Melanie Phillips, writing in Commentary Magazine a few years back, informed readers that:
“The really difficult problem is that supersessionism is not some fringe theology but is deeply rooted in Christian thinking. At the most basic level, the Church believes that Christianity superseded Judaism. The Holocaust caused Western churches to rethink this, although those in Eastern countries remained unmoved. But whereas in the 1965 Papal encyclical Nostra Aetate, the Catholics tried openly to face up to and repudiate their own anti-Jewish thinking, the Protestant churches quietly brushed supersessionism under the carpet.”
In other words, those who entirely embrace Christ and his teachings and become members of the Church He founded are, it seems, necessarily ‘anti-Jewish’. For some reason, the foul mass-murder of Jews in Europe under the profoundly anti-Semitic (not to mention anti-Christian) race-obsessed Nazi regime is an event which should make people rethink their acceptance of Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah prophesied in the Jewish scriptures and the true source of unity of the people of God. Quite why this follows is never explained.
Had Ms Phillips bothered to read Nostra Aetate (which she incorrectly calls an encyclical) she would have found the following statement which clearly reiterates the ‘supercessionism’ she regards as ‘anti-Jewish’:
“Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures.”1
There is all the difference in the world between repudiating the false idea that Jews are rejected or accursed by God himself and recognising the truth that Jews, theologically understood, are defined precisely by a rejection of Christ, who Christians understand as the Second Person of the Trinity. Those Jews who convert to Christianity, insofar as they are Christian, are committed to the belief that the Church is “the new People of God” – a belief that for Phillips is ‘anti-Jewish’ and therefore absolutely unacceptable.
That one of the primary purposes of the Catholic Church, since the time of Jesus and the Apostles, is to work day in and day out for the present conversion of Jews as well as Gentiles cannot be seriously doubted – despite scandalous confusion emanating sometimes from leaders including Pope Benedict XVI (writing as Josef Ratzinger) in his book Jesus of Nazareth: Part Two, Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection, who approvingly cites the following as instructive, namely that “the Church must not concern herself with the conversion of Jews, since she must wait for this for the time fixed by God ‘until the full number of Gentiles come in.’” (p45)
This is just an excerpt from Culture Wars Magazine, not the full article. To continue reading, purchase the June, 2019 edition of Culture Wars Magazine.
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