One sentence about Jews revised in U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults

From America a useful note:

Vatican Approves Catechism Revision

The Vatican Congregation for Clergy has approved a small change in the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults clarifying teaching about God’s covenant with the Jewish people. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced in late August that the Vatican had granted its recognitio to a one-sentence revision of the catechism that was approved by the U.S. bishops at their meeting in June 2008. The revised sentence reads: “To the Jewish people, whom God first chose to hear his word, ‘belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ.’” The original sentence read: “Thus the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them.” In a statement, the bishops’ conference said that “the clarification reflects the teaching of the church that all previous covenants that God made with the Jewish people are fulfilled in Jesus Christ through the new covenant established through his sacrificial death on the cross.”

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22 Responses to One sentence about Jews revised in U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults

  1. Oleksander says:

    original sentence is extremely unorthodox (would say outright heresy but dont want to offend anyone… ooops)

  2. Bill in Texas says:

    For anyone looking to update their copy of the US Catholic Catechism for Adults, this sentence is in Chapter 11, in the section “The Church Is Catholic.” It’s near the top of page 131 (at least it is in my copy of the Catechism — 4th printing, paperback).

  3. robtbrown says:

    original sentence is extremely unorthodox (would say outright heresy but dont want to offend anyone… ooops)
    Comment by Oleksander

    It is sloppy, but how is it unorthodox and heretical?

  4. To robtbrown:

    The statement is fallacious because the covenant which God made with Moses and the Jewish People is not “eternally valid for them.” It was superseded by the New Covenant established by Christ which insists that those who wish to be saved can only begin to do so by recognizing Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ and believing in Him. Those who refuse (Hindus, Muslims, Jews, etc) will perish. The original sentence came from the school called “Make nice!”, or “Don’t hurt anyone’s feelings” which was essential to the ecumenical movement. This was simply not being honest with people.

  5. fateagk says:

    So does this mean that Robert Sungenis has been vindicated?

  6. shin says:

    Yes, it appears he has been on this issue.

    So many others though, so many others related to this.

    Those writing tips are handy. I see a place for liturgical questions, and Ecclesia Dei questions — Where does one write for simple moral questions unrelated to liturgy the local bishop can’t resolve?

  7. Greg Smisek says:

    It was a mistake to call this a clarification. The revision in no way clarifes the point of the previous text, rather, according to the USCCB’s backgrounder, it was meant to replace an incomplete, potentially misleading theological proposition with a text of a more “generic level that is more in keeping with the purpose of a book designed as an introduction to the Catholic faith.”

    Considering the difficulty of properly interpreting this passage of St. Paul’s, I’m not sure this works as a text suitable for basic catechesis, without further explanation. I don’t have a copy of this catechism, but I hope it makes some direct mention somewhere that no one is saved except by “Jesus Christ through the new covenant [the Church] established through his sacrificial death on the cross.”

  8. Dave N. says:

    St. Paul asserts that the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable in this regard, despite rebellion against the Gospel (Rom 11), so the original text seems to be an oblique reference to Rm 11:29. The new one is apparently a quote of Rm 9:4. I’d say both new and old are very poorly worded in that neither really explore the implications of the biblical text–just substituting one Bible verse for another really doesn’t help people understand the Church’s teaching in this regard–as Greg observes above.

    The bishops also seem to display a poor understanding of the NT idea of “fulfillment.” Perhaps they should summon some help for their work.

  9. robtbrown says:

    The statement is fallacious because the covenant which God made with Moses and the Jewish People is not “eternally valid for them.” It was superseded by the New Covenant established by Christ which insists that those who wish to be saved can only begin to do so by recognizing Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ and believing in Him. Those who refuse (Hindus, Muslims, Jews, etc) will perish. The original sentence came from the school called “Make nice!”, or “Don’t hurt anyone’s feelings” which was essential to the ecumenical movement. This was simply not being honest with people.
    Comment by William H. Phelan

    John 4:22–Salvation is from the Jews. That is eternally true.

    There are a couple of errors that must be avoided here.

    First, the Double Covenant Theory (which you seem to assume in your reading of an ambiguous sentence). In this approach, the Jews have their Covenant, the non Jews (Christians) have theirs.

    There are various versions of this, including Dispensationalism.

    Second, Strict supercessionism. In this approach, the New Covenant abolishes the Old. Of course, Christ Himself says that he came to fulfill not to abolish.

    NB: The relationship between the Old and New is subtle. I follow St Thomas, who says that any salvific power of the Old Law is because it is the promise of the New Law.

    This promise perdures.

  10. Tom Ryan says:

    “Salvation is from the Jews” is an anachronistic phrase this side of the cross. Salvation is from the Church!

    “I have come to fulfill not abolish” makes sense prior to Christ fulfilling the Old Testament promises about Him. When He fulfilled the covenant, the covenant is abolished. Analogously, if I have a contract with you to complete a task– and I do that job– the contract is over. To continue in a covenant, you need a NEW covenant.

  11. Jordanes says:

    Tom Ryan said: “Salvation is from the Jews” is an anachronistic phrase this side of the cross. Salvation is from the Church!

    No, that’s wrong. Salvation is eternally connected to the Jewish people, because Jesus is and always will be a Jew. Salvation is from the Church, and the Church is from the Jews. Even more, the New Testament insists that the Church IS Israel, and that when Gentiles convert to Christianity, they are branches from a wild olive plant that are grafted onto the olive plant of Israel.

    The promise (which predates the Old Covenant by six centuries) is to Abraham and to his seed, which is Christ. Salvation is of the Jews. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.

    “I have come to fulfill not abolish” makes sense prior to Christ fulfilling the Old Testament promises about Him. When He fulfilled the covenant, the covenant is abolished.

    That makes nonsense of Christ’s affirmation, because you are saying that He DID come to abolish even though He said He didn’t. I think I’ll stick with Our Lord’s words if you don’t mind.

    A covenant that has been fulfilled is NOT a covenant that has been abrogated or abolished. An abolished covenant does not require any fulfillment at all.

  12. Jordanes says:

    William H. Phelan said: The original sentence came from the school called “Make nice!”, or “Don’t hurt anyone’s feelings” which was essential to the ecumenical movement.

    You’re conflating the ecumenical movement, which pertains solely to Christians, with interreligious dialogue.

  13. Thanks to all of you for your comments. Let’s go to basics. How does a Catholic have the spiritual/temporal effects of a mortal sin he commits forgiven? He has to utilize the Sacrament of Confession as he is already baptized. How does a Jew, Hindu, Muslim or non-Catholic Christian have his/their mortal sins forgiven? The answer is: he can’t! In a moment, you will understand the last fifty years in the Church. As non-Catholics do not have access to Confession, nor for that matter the Eucharist, then God in His Mercy will forgive them. As He will forgive them, so also will He forgive me, and therefore I do not need confession as EVERYONE WILL BE SAVED. Now about the need for the Church and a celibate priesthood…..

  14. Jordanes says:

    William H. Phelan said: How does a Jew, Hindu, Muslim or non-Catholic Christian have his/their mortal sins forgiven? The answer is: he can’t!

    Wrong. They can have their mortal sins forgiven through baptism and conversion to the Catholic faith (including baptism of desire) or through perfect contrition (though if they are suffering from invincible ignorance, they likely will be unable to achieve perfect contrition).

  15. Tom Ryan says:

    Not an anachronism?

    JOHN: “Parents of the boy born blind refused to speak for fear of the Jews.”

    Same book. Who is being referred to? The apostles? The Blessed Mother?
    Already it no longer refers to a race but necessarily means those who reject Christ. Not the “jews” who accept him.

  16. robtbrown says:

    “Salvation is from the Jews” is an anachronistic phrase this side of the cross. Salvation is from the Church!

    That sounds like garden variety Modernism.

    “I have come to fulfill not abolish” makes sense prior to Christ fulfilling the Old Testament promises about Him. He fulfilled the covenant, the covenant is abolished. Analogously, if I have a contract with you to complete a task—and I do that job—the contract is over. To continue in a covenant, you need a NEW covenant.
    Comment by Tom Ryan

    According to the Christological Hymn in the Letter to the Philippians, Christ is Head of the Church, not because of what He did but because of Who He was. Thus the Redemption (and fulfillment of the Old Law) begins at the Incarnation, when Christ takes passible flesh, making His death inevitable. And so His priestly offering of His suffering and death begins with the Incarnation.

    His death consummates the Redemption.

  17. robtbrown says:

    How does a Jew, Hindu, Muslim or non-Catholic Christian have his/their mortal sins forgiven? The answer is: he can’t! In a moment, you will understand the last fifty years in the Church. As non-Catholics do not have access to Confession, nor for that matter the Eucharist, then God in His Mercy will forgive them. As He will forgive them, so also will He forgive me, and therefore I do not need confession as EVERYONE WILL BE SAVED. Now about the need for the Church and a celibate priesthood…..
    Comment by William H. Phelan

    Christ is the Source of Grace and is always the one who forgives sins. The Sacraments of the Church are necessary for salvation, and the Source is always Christ Himself.

    Because Christ the Priest is the Source, it is possible that outside of the celebration of the Sacraments He forgives sin and gives Grace.

  18. robtbrown says:

    Same book. Who is being referred to? The apostles? The Blessed Mother?
    Already it no longer refers to a race but necessarily means those who reject Christ. Not the “jews” who accept him.
    Comment by Tom Ryan

    Paul describes himself as a Jew.

    Salvation is through the Jews. The Jews rejected Christ.

    Both are true.

  19. Jordanes says:

    Not an anachronism?

    Yes, not an anachronism. The very example you cite demonstrates that it is not an anachronism.

    JOHN: “Parents of the boy born blind refused to speak for fear of the Jews.” Same book. Who is being referred to? The apostles? The Blessed Mother? Already it no longer refers to a race but necessarily means those who reject Christ. Not the “jews” who accept him.

    The Gospel of St. John, written AFTER Christ’s resurrection , quotes Jesus telling the Samaritan that “we” (the Jews) know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. Elsewhere St. John frequently uses “Jews” to refer to the Jews who were Christ’s enemies, who did not accept Him. As St. John writes, He came to His own, and His own received Him not.

    In St. John’s Gospel, “the Jews” can mean specifically the Jews who lived in Judaea, or it can mean the Jewish authorities (whether the Sadducean priestly class or the Pharisees and Scribes), or it can mean the Jewish people in general. Context will help discern which group is meant by “the Jews.”

    Salvation did not stop being “of the Jews” just because many if not most of the Jews in the Holy Land did not accept their Lord and Messiah. As I said above, Jesus is and always will be a Jew. Salvation is inseparably tied to the Jewish people, who are, as St. Paul says, the natural branches against whom we Gentiles are warned not to boast. They were broken off for their unbelief, but can readily be grafted back in. After all, it was not with any Gentiles that God ratified the New Covenant in A.D. 33 — the Gentiles did not begin to enter the Church until some years later.

  20. moon1234 says:

    My ohh my we are off in some other world with this debate. The simple point is that the modern Jews no longer have a covenant that, outside of the Catholic Church, leads to heaven.

    The Catholics of today are the continuation of the chosen people. The modern day Jews who reject the Catholic faith, reject Christ and in so doing have no path to salvation. Or are you trying to argue that the Jews who see Christ as simply a prophet can still get to heaven based on the old covenant. If you defend the later then you are speaking heresy.

    This whole debate should not even be happening were it not for some twisted ecumenism that came out after the 1960’s. The whole point of ecumenism is bringing people into the Church and not to state that they are saved outside the Church. Modern ecumenism is handholding, talking and getting along. It needs to be firmly tossed out the door and onto the scrap heap.

    Here are the simple, clear answers to this debate. How I long for the straight teaching of the Catholic faith.

    Baltimore Catechism #3:
    Q. 390. Why was the veil of the Temple torn asunder at the death of Christ?
    A. The veil of the Temple was torn asunder at the death of Christ because at His death the Jewish religion ceased to be the true religion, and God no longer manifested His presence in the Temple.

    Q. 391. Why did the Jewish religion, which up to the death of Christ had been the true religion, cease at that time to be the true religion?
    A. The Jewish religion, which, up to the death of Christ, had been the true religion, ceased at that time to be the true religion, because it was only a promise of the redemption and figure of the Christian religion, and when the redemption was accomplished and the Christian religion established by the death of Christ, the promise and the figure were no longer necessary.

    Q. 392. Were all the laws of the Jewish religion abolished by the establishment of Christianity?
    A. The moral laws of the Jewish religion were not abolished by the establishment of Christianity, for Christ came not to destroy these laws, but to make them more perfect. Its ceremonial laws were abolished when the Temple of Jerusalem ceased to be the House of God.

    Q. 393. What do we mean by moral and ceremonial laws?
    A. By “moral” laws we mean laws regarding good and evil. By “ceremonial” laws we mean laws regulating the manner of worshipping God in Temple or Church.

  21. Tom Ryan says:

    Excellent Moon1234.
    The line is: Abraham-Moses-Jesus-The Church. Modern Judaism is a detour; “not the Mother Faith but a jealous younger sister”

    http://www.audiosancto.org/aurss/20080928-Seder-Meals-Violate-the-1st-Commandment.mp3

  22. robtbrown says:

    Moon1234 and Tom Ryan,

    Sorry for the delay.

    1. I am not a fan of Covenant Theology (of which Supercessionism and the Double Covenant Theory are species) because it is basically Protestant (more about that later).

    I prefer Old Law and New Law.

    2. It is important to note that the Double Convenant advocates (which you rightly oppose) and the Strict Supercessionists (which you both seem to favor) make the same mistake of overvaluing the Old Law.

    The problem is this: The Old Law did not give grace. And so the Jews never never did have a covenant that led to heaven.

    b. Protestants also don’t think the OL gives grace, but they also don’t think the NL does either. For them, grace is either material goods or the cancellation of the debt sin.

    With this rejection ex opere operato as the distinguishing characteristic of the NL, Protestantism must look for another distinction. The Double Covenant advocates say that there are equal Covenants–one for the Jews, another for Christians. The Strict Supercessionists reduce Israel to the status of Thailand or any other nation.

    c. The Church is NOT the continuation of the Chosen People. Israel is the antetype of the Church. The Church is qualitatively different.