Mr. Israel Haber
Miami Beach, Fla.
Dear Sir: Eighteen months have passed since I answered your inquiry about things doctrinally and biblically Catholic. Your five page, single spaced, type written response, received a couple of days ago, evidences the fact that you failed to hold at bay your inherited and acquired Israelitish misconception of Catholic Church teachings; which would have enabled you to examine objectively the contents of my communication.
Your main doctrinal, biblical contention, the one of import, is regarding the Trinity, which you assume to mean belief in "three Gods". Thus you entirely disregard the fact called to your attention, that the Catholic Church positively declared in the Athanasian Creed, adopted in the fourth Christian century, that "there are not three Gods, but one God"; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; that Catholics "are forbidden by their religion to say that there are three Gods, or three Lords."
Very likely your rejection of belief in the triunity of God is due to the realization that it embodies belief in the Second Person therein, the predicted Messiah, Jesus.
Your failure to understand the teachings of the Catholic Church is no doubt due, in great part, to failure to understand the Judaism of the Old Testament, which you claim to have intensely studied. For instance, you cocksuredly declare that "God always speaks of Himself as One"; that "God speaks of Himself as 'I' and 'My', and related pronouns in the singular, and never 'We' or 'Us'."
You must have slipped by Genesis 1:26, in which Moses records God as saying "Let US make man in OUR image"; and Genesis 11:17 in which God says "Let US go down (to earth) and confound their language." You also skipped Isaiah 9, in which "a child is (foretold to be) born to US". He is therein prophesied to be what Jesus is, "Wonderful", the "Prince of Peace", the "Mighty God".
If you say the universal Jewish prayer in Hebrew, as do Synagogue Jews, recorded in Deuteronomy 6:4, then do you express belief in what you deny in your communication, the plurality of Persons in God. The words are "She-ma Yisrael Adonai Elohenu, Adonai Ehod". The literal translation is Hear Israel Jehovah GODS One. Adonai is His name; Elohenu is His plural existence; the singular of Elohenu is Eloah or EI.
If ever you were blest, as I have been, with passing through Baptism into the Church that is Judaism full-blossomed, you could continue to say that foremost Jewish prayer, as did Jesus (St. Mark 12:29), while making the sign of the Cross, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit".
The sympathy for me, expressed in your communication, is based upon the assumption that "in forsaking Judaism for Catholicism" I "have exchanged gold for dross, illumination for half light". That declaration, based upon misunderstanding of both the Judaism of the great in Israel and of Catholicism, could be said of a Jew of over 19 centuries ago, who forsaked Judaism for any of the religions that existed during those pre-Christian ages; that is during the time of Moses and Aaron until the closing days of Jesus in Palestine; but not during the Christian ages in which Old Testament Judaism has not existed.
Judaism was, but is not now, the one and the only God-revealed, God-instituted religion. That God-made Judaism, recorded in the Old Testament, was an organic, priestly, authoritative, revealing, sacrificial religion. Its authority centered largely in the High Priest, just as the authority of the Church the Messiah established centers in the Pope.
The High Priest "alone offered the sacrifices for the sins of the people", as the Jewish Encyclopedia says (Vol. 6, p. 390). He officiated at the only Altar the Mosaic Law permitted (Exod. 20: 24-25; Lev. 17: 8-9). The Jewish priesthood ended during the first century with Phannias, son of Samuel, the 81st occupant of the Chair of Aaron. This happened, as the Jewish Encyclopedia says, "when the Jewish state perished" (Vol. 11, p. 43). The Temple and its Altar were destroyed, "not a stone upon stone was left standing", as Jesus predicted (St. Matt. 24:2)
The destruction of the Temple and its Altar, followed by the ending of the priestly tribe of Levi with its family of Aaron, and the ending of the existence of the tribe of Judah with its family of David, in which the Messiah was foretold to be born, evidences the indisputable historic fact that the Judaism of the Old Testament ceased to exist. Hence anyone who graduates from the Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, or Reconstructionist Judaisms of today into the Catholic Church, passes from dross to gold; from half-light to full spiritual enlightenment.
The ending of Old Testament Judaism was providential. It had fulfilled its glorious mission. That mission ended with the coming of the predicted Messiah, in the Person of Jesus; Who instituted a new priesthood, and the New Sacrifice predicted by Malachi (chap. 1).
It were well to ponder the fact, my dear Miami Beach opponent, that both the Old and the New Testaments obligate man to submit, in matters of faith and morals, to a God-made Church, the will of which is expressed through its priesthood. Such authority, once expressed through the God-instituted Jewish Church, has been exercised by the Catholic Church since "the veil in the Temple was rent from top to bottom" (St. Matt. 27:51).
You know, My Dear Sir, that synagogues have Rabbis, not priests. "The Rabbi is not a priest", says Joseph Leftwich, formerly Editor of the Jewish Telegraph Agency, proceeding to say that "the priesthood passed with the Temple. Even the rabbinical diploma, unlike the Christian ordination, confers no sacred power and is not a license. It is simply a testimonial of ability of the holder to act as a Rabbi if he wishes to be elected" by the members of a synagogue." ("What Will Happen To The Jews").
No one speaks with authority in any of the Judaisms of the world today; as did the High Priest and Sanhedrin during the pre-Christian ages. Rabbi Louis Epstein says in the Brandeis Avuka Volume, edited by Rabbi Joseph S. Shubow (both of Massachusetts), that "when a dispute of the interpretation of the law arises, there is no authoritative body to give final decision. Authority is contained in the dead letter book, not in any living individual or organized body."
Further evidence of the fact that the Judaisms of today function without authority, such as was exercised during the pre-Christian centuries, is contained in a Talmud story of a High Priest who, upon "seeing the Temple in flames, went to the roof of the sanctuary with a group of the flower of the priesthood. Holding the keys of the Temple in his hands, he said: 'Holy One, Blessed be He, Creator of the Universe, since we are not worthy to be your faithful custodians, we transfer the keys of your house to you'. With these words, the keys were thrown up. Something in the form of a hand descended from Heaven and grasped the keys", which signified authority.
The above quoted "Tragedy of Israel" should be recognized by you, and your fellow-Jews, to be God's warning that the religion of an exclusive people, the children of Israel, had ended its mission. It had been displaced by the religion of the people of all nations, the Catholic religion. A new set of keys were given by God the father, through His Messianic Son, to High Priest Peter (St. Matt. 16:19). Those keys, which signify spiritual, God-given authority, are today in the hands of Pope Pius XII.
May you be blessed, as I have been, with the realization of what is herein set forth; and may it bring you the grace to follow the illumination to the baptismal font of the Catholic Church.