WHY JEWS BECOME CATHOLIC
Dear Mr. Solomon: The minds of men have been pictured "like a sheet of paper in this, that the impressions it receives oftenest, and retains longest, are the black ones." This applies to you, my Dear Sir, and to other Jews as well, who fail to see the Catholic Church as she is, the fulfillment of all that is great and glorious in Old Testament Judaism. Unfortunately, the "black" mental impression made upon you by the story of the Spanish Inquisition, as interpreted in Jewry, beclouds your vision.
Your impassioned query:---"What in heaven made you, a Jew, become a Catholic?" could be answered in a word:---The Messiah, the Jew of Jews, Jesus Christ, now reigning in "Heaven." This terse answer to your query embodies all that can be said to justify graduating from Judaism to Catholicity. But I will not dismiss your query so abruptly, considering that I am going to publish the reasons for becoming a Catholic in The Pilot. Thus may my reply be likely to be read not only by you, but by other Jews who also "glance at The Pilot now and then in the Public Library."
Your second query:---"How can a Jew become a member of a Church that persecuted the Jews in Spain?" will be dealt with after the answer to your first query appears in print. Suffice it to say, at present, that Jews become Catholics today for the same reasons that prompted Jews to become Catholics for more than 15 centuries before the Spanish Inquisition.
The Catholic Church, which may be called the Jewish Church glorified, is a Church of converts, and descendants of converts. First came Christ, the Jew of Jews; then come the Apostles, all Jews; then came the thousands of first members of the Catholic Church, all Jews; after which came converts from among the Gentiles. In fact there would not have been a Catholic Church were it not for the Jews. Hence, by becoming a Catholic, by being incorporated into the Mystical Body of the Messiah, I became a member of the Spiritual Society that originally belonged, in its entirety, to the children of Israel.
WHY DID I BECOME A CATHOLIC?
Because I believed in God; a personal monotheistic God; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Because I believed in the Old Testament; being firmly convinced that the principles and predictions of Moses and the other prophets therein, are revelations of God, as did my Jewish forebears.
Because I believed that the New Testament is a Divine record of perfected, elevated manifestations of Old Testament principles; a record of the fulfillment of Old Testament predictions.
Because I believed God, the Creator, made Adam and Eve, the first parents of the human race, from whom man received his human nature: That Adam, by sin, brought an affliction upon himself and caused his descendants to be born with the stain of this "Original Sin" upon their souls: That this sin of Adam closed the Gates of Heaven to man (Gen 3).
Because I believed that the all-merciful God promised to send a Redeemer, a Messiah (Gen. 3:15), to make reparation for the sin of Adam; thus to reopen the gates of Heaven that were closed to man. Also that the Messiah was to be born, of a virgin in the house that is in the family of a descendant of King David, in the City of David.
Because I believed that the existence of the One True God, means the existence of but one true religion, one true Church of God.
Because I believed that that religion, that Church of God, was the religion and Church of the Jews. It came from God, through Moses, to the children of Israel.
Because I believed that that religion was an organic, visible, authoritative, priestly, sacrificial religion, as a religion of God's making must be. Its priesthood was God's priesthood; its temple was God's Temple, which contained the one, and the only Altar upon which the God-commanded sacrifices, recorded in the Books of Moses, were and could be offered to the One True God (Exod. 20:24-26).
Because I believed that the authority of the God-made religion of Israel centered in the high priest, (Deut. 17:9-11), who alone is commissioned in the Mosaic Law to offer sacrifices (Levit. Chapters 1 to 7, inc.). The first high priest was Aaron, brother of Moses, ordained by Moses (Exod. 28); followed at death by a descendant of the house and family of Aaron. The high priest was "the supreme ecclesiastical authority and chief representative of Israel before God," as Vallentine's Jewish Encyclopedia says (p. 284). A list of 82 successive high priests, from Aaron to the time of the destruction of the Temple, is recorded in the Jewish Encyclopedia (Vol. VI, p. 391). Phineas, son of Samuel, was the last Jewish high priest (67-70 B.C.). He is listed in the Jewish Encyclopedia as "a man altogether unworthy" (Vol. 1, p. 381); because, as the Encyclopedia of Jewish Knowledge says, he was chosen as the result of political intrigue. He was not of high-priestly lineage nor as described was he in any way worthy of the office" (p. 428).
Because I believed that with the end of the Aaronic priesthood; the destruction of the Temple, which ended the offering of the Mosaic sacrifices, Old Testament Judaism, the Judaism of God, came to an end. Hence the Jews have not had a divinely delegated mediator with God; a judge, a Divine interpreter of the religious and moral law; a Church of God as is called for in the Book of Deuteronomy (17:8-12), for nearly nineteen hundred years. Gone forever is the Judaism which, as the Jewish Encyclopedia says, enabled the Jews to see "in the sanctuary the manifestation of God's presence among His people, and the priest the vehicle of Divine grace, the mediator through whose ministry the sins of the community, as the individual, could be atoned for" (Vol. 4, p. 125). Hence no one in present-day Jewry functions with Divine authority, as did the priests in pre-Christian times.
Because I did not believe that God left man without a spiritual guide, a divinely authorized mediator; without an interpreter of His will, so necessary to assist man in the battle of life, on to an eternity of bliss.
Because I believed in the coming of a personal Messiah, as did the holy in Israel; as do the Orthodox Jews today who, unfortunately, are like people waiting for the bark in which to sail, that is already on its way to its destination without them. They do not realize that He came in the person of Jesus; that He is "God Himself," Whom Isaiah, Israel's foremost messianic prophet, said "will come and save you" (35:4).
Dear Mr. Solomon: Additional reasons are here presented in answer to your query:---"What in Heaven made you, a Jew become a Catholic?" They will further enlighten you, I hope, and other Jews as well, who "glance at The Pilot now and then in the Public Library." They are:
Because I believed Jesus proved to be the Messiah He claimed to be, in answer to the impassioned demand of High Priest Caiphas at the trial before the Jewish Court, when the claim caused Him to be convicted of blasphemy (St. Matt. 26:63).
Because I believed Jesus proved to be the Messiah by His teachings, works, life, death, resurrection, and the fulfillment of His prophecies.
Because I believed Jesus to be the personage Isaiah said the Messiah would be, the "Emmanuel, God with us" (7:14); "God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace" (Chap. 9). The "Preexistence of the (coming) Messiah before creation" and "after the creation of the world," the Jewish Encyclopedia asserts to be Jewish teaching (Vol. 10, p. 183).
Because I believed in the "God with us," the preexistent Messiah, Whom Mary, the Lily of Israel, brought into the world, is true God as well as true man; the second person of the Triune God. That meant to Catholics, and therefore to me, that God is one substance in three distinct Persons:---the Father Creator, the Son Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit the Sanctifier. This plural concept of the One True God I believed to have been in the mind of Moses when, in the Book of Genesis, he recorded that "God said let US (Elohim) make man in OUR image and likeness." This plural name of God appears 2570 times in the Bible, whereas the singular (Eloah) is rare.
Because I believed in the following Old Testament scriptures, which must be accepted as of God to be a Jew in the religious sense of the term. They are the "scriptures" that Jesus told the Jews of Jerusalem gave "testimony" that He is the Messiah (St. John 5:39).
Because I believed in Old Testament description of the coming Messiah fitted Jesus, and Him only. He was born in Bethlehem, the City of David (Michaes 5:2); under the Star of Jacob (Num. 24:17); of the family of David (Paril. 17:]1-14); in the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10); at the exact time foretold of the coming of the Anointed One in the 9th chapter of Daniel. Jesus was to be adored by kings, who would come bearing gifts (Ps. 71:10), He was hailed with hosannas while riding on an ass (Zach. 9:9); falsely accused (Ps. 108:2-3); betrayed (Ps. 40); scourged and spat upon (Isa. 50:6); given gall and vinegar to drink (Ps. 68:22); led like a sheep to slaughter (Ps. 40:10); His hands and feet were to be pierced (Ps. 21:17); and crucified (Ps. 21:14-17). Yet His sepulcher was glorious, for, as Isaiah said, He would rise from the dead (Isa. 11:10), as He did.
"What in Heaven made me, a Jew, become a Catholic?" God is the answer, Who, speaking through Moses, called upon me, and you, and all the other Israelites in the world, to "harken to the prophet of thy nation (Israel)" who would be "like unto me" (Deut. 18:15). That prophet is Christ, Who proved to be more like Moses than any other person in the history of Israel. Both expounded basic religious principles; both were legislators; both wrought miracles; both were mediators between man and God the Father in Heaven; both were rejected by their people; and both ended their lives in apparent failure.
Yet, Jesus was greater than Moses, in that much taught by Moses was of a temporary nature, being binding only until their fulfillment by the coming prophet, Christ. Moses taught the thou shalt nots; Christ taught the blessed art thous, which may be called the negative and positive of Divine teachings. Moses spoke to God the Father in a cloud; Christ saw Him face to face. Moses revealed the nature of God, the "I Am What Am;" whereas Christ claimed to be the "I AM," and proved it by His life teachings and works. Moses declared the terrors of sin; Christ saved from sin; Moses sinned; Christ was sinless; Moses offered the blood of beasts for sacrifice; Christ offered His Own Blood for sacrifice; Moses selected 12 spies (Num. 13); whereas Christ selected 12 Apostles; Moses selected Joshua as his successor; whereas Christ designated Peter as His Ambassador Plenipotentiary.
Moses brought a covenant obtained from God on Mt. Sinai for the children of Israel; whereas Christ, the "One Shepherd" whom Ezechiel said would come to shepherd a flock from all parts of the earth (34:23), instituted the new covenant foretold by Jeremiah, a universal covenant (31).
This new covenant, which was to succeed the Mosaic covenant, embodied a Church universal in character, which is the Catholic Church that Christ established. It took the place of the Church of an exclusive people, the children of Israel. Christ instituted a priesthood for His Church, a priesthood foretold to be according to the Order of Melchisedech (Ps. 109). It was to be---and is---a priesthood without regard to the lineage of its members. This priesthood was substituted by Christ for the geneological priesthood of Aaron, the sacrificial power and authority of which ended when the thick blue and purple and scarlet veil, hung in the Holy of Holies, was providentially rent from top to bottom (Exod. 26; St. Matt. 28:51).
I submit, My Dear Mr. Solomon, that an unbiased study of this lengthy reply to your query: "What in Heaven made you, a Jew, become a Catholic?" ought to convince you that it is belief in Old Testament Judaism, and not a repudiation of Judaism. It is love of the faith of Moses and the prophets, that is the intellectual and moral basis for graduating from the Synagogue to the Church. The matter herewith presented, taken largely from Jewish sources of the highest order, ought to convince you of the anomaly of remaining a lost sheep of Israel, instead of being incorporated into the Mystical Sheepfold, the Catholic Church, in which all that is great and glorious in Old Testament Judaism, in principle and prediction, manifests in its fullness.