Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Benedict calls Jews to conversion

“Credo Apostolicam Ecclesiam”:
Wednesdays in Saint Peter’s Square

Benedict XVI has inaugurated a new cycle of catechesis. He has chosen as the theme the “unbreakable” bond between Christ and the Church. And in his first lesson, he made an appeal for the conversion of the Jews

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, March 16, 2006 – Last Wednesday morning, in a Saint Peter’s Square crammed with members of the faithful attending the usual weekly audience, Benedict XVI inaugurated a new cycle of catechesis.

The previous cycle had been begun in the spring of 2001 by John Paul II, and pope Joseph Ratzinger continued this and brought it to a conclusion.

In that cycle of catechesis, every Wednesday the pope commented on a psalm, or on a canticle from Lauds or Vespers. Benedict XVI concluded the series last February 15, with a catechesis on the “Magnificat.”

But for the new cycle of catechesis, which began on Wednesday, March 15, pope Ratzinger has chosen as his theme “the relationship between Christ and the Church, considering it from the experience of the apostles.”

In the inaugural catechesis, Benedict XVI defended the true essence of the Church from two “distortions.”

The first is the individualistic distortion of liberal theology, which found its most famous representation in the Protestant scholar Adolf von Harnack, but has also influenced Catholic culture to a great extent.

The second “distortion” is the one the pope summarized in “the slogan that was fashionable a few years ago, ‘Christ yes, the Church no’.”

But the strongest passages of the catechesis were those in which the pope explained the relationship between the institution of the apostles – twelve in number, like the twelve Jewish tribes – and the people of Israel.

The pope recalled Jesus’ intention “of founding the holy people again.” And then:

“By their mere existence, the twelve – called from different backgrounds – have become a summons to all Israel to conversion and to allow themselves to be reunited in a new covenant, full and perfect accomplishment of the old.”

This appeal from the pope for the conversion of the Jews – stated as still valid today – will certainly provoke discussion. In any case, it is perfectly consistent with the view expressed by Benedict XVI when meeting the Jews in the synagogue of Cologne, on August 19, 2005.

Jews and Christians – Ratzinger said on that occasion – remain joined by the one, eternal covenant established by God. And also therefore “in those areas in which, due to our profound convictions in faith, we diverge, and indeed precisely in those areas, we need to show respect and love for one another.” This begins with the chief distinction: belief or lack of belief in Jesus as the Messiah and the son of God.


This is very good news. True ecumenism is trying to resolve differences by bring souls back to the fold and not in pretending differences aren't there. The Church isn't going to compromise by denying Christ as the Messiah, so where are the other options (inadvance, piddling moral and religious relativism isn't an option)? I think it's great that Pope benedict has done this! My grandparents and aunts are Jewish, so I have not only great respect for the Jewish faith but I'm related to it by blood! But Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him. You know? So let's go preach that!