I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Once again some Catholic traditionalists are attacking the Jews in the Church. They are now spreading homilies on the internet by anonymous Catholic Tridentine priests who are attacking the practice of keeping the Passover Seder by Catholics. They do this by quoting the great doctor of the Church St. Thomas Aquinas. They quote his opinion that a Catholic who keeps the ceremonies and rituals of the Old Covenant as if the Messiah had not already been born is committing a mortal sin. They then decide that this means that those Catholics who attend Passover Seders whether unchanged ones or christianised ones are objectively committing mortal sin. They state that the passover is part of the animal sacrifices abolished by the first coming of Christ. They also go on to say that the Jewish passover of today has nothing to do with the ancient passover celebrated by Jesus.
They thus show that they are blinded by their anti-semitic prejudices. If it is true that the modern Passover has nothing to do with the ancient passover (as they say)then it has nothing to do with the rituals or animal sacrifices of the Old Covenant. Then one cannot possibly be sinning unless keeping another ceremony such as Thanksgiving is a sin as well. However I would not agree that the modern Passover Seder kept by the Jews has no connection to the ancient Passover.
One is not obliged to accept as correct all that St Thomas of Aquinas teaches as is obvious in his opposition to the teaching of the Immaculate Conception and other opinions of his that are not accepted today by the Church. However I think all Jews in the Church would accept the principle that keeping the ceremonies and rituals of the Old Covenant as neccessary for salvation or as if the Messiah had not been born is wrong. We do not keep the Passover Seder as if the Messiah had not been born nor do we keep it as a means to salvation.
We also know, from Benedict XIV's letter 'Ex Quo' (1756) to the Italo-Greeks, that Old Covenant ceremonies and rituals may be kept in the Church even by Gentiles if they are given a New Covenant purpose or meaning. How much more then for the Jews in the Church. Benedict XIV even states that if the Church wishes she could bind the kosher food laws on the Gentile Catholics if she so wishes for a spiritual purpose. How much more then for the Jews in the Church.
A Jew who has come to faith in the Messiah Jesus and his Church now sees the Passover Seder with new eyes that sees Jesus and Mary hidden in the Passover ritual whether one celebrates it as it is or with Christian additions. It is impossible for a Catholic Jew to celebrate Passover as if the Messiah had not come, as everything in the celebration speaks of his Presence and brings one to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the transformed Passover Seder that is the Eucharist. A Catholic Jew who observes the Passover Seder always observes it in the light of the New Covenant which gives it a new meaning and purpose in the interior life of the Catholic Jew. In fact most Jews who enter the church today have found that the Passover means so much more to them now than before they entered the Church. Now we observe it not because we are commanded to in a legalistic way or as a means to salvation but because we see its inner light of sanctification that leads us into the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.
Some may say that it is Ok for the Jews in the church to keep the Passover as it is part of their heritage but they would exclude the non-Jews in keeping it. However our present Pope would disagree with them. Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) in his book "Behold the Pierced One" states "...it seems to me, this Passover celebration which has come down to us from the nomads, via Israel and through Christ, also has (in the deepest sense) an eminently political significance. We as a nation, we in Europe, need to go back to our spiritual roots, lest we become lost in self-destruction. This feast needs to become a family celebration once again, for it is the family that is the real bastion of creation and humanity. Passover is a summons, urgently reminding us that the family is the living home in which humanity is nurtured, which banishes chaos and futility, and which must be protected as such. But we must add that the family can only be this sphere of humanity, this bastion of creation, if it is under the banner of the Lamb, if it is protected by the power of faith which comes from the love of Jesus Christ..." Here we see Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) calling for all Catholics to celebrate with their families the Passover Seder for deep theological and spiritual reasons connected with preserving the faith in the family. Many modern Catholics seem to have lost the customs of making God part of the ordinary life of the family and they could learn much from the Orthodox Jewish families who bring God in a natural and spiritual way into the daily rythm of family life.
So those priests and bishops who encourage and participate with the laity in Passover Seders all over the Catholic world are the ones who are in tune with the thinking of our present Holy Father. If the present head of the Signatura (High court of the Vatican) Archbishop Burke feels comfortable attending a Passover Seder hosted by the Association of Hebrew Catholics then I think all Catholics can rest easy about their participation in Passover Seders. Archbishop Burke
For those interested further in the theological understanding of the Hebrew Catholic vocation see Hebrew Catholic Vocation
Note: This article doesn't refer to all traditionalist Catholics and in fact there are many other Catholics who also have a mistaken idea of the Church's position on Jewish observances in the Church.
Posted by Catholic Jew at 4:03 pm