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.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Catholic Jewish Trauma and Suffering: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection


I don't think many Gentile Catholics realise how traumatic it can be for Jewish people who accept Yeshua as the Messiah and the rejection they receive from many of their family and friends. Many brand them as apostates and betrayers of their people and history. The more orthodox a background they come from the worse it is. 

There are numerous secret believers in Yeshua in the Jewish community whose entire lives and the lives of their family would be ruined and destroyed if they openly became a Christian. Often Gentiles will give them pious advice that one should be ready to sacrifice all for Yeshua while they themselves have never faced such a decision. 

The intense suffering of such Jews can lead to serious depression and blackness of a deepest dark night such as occurred in the life of  the Venerable Francis Libermann (1802-1852). The suffering and disappointed he caused his father who was a Chief Rabbi of Saverne played on his mind all his life. He would fall into the darkest of mental nights of anguish. He shattered his father's life long dream that his son would be a rabbi like himself. The son of Theodore Herzl a father of the Zionist movement became a believer in Yeshua and a Catholic but suffered greatly and eventually committed suicide. Hans Herzl was received into the Church at the Chapel of Our Lady of Sion, the home of the Catholic Guild of Israel, on 19 October 1924.

Not only do those who become Catholics suffer at being branded as apostates and betrayers by their fellow Jews but they then receive little compassion or understanding by many of the Gentiles in the Church they join. Many Catholics of Jewish background, especially in the past, kept that they were Jewish hidden. Those who were bold enough to maintain their Jewishness in the Church were/are looked down upon as weak brethren who are clinging to their Jewish customs like dog to its vomit or a pig to its swill. They just haven't realised their new Pauline freedom from all Jewish bondage- goes their reasoning. They also seem to think that any keeping of Jewish customs is saying that they believe they are necessary for salvation. Jews keeping Jewish customs is for sanctification not salvation.

These are some of the reasons that Jews in the Church need their own community with its own structures where they can be allowed to be fully Jewish and fully Catholic. Many Jews in the Church can end up going back and forth between the Church and Synagogue due to their double calling or vocation that cries from the depth of their being. Some will immerse themselves in the Gentile Catholicism but a part of their Jewish soul feels empty because it is not being fed. Others return to the Synagogue and immerse themselves in their Jewishness but they hunger for their Messiah and the riches of the sacramental life. Many Catholic Jews are in a sense crucified between the Church and Synagogue and misunderstood, judged and marginalised by both certain non-Messianic Jews and certain types of Gentile Christians.

Jews are an emotional warm hearted people who like to vigorously discuss and they often struggle in a rather less emotional environment of solemn Gentile piety and politeness. They often feel like they have talked too much or put their foot in it when mixing with their fellow Gentile Catholics. I think this is why when Jews from the different churches and from the Messianic movement get together in the Helsinki conversations on Jews in the Church that a special bond forms. They "get" one another. It is not the Gentile Catholics fault that they just don't "get" it, they are unable in most cases. 

A Hebrew Catholic friend of mine Ronda Chervin tells how she left a certain American Catholic community. They asked her why she was leaving. She responded "Because I want to talk". They said, "That's Ok what do you want to talk about?". she replied, "I don't want to talk about anything in particular I just want to talk!!!!". 

Hans Herzl son of the Zionist Theodore Herzl as a 12 year old British school boy.

Herzl's son Hans, mentioned above, left a suicide note that said: 

"A Jew remains a Jew, no matter how eagerly he may submit himself to the disciplines of his new religion, how humbly he may place the redeeming cross upon his shoulders for the sake of his former coreligionists, to save them from eternal damnation: a Jew remains a Jew ... I can't go on living. I have lost all trust in God. All my life I've tried to strive for the truth, and must admit today at the end of the road that there is nothing but disappointment. Tonight I have said Kaddish for my parents—and for myself, the last descendant of the family. There is nobody who will say Kaddish for me, who went out to find peace—and who may find peace soon ... My instinct has latterly gone all wrong, and I have made one of those irreparable mistakes, which stamp a whole life with failure. Then it is best to scrap it." 

He wrote this and then shot himself on the day of the funeral of his sister Paulina who had died of a drug overdose. His other sister Trude was to die in 1943 in a Nazi death camp. Maybe if he had the hope of a warm, vibrant and loving Catholic Jewish community or ordinariate supported by their fellow Gentile Catholics, he and others like him would have chosen a different end. Father Elias Friedman the founder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics saw the need of such a community to alleviate the alienation of Jews in the Church from their Jewish heritage and to end the "regime of assimilation" which had been the policy of the Catholic Church since the demise of the mother Church of Jerusalem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this enlightening post. Many Jewish people do indeed pay a great price. Such a sad story about Hans - may God bless his soul.