RABBI REJECTS POPE'S INVITATION
Rabbi brands conversion aim anti-Semitism ... Rabbi attacks Christian plea, were the captions that glaringly headlined newspaper clippings found in our mail box, containing reports of a Passover sermon delivered by Rabbi Judah Nadich of Congregation Kehillath, Brookline, Mass.
The Rabbi is reported in the clippings to have objected, as have some other rabbis, to the invitation of Pope Pius XII, who said at the beginning of this Jubilee Year, that the Holy Door was opened not only for Protestants, but also for Jews "who sincerely but vainly await the coming of the Messiah."
This Invitation of the Pope seemed to the Reverend gentleman to be "an attack upon Judaism that is in itself a form of anti-Semitism." He informed his congregation that "Jews who understand Judaism will never enter through Peter's door." We had dismissed the idea of commenting on the Rabbi's Passover sermon in this column, when the following request for an opinion of it caused a change of mind:
Dear David Goldstein:
Each week, when our cook, who is a Catholic, discards The Pilot, I retrieve it and surreptitiously (of necessity) read it. That is, your column only. No reflection intended upon the rest of the material.
At your convenience, I hope to read your reaction to the enclosed clipping. Thank you.
Very sincerely, Signed
Dear Sir: The declarations of Rabbi Nadich, as expressed in his Passover sermon, seem to be due to failure to note properly the primary cause of anti-Semitism; as well as lack of appreciation of the relationship of Judaism to Catholic Christianity.
An "Attack Upon Judaism" may be "a form of anti-Semitism," as the Rabbi says, though on very rare occasions. Anti-Semitism stems almost invariably from hostility to Jews, and not from opposition to Judaism. An attack upon Judaism would be an attack upon Christianity, just as an attack upon the Old Testament would be an attack upon the New Testament, in the sense that one is dependent upon the other, being the perfection of the application of its principles, the fulfillment of its prophecies.
The appeal of Pope Pius XII to the Jews, was based upon love, and not hostility. It was based upon the recognition that Jews are souls as precious in the sight of Our Lord Jesus, the Jew of Jews, as are the souls of other non-Catholics. Pope Pius XII, repeating the declaration of his predecessor Pope Pius XI, boldly declared to the Hitlerites that "Abraham is our prophet;" that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is our God; that "we (Catholics) are Semites spiritually." The treatment of Jews by the Popes during the Hitler-Mussolini outrageous opposition to them, was of highest Christian order, as was attested to by foremost Jews. It was the Christlike attitude of the Catholic Church toward the Jews that played a great part in causing Anton Zolli, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, to graduate from the Synagogue to the Church. Catholics who are anti-Semites, and there are some of them, are such in violation of the teachings and mandates of the Catholic Church, as are murderers, thieves, and political grafters, who happen to have been Baptized in the Catholic Church.
The declaration that "Jews who understand Judaism will never enter through Peter's door" is a charge of ignorance on the part of the great personages who graduated from the Synagogue to the Church. Would Rabbi Nadich charge that the passing of Rabbi Saul of Tarsus "through Peter's door" was due to lack of understanding Judaism? It was profound knowledge of Judaism that led Rabbi Saul, by God's grace, to become St. Paul, whom the Encyclopedia of Jewish Knowledge assumes to have been "the actual founder of Christianity" (p. 493); whom the Jewish Encyclopedia assumes to have been "the actual founder of the Christian Church" (Vol. XI, p. 79).
St. Paul believed, as have all intelligent Jews who passed "through Peter's door," that Judaism was, what an organic religion of God's making must be, a sacerdotal (priestly), authoritative religion. St. Paul believed, as have all intelligent converts from Jewry, that the Mosaic worship, through which Jews were reconciled with God, centered in communal sacrifices, that were offered to God in the Temple by the High Priest. St. Paul believed Judaism to be a prophetic religion, as have all converts from Jewry; that its prophecies centered in the coming of the Messiah (Christ) from the House of David in the tribe of Judah, of a Virgin, in the village of Bethlehem. St. Paul believed, as have all converts, that these prophecies were fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ, the Prophet Moses told the Jews to hear (Deut. 18:15); that the Messiah instituted a new priesthood with a new Sacrifice, in the Church that He established.
With the fulfillment of these prophecies, Judaism, that is Old Testament Judaism, became a thing of the historic past. The Jews ceased to have the three things basic to Judaism, a priesthood, an altar, and the Mosaic called-for sacrifices. Therefore Rabbi Nadich's congregants went to the synagogue, listened to him resentfully reject the blessed invitation of Pope Pius XII, being unable to do as did their holy forbears, march to the Temple during Passover with animals, to be sacrificed by the High Priest.
This is vital to an understanding of Judaism in relation to Catholicity. The High Priest was as the Encyclopedia of Jewish Knowledge says, "the supreme ecclesiastical authority and chief representative of Israel before God" (p. 284). Jews could trace their religion to its origin through their 83 High Priests, from Phannais, as Josephus says, back to Aaron, the first High Priest, who was consecrated by his brother, Moses, by the authority of God; just as Catholics trace the origin of their Church from Pope Pius XII back through 261 popes, to Peter, the first pope, whom Christ delegated His supreme ecclesiastical authority.
Knowledge of the basic principles of Judaism as recorded in the Old Testament, related to the principles in the New Testament, leads to an appreciation and not a denial of Judaism. It leads to a realization that Judaism has been divinely transformed, not entirely obliterated; that through the Expected of Israel, Christ Jesus, Judaism passed from its caterpillar to its butterfly stage of existence in the Catholic Church.
If ever Rabbi Judah Navich and his congregation are blest with the realization of this, as this columnist prayerfully hopes, they will appreciate the honor Pope Pius XII bestowed upon the Jews, when he invited them to pass "through Peter's door" into the church where all that was great and glorious in Judaism abides in perfection.
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