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US Catholics soften their position on Jews.
August 13, 2002 8:29 AM   Subscribe

US Catholics soften their position on Jews. Of course, there's no mention of the Vatican approving of this. It certainly blows a hole in the "Christ is the only way to God" line that the church has always taken.
posted by Fenriss (57 comments total)

 
Such a permissiveness can only cause harm. Standards. Maintain the old ways rather than yielding to politically correct nonsense in the hope of making everyone happy. Big mistake.
posted by Postroad at 8:56 AM on August 13, 2002


i wasn't aware that our position was "hard" against the jews, fenriss. there aren't many evangelizing catholics in my area; there never has been in my time. remember when the church went back to galileo's theory, finally recognzing it or accepting him back into the church (i don't remember)? this seems similar: an official acceptance of what was already de facto practice.

catholics are not so hard-line, fenriss. perhaps you'd like to read the writings of thomas merton: he was pretty instrumental in inter-religious dialogue involving catholicism, and interesting besides. (the biographical information on him could be better on the internet, but here are two biographies.)
posted by moz at 9:06 AM on August 13, 2002


I'm just tired of the damn Catholics burning crosses in my front yard and stealing my mezuzah. Maybe this will tone down all the hate a little bit.
posted by luriete at 9:10 AM on August 13, 2002


It certainly blows a hole in the "Christ is the only way to God" line that the church has always taken.

An reading of the gospels would have done that. In fact actually reading the gospels blows more holes in the average christian theology than a cluster bomb in a window factory.
posted by revbrian at 9:15 AM on August 13, 2002


I don't quite know what to think of this document. It explicitly states that Jews are saved: "Thus, while the Catholic Church regards the saving act of Christ as central to the process of human salvation for all, it also acknowledges that Jews already dwell in a saving covenant with God."

But from what I can tell, the Bishops think that they're not forging any new ground. They're relying upon last year's statement by Cardinal Kasper. Yet that statement, in turn, was an attempt to soften the outrage over the Vatican's conservative declaration
that the Catholic Church was the one true church. ("...it is clear that it would be contrary to the faith to consider the Church as one way of salvation alongside those constituted by the other religions, seen as complementary to the Church or substantially equivalent to her, even if these are said to be converging with the Church toward the eschatological kingdom of God.") Even this statement seems to say that non-Catholics can be saved, and even non-Christians.

So in a sense, not much has changed, but it seems that the American bishops are changing the emphasis.
posted by ptermit at 9:21 AM on August 13, 2002


The Catholic Church is famous for changing its emphasis. The truth of the matter is that Catholicism, while painfully slow moving, is much more open and flexible than it is generally given credit for.
posted by Orkboi at 10:09 AM on August 13, 2002


Now if they could just manage the whole covering-for-child-rapists thing.
posted by owillis at 10:10 AM on August 13, 2002


But Oliver, they've already softened their position on child rapists.
posted by anildash at 10:16 AM on August 13, 2002


A reading of the gospels would have done that.

What, the part that says "...no one comes to the Father but through me."?

I actually think this means something a little different, but you can't just say, "Read the Gospels, they never imply that!"
posted by mblandi at 11:09 AM on August 13, 2002


But Oliver, they've already softened their position on child rapists.
Ah, yes, Progress!
posted by owillis at 12:18 PM on August 13, 2002


Now if they could just manage the whole covering-for-child-rapists thing.
...
But Oliver, they've already softened their position on child rapists.

Yeah, and I sure wish Islam would crack down on their people blowing up buildings.

Way to propogate stereotypes you two, I'm sure gonna listen up hard next time you fight against prejudice.
posted by cCranium at 12:24 PM on August 13, 2002


As far as I know, Islam has no central "pope" to crack down or even condemn the actions of a few. The catholic church has shown a systemic disregard for the rights of abuse victims and a criminal desire to keep such things hidden. Direct from the pope.

It ain't a stereotype if it's true.
posted by owillis at 12:30 PM on August 13, 2002


An reading of the gospels would have done that.

Er...where? Saint Paul throws a spanner into the works in Romans, sure (see 9:22-32), but I don't see how the Synoptics or John would allow you to arrive at this conclusion.

In fact actually reading the gospels blows more holes in the average christian theology than a cluster bomb in a window factory.

That's true of any theology's relationship to its original sacred text(s).
posted by thomas j wise at 12:35 PM on August 13, 2002


A reading of the gospels would have done that.

I have to agree with mblandi and thomas j wise. Only the most strained and poor reading of any of the gospels would support the notion that they "blow a hole" in the historic Christian teaching that Christ is the only way to God.

We can certainly debate the credibility of the gospels (or the rest of the New Testament) on that point, or opt out of agreeing with it. An honest reading of the gospels, however, leaves us with no other choice: as far as the authors were concerned, Christ was the only way to God.

We may not like how that sounds, but that is certainly what they say.
posted by footballrabi at 12:39 PM on August 13, 2002


[What, the part that says "...no one comes to the Father but through me."?]

May well be referring to his lifestyle, for a more direct reference try this?

[That's true of any theology's relationship to its original sacred text(s).]

I wouldn't argue with that either.
posted by revbrian at 12:41 PM on August 13, 2002


It ain't a stereotype if it's true.

Oh, right, judging a group of people by the behaviour of it's most prominent and public members is entirely appropriate and acceptable. Painting a billion or two people as loving of the pedophiliacs just because an organizational structure outside their control is handling things poorly is in no way offensive, ignorant, narrow minded or stereotyping.

My bad.
posted by cCranium at 12:44 PM on August 13, 2002


I thought it was pretty clear than Anil and owillis were speaking in regards to the Catholic Church as the institution, and not of its members. As such, I think their analysis, though presented in a joking and crude manner, is fair, given the church's history of buying off complainants and the more recent lack of action to punish the offending priests and their enablers higher in the hierarchy.
posted by daveadams at 12:57 PM on August 13, 2002


I thought it was pretty clear than Anil and owillis were speaking in regards to the Catholic Church as the institution, and not of its members.

Fair enough. I didn't read it like that, however if I did misinterpret I certainly apologize for the confusion.

I guess I'm just easily suprised, and seeing two strong evangelists for respect take weak and easy pot shots caught me off guard.
posted by cCranium at 1:04 PM on August 13, 2002


What part of "the pope" or "the catholic church" didn't you understand?
posted by owillis at 1:23 PM on August 13, 2002


"May well be referring to his lifestyle"

Certainly. That's sympathetic with what I see in it, but there are many (probably more) authorities out there that see this in a strict way.
posted by mblandi at 1:36 PM on August 13, 2002


What part of "the pope" or "the catholic church" didn't you understand?

"Now if they could just manage the whole covering-for-child-rapists thing."

What part of "pope" or "the catholic church" is in that comment?
posted by cCranium at 1:37 PM on August 13, 2002


Owillis, you comment had nothing to do with the topic at hand, and it was just an excuse to level a cheap shot. I'm not at all impressed with you.
posted by Avogadro at 1:43 PM on August 13, 2002


Owillis, you comment had nothing to do with the topic at hand, and it was just an excuse to level a cheap shot. I'm not at all impressed with you.

That's true, and the tone was awfully cruel given the vagueness of the language. I defended your comments owillis, but don't think I defended your attitude. I'm with cC and Avo in thinking you really should step back and examine your tone. If your goal is to make a point, there are a lot more effective ways than insulting your opponent*.


*surely there's a better word. If not... *shoots oliver* :)
posted by daveadams at 1:47 PM on August 13, 2002


May well be referring to his lifestyle, for a more direct reference try this?

At the serious risk of taking this discussion into minutia...that's just the kind of poor and strained reading that I'm talking about. Of course, if we read on, we see that Jesus' description troubled the lawyer (who was only trying to test him in the first place), and his immediate response if self-justification. The point of of this narrative is that this kind standard is impossible to attain. Thus, the need for a (gulp) Savior outside of oneself.

As far as Luke was concerned, no one could "be good" themselves into the kingdom. That's why he records Jesus talking about having to die to save the lost.

You can take snippets out of context and make the gospels say just about anything you want them to. Read as stories, however, their meaning is explicit. We don't have to like it, but we should be honest about it.
posted by footballrabi at 1:48 PM on August 13, 2002


I'm just tired of the damn Catholics burning crosses in my front yard and stealing my mezuzah.

I'm not sure if this is a serious comment or not, but the KKK is not a Catholic organization. In fact I had a white, Catholic relative who move to the south and found a bringing cross in his yard. As far as I know the "faith" of the KKK is a conservative denomination of Protestantism.

This announcement sounds like a trend in the Catholic that has been going on since the sixties. Would the Vatican approve?

Citing teachings dating back to the Second Vatican Council, and statements by Pope John Paul II throughout his papacy, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops declared unequivocally that the biblical covenant between Jews and God is valid and therefore Jews do not need to be saved through faith in Jesus.

That quote says it all. The current Pope, while conservative on issues of dogma and church law, seems to be very open to reaching out to different religions. This makes me tend to think that he would approve of such an pronouncement.
posted by Bag Man at 1:56 PM on August 13, 2002


The church sees it as okay to relax evangelizing to Jews, but remove priests who are molesting children? "What are you, crazy?"

I'm not exactly fond of child rapists or an organization that not only protects them but tries to hide it. As long as that continues, it invalidates every single good thing the church does.

And I'm really not hanging around Metafilter to impress anyone.
posted by owillis at 2:16 PM on August 13, 2002


I'm just tired of the damn Catholics burning crosses in my front yard and stealing my mezuzah.

Bag Man:I'm not sure if this is a serious comment or not


I think Bag Man just failed his Turing test.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:20 PM on August 13, 2002


Wait a minute. It's okay to make fun Mormons, sometimes okay to make fun of Catholics, but never okay to make fun of Islam?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:29 PM on August 13, 2002


Actually I was actually heartened that the pope actually made one of the harsher statements about the issue. However the pope evidently is limited by (dare I say it) Byzantine layers of beurocracy so the American Bishops had room to debate some more. The more I read about church politics the more it looks like the pope is little more than an rellic put on display for ceremonial occasions but removed from the everyday politics.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:56 PM on August 13, 2002


Lord Chancellor: basically, yeah. The Mormons and Catholics don't retaliate by crashing planes into your buildings.

*runs*
posted by ODiV at 3:02 PM on August 13, 2002


Every religion should be made fun of as much as possible. I'm sure God doesn't mind, as long as you do it with good intentions.
posted by cell divide at 3:07 PM on August 13, 2002


Read as stories, however, their meaning is explicit. We don't have to like it, but we should be honest about it.

Obviously it isn't explicit or we would have the same understanding of it. I'm comfortable with my views on the matter and certainly hope you are comfortable with yours.

As for the veiled accusation of dishonesty, it's imho rather unchristian of you.

P.S. For what it's worth - I understood what owillis meant. Chill out people. There are quite enough knee-jerk reactionaries around here.
posted by revbrian at 3:18 PM on August 13, 2002


I think Bag Man just failed his Turing test

What's that all about?

I'll admit I don't know anything people stealing mezuzahs. Being part Jewish, I find the stealing of a mezuzah appalling, but I've never heard of Catholics doing this. The KKK is not Catholic organization and was not founded by Catholics. (The KKK was obvious reference and only group that I know of that burns crosses is the KKK)

PinkStainlessTail, what's your point?
posted by Bag Man at 3:18 PM on August 13, 2002


bag man, he was joking!
posted by amberglow at 3:31 PM on August 13, 2002


I thought this was old news until I saw the recent date on the article. Like the article says, pretty much since Vatican II the Catholic church has softened it's stand on Jews--previously they instructed their members to pray for our (Jews) souls. I actually had a priest tell me "as long as you believe in G-d, it doesn't really matter". Now THAT impressed me!
posted by RunsWithBandageScissors at 4:56 PM on August 13, 2002


if only we could get those other christians to go away and quit pestering us!
posted by amberglow at 5:03 PM on August 13, 2002


I actually had a priest tell me "as long as you believe in G-d, it doesn't really matter". Now THAT impressed me!

This has been the attitude of every Catholic layman of my acquaintance. My older Catholic friends in their sixties, who went to parochial schools well pre-Vatican II, don't always remember the Church being quite so friendly to Jews, but that was then and this is now...

The KKK is not Catholic organization and was not founded by Catholics.

It's brutally anti-Catholic, in fact, as someone pointed out above. When I look for old anti-Catholic books on eBay (for a book project--if some archaeologist digs up my library a thousand years from now, she's going to wonder why a Jew had all this 19th c. evangelical philosemitic and anti-Catholic stuff!), I regularly come across KKK and neo-Confederate "no Popery" literature. Yecch.

Read as stories, however, their meaning is explicit. We don't have to like it, but we should be honest about it.

While I disagree with revbrian's reading in this instance, he does have a point about non-explicitness. If it were explicit, we wouldn't have a gazillion Christian denominations disagreeing about everything from justification by faith instead of works to whether or not remarriage after divorce is a sin.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:21 PM on August 13, 2002


but never okay to make fun of Islam?

Yeah, the last time I talked bad about Islam the athiests here had a field day with me... I still don't understand why. Oh yeah, maybe because I'm a Christian. Also, it's 'racist' to decry Islam, because most muslims are arabs, or because the religion is arabic, or something... I don't know. I still think Islam is a false religion *ducks*

I wonder what Messianic Jews think about this Catholic statement.
posted by insomnyuk at 6:12 PM on August 13, 2002


Messianic Jews are usually called christians, insomnyuk

ducking too
posted by amberglow at 6:29 PM on August 13, 2002


I wonder what Messianic Jews think about this Catholic statement.

Actually, if this site is any indication, they have a remarkably low opinion of the Roman Catholic Church. They'd probably think this was typically unscriptural behavior on the RCC's part. This page, from the same site, is even more bluntly anti-Catholic. See also their attitude to Christmas, which shares considerable affinities with evangelical Protestant attacks on Roman Catholic "paganism."

Messianic Jews are usually called christians, insomnyuk

They don't consider themselves so (see links above). Granted, my mother usually refers to this crowd as "Christians with an identity crisis," and there are theological problems with their position, but they really aren't akin to any contemporary Christian denomination.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:33 PM on August 13, 2002


most muslims are arabs

The noisy ones seem to be, but they're in the numeric minority. There are far more South/Southeast Asian and African Muslims at this point.

Of course I don't see why Islam was even brought into this discussion.

*runs
*ducks*

Shits?
posted by donkeyschlong at 6:41 PM on August 13, 2002


I agree with your mother wholeheartedly, and "Most adult Messianic Jews converted from traditional Orthodox or Conservative Judaism into Protestantism (i.e., became Hebrew Christians) and then went back to Judaism, while retaining their belief that Yeshua is G-d's promised Messiah."is just one of many interesting statements on that site....

Didn't all early christians celebrate jewish holidays? I thought it took hundreds and hundreds of years before holidays like Christmas were actually established as a required celebration...

From my ignorant perspective (outside of christianity and catholicism), no christian denomination has anything in common with another except for the jesus thing...
posted by amberglow at 6:41 PM on August 13, 2002


i really dont see why people get together and produce

these long winded theological declarations....

maybe its something to do on a weekend or something..

a bunch of people sitting in a room congratulating each

other on how spiritual they are.....

i liked the page where it talked about evangelisation

being a wee bit more than just running out onto the street with a guitar.......its really just about being nice to each other rather than getting into a fight trying to change
somebody elses mind......

a prize for anyone who produces an ark please.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:15 PM on August 13, 2002


we're all tribal peoples sgt.

I know this guy named noah who can get an ark for you wholesale...but how big may be the real question
; >
posted by amberglow at 7:31 PM on August 13, 2002


Didn't all early christians celebrate jewish holidays?
Amber--Christians actually changed their sabbath to Sunday from Saturday so they wouldn't be sharing the sabbath with us Jews.
posted by RunsWithBandageScissors at 7:35 PM on August 13, 2002


Runs, was it the earliest christians or later in history?
posted by amberglow at 7:37 PM on August 13, 2002


...or were we smelly or something?
posted by amberglow at 7:38 PM on August 13, 2002


I had an ark of the covenant. . . but I left in Temple of Solomon I (or II, I forget) and some guys ran off with it. I heard it kills Nazis.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:01 PM on August 13, 2002


Amber--Christians actually changed their sabbath to Sunday from Saturday so they wouldn't be sharing the sabbath with us Jews.

Well, no, "sabbath" is the seventh day of the week, as in Saturday. Technically speaking, there is no "Christian sabbath." That is to say, Christians do have a Saturday in their week, but they do not generally celebrate anything in particular on that day. (This may seem like nit-picking, but think about how odd it would seem to you for someone to refer to the sabbath as "the Jewish Sunday.")

Runs, was it the earliest christians or later in history?

From what we can tell, it began shortly after the Resurrection, which itself happened, coincidentally, on a Sunday. ;)

The practice of assembling together on the first day of the week began the week after Christ's resurrection had taken place (John 20:26). The practice of gathering together on the first day of the week is also mentioned in Acts 20:7 and I Corinthians 16:2.

That page has some other corroborating information. Of course, it also commits the error of saying the early Christians "established the first day of the week as the sabbath day" (groan). That's like saying A=G; there should be a law against that sort of thing!

(I am an apathetic atheist now but was raised in a strict fundamentalist sect.)
posted by kindall at 8:50 PM on August 13, 2002


Sunday is considered the last day of the week in many countries.
posted by redfoxtail at 9:14 PM on August 13, 2002


Sunday became the Christian day of rest soon after the death of Jesus. About year 321 it became official--the year Constantine, the emperor of Rome and the first Roman emperor to embrace Christianity declared that Sunday is a legal holiday and the official day of worship for all Christians, thus replacing the Sabbath as proclaimed in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8). Like Kindall said, it was the day in Christian tradition that Jesus rose from the dead. The change of the day of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday was a sign of the complete break that was taking place between Christianity and Judaism, its mother religion. It was another way of the Christian community asserting its independence. Seventh Day Adventists continue to also observe the sabbath on Saturday because of the commandment, "Remember the Sabbath Day" refers to the seventh day of the week.
Above info. from "The Second Jewish Book of Why".
posted by RunsWithBandageScissors at 10:01 PM on August 13, 2002


owillis: The church sees it as okay to relax evangelizing to Jews, but remove priests who are molesting children? "What are you, crazy?"

I'm not exactly fond of child rapists or an organization that not only protects them but tries to hide it. As long as that continues, it invalidates every single good thing the church does.


Actually, they have removed them from public service and forbid them from wearing clerical garb, among other things. The church is going from the belief that these "fallen" priests are not evil, they're sick. Also, don't forget that one of the corner stones of the RC Church is that forgiveness is divine. These priests once felt a calling to serve the church. They have now been put into a position that they may still serve some function but not with the public.

Now, I don't belive it's right for them to cover it up, but you have to keep in mind that priests take vows. One of them is to protect the church. I'm glad they finally came forward and are starting to make amends, but priests have rules they must follow. Just like if you were to confess to a murder while receiving Penance, the priest can never speak of it again.

Wow, won't my wife be proud, I'm defending the church. Note: I'm an ordained Pagan minister.
posted by lasthrsman at 10:03 PM on August 13, 2002


Actually, they have removed them from public service and forbid them from wearing clerical garb, among other things.

Barely, and only with the harsh light of public scrutiny on them. They have preferred to move them from branch to branch, often in situations where they have easy access to children again.

One of them is to protect the church.
I would think the whole "standing against sin, not protecting pedophiles" thing would trump protecting the church.
posted by owillis at 10:27 PM on August 13, 2002


Barely, and only with the harsh light of public scrutiny on them. They have preferred to move them from branch to branch, often in situations where they have easy access to children again.

True for a long time. Yes. But no longer true. Again, I'm not saying that the RCC doesn't deserve the public's outrage, I'm just saying that they are finally doing something about it within the laws and beliefs they have.

One of them is to protect the church.
I would think the whole "standing against sin, not protecting pedophiles" thing would trump protecting the church.


Again, I'll go back to my example. Let's say you killed someone. You are not currently a suspect. If you go to confession and tell a priest what you did, he is unable to repeat it to ANYONE. In fact, to do so would mean INSTANT excommunication that is only able to be lifted by the Pope. He would be protecting a murderer. Even if you said that you were going to kill again, he could say NOTHING. A vow is a vow. Those that take their vows seriously (and most do) must abide by them as best as possible.

Again...not saying they're right...far from it. But I wanted to offer that perspective to you.
posted by lasthrsman at 10:47 PM on August 13, 2002


I think its appalling the abuse of one's flock, luckily other denominations and indeed all other world religions have such immaculate reputations, in fact you could say they are beyond reproach.
posted by johnnyboy at 4:50 AM on August 14, 2002


thanks kin and runs! any book recommendations or authoritative websites are welcomed...
posted by amberglow at 5:49 AM on August 14, 2002


I'm just tired of the damn Catholics burning crosses in my front yard and stealing my mezuzah.

Bag Man:I'm not sure if this is a serious comment or not

I think Bag Man just failed his Turing test.

PinkStainlessTail, what's your point?
posted by Bag Man at 3:18 PM PST on August 13


Amberglow: bag man, he was joking!


Yup. This is prolly utterly irrelevant now (if indeed it ever was). Luriete's original comment was hilarious specifically because it was totally ridiculous (the bit about burning crosses was obviously inflammatory). You were concerned about the conflation of Catholic Church and KKK, since as you quite rightly point out Catholics are often targeted by the Klan. However, in your haste to correct this misunderstanding, I felt you missed Luriete's humor. Since this is behavior that could be indicative of an AI, I made a joke referring to you failing the Turing test. I did not mean to support the notion that the Catholic church was synonymous with the KKK. Indeed, it's one of the shames of my family that we have at least one besheeted skeleton in our closet and he was a Baptist.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:31 AM on August 14, 2002


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