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.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Five Kinds of Hebrew Catholics

The term Hebrew or Jewish Catholics includes a diverse range of people at different levels of understanding. However I think they can be divided into five main categories. Some will not be in any category fully and some will be in transition from one to the other.

Firstly there are those Catholics of Jewish background who have entered the Church and they have totally assimilated to the Catholicism of their local community and have no desire to be identified as Jews or Hebrew Catholics.

The second category are those who enter the Church and are happy to be identified as Jewish or Hebrew Catholics and see the great importance of the Jewish roots of the Catholic Faith. However they see no real collective calling or vocation for Jews in the Church except as a tool for evangelisation and pointing people to the truths of the Church.

A Hebrew Speaking Mass in Israel

A third category are those who are part of the Hebrew speaking Catholic communities of Israel. They celebrate the liturgy in Hebrew and they enculturate certain Israeli or Jewish practices modified for Catholic purposes into their lives. They seek to be culturally Israelis who are Catholic in religion.

Father Elias Friedman Founder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics

The fourth category of Hebrew Catholics are those that believe in the collective role and vocation of Jews in the Church. They also see and teach the importance of the Jewish roots but also seek to gather the Jews of the Church into a community in order to prepare for the collective ingrafting of the Jews into the Church. They also see the value of certain Jewish observances and practices for Hebrew Catholics such as the observance of Passover and other Jewish holy days usually adapted to reflect their Catholic Faith.

A Hebrew Catholic priest from Latin America

The fifth category are those who could be called Torah observant Hebrew Catholics or Catholic Jews. They also believe in the importance of the Jewish roots of the Catholic Faith so much so that they seek to maintain the Jewish traditions as a live thing in the Church rather than just as a teaching tool about a dead and ancient past. They see no opposition between Torah and Gospel, law and Grace. They also believe that the mitzvot are a God given spiritual discipline for Jewish people including those in the Church. They also see the ingrafting as not only the Jews as a people entering the Church but Judaism and its structures entering the Church and finding its home there as the Mother form of the Catholic Faith.

Both the fourth and fifth categories wish to see the Israelite or Jewish status preserved in the Church by the Jew who enters but also preserved for his descendants so that Jewish identity will not be lost in succeeding generations. They seek to end the regime of assimilation that has been in effect for the last 1500 years in regard to Jews entering the Church. These Hebrew Catholics take to heart the insights of Father Louis Bouyer a great Catholic theologian and scholar when he wrote: 

"Judeo-Christianity cannot be considered a transitory phase of abolished Christianity, forever surpassed by pagano-Christianity, which would have triumphed over it. The Christian synthesis must always be renewed by renewing its contact with the primary and, in a sense, definitive expression of the Gospel, in the categories and forms of Judaism. Judeo-Christianity, as Paul and Peter recognized and proclaimed, remains forever the mother form of Christianity, to which all other forms must always have recourse. It is therefore a weakness for the Church that Judeo-Christianity, from which it was born and from which it cannot free itself, no longer subsists in her except in tracings. It can be believed that she will not reach the ultimate stage of her development except by rediscovering it — fully living in her."[Louis Bouyer, L’Eglise de Dieu]