church was considered by her own mother to be a degenerate daughter, while Christians considered their mother to be blind and obstinate. Down through the history of Christianity, already-strained relations deteriorated further, even giving birth in many cases to anti-Jewish attitudes, which throughout history have led to deplorable acts of violence. Even if the most recent, loathsome experience of the Shoah was perpetrated in the name of an anti-Christian ideology, which tried to strike the Christian faith at its Abrahamic roots in the people of Israel, it cannot be denied that a certain insufficient resistance to this atrocity on the part of Christians can be explained by an inherited anti-Judaism present in the hearts of not a few Christians.
Perhaps it is precisely because of this latest tragedy that a new vision of the relationship between the Church and Israel has been born: a sincere willingness to overcome every kind of anti-Judaism, and to initiate a constructive dialogue based on knowledge of each other, and on reconciliation. If such a dialogue is to be fruitful, it must begin with a prayer to our God, first of all that he might grant to us Christians a greater esteem and love for that people, the people of Israel, to whom belong “the adoption as sons, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs are the patriarchs, and from them comes Christ according to the flesh, he who is over all, God, blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 9:4-5), and this not only in the past, but still today, “for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). In the same way, let us pray that he may grant also to the children of Israel a deeper knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth, who is their son, and the gift they have made to us. Since we are both awaiting the final redemption, let us pray that the paths we follow may converge.
We are left with the question of how Pope Benedict might encourage “a greater esteem and love for that people, the people of Israel, to whom belong “the adoption as sons, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs are the patriarchs, and from them comes Christ according to the flesh, he who is over all, God, blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 9:4-5), and this not only in the past, but still today” — if as Sungenis asserts, the Jewish people enjoy no such relationship and are “no different than any other group of people on the face of the earth.” On the contrary, it seems to me that for some mysterious reason, God’s friendship for the Jewish people remain intertwined with their heritage such that, even today, they constitute a precious witness.
Perhaps no more tragic an affirmation of the continued significance of the Jewish people can be found in the concentrated efforts of the Third Reich to obliterate them from the face of the earth. As Benedict noted in his address at Auschwitz:
Deep down, those vicious criminals, by wiping out this people, wanted to kill the God who called Abraham, who spoke on Sinai and laid down principles to serve as a guide for mankind, principles that are eternally valid. If this people, by its very existence, was a witness to the God who spoke to humanity and took us to himself, then that God finally had to die and power had to belong to man alone—to those men, who thought that by force they had made themselves masters of the world. By destroying Israel, they ultimately wanted to tear up the taproot of the Christian faith and to replace it with a faith of their own invention: faith in the rule of man, the rule of the powerful.
Again, I would encourage a reading of Ratzinger’s Many Religions, One Covenant (Ignatius Press, 1999).
As he explains, the proper context for discussing the Jewish-Christian relationship is not one of mutual antagonism — of setting the Old and New Testaments against each other, of pitting Jews against Christians (either then or now) — but of looking at both in relation to the covenant of Abraham. The New Covenant is an extension of the Lord’s abiding covenant with Abraham. In Christ, God’s covenant with the Jews is universalized, “opens up” to encompass Jews and gentiles. It is hard to do justice to his work here, but I have found Ratzinger’s exposition of Church teaching on the covenant and Jewish-Christian relations to be beneficial to this discussion.
- Thoughts on the latest Sungenis flareup, by Kevin Tierney. Posted: Tuesday, January 23, 2007.
- Sungenis and the Jews, Again, by Dr. Philip Blosser. January 23, 2007.
- On Robert Sungenis, the Jews, Moriel Ministries, the Catholic Church, and the Importance of Scholatic Integrity and Ethics in Apologetics, by I. Shawn McElhinney. Rerum Novarum January 12, 2007.