QUAERITUR: Catholic “seder” meal

From a reader:

If you have time this week, I was hoping you could post something about Seder meals and whether or not they are important for Catholics to have them.  It seems that I’m hearing varying responses about it.  A good friend of ours has one on Holy Thursday every year, and I’ve very much enjoyed it, seeing it as the institution of the Eucharist. 
 

I will open this to the smart WDTPRSers who may have already dug into the issue.

Frankly, it is rather foreign to my thought to have a seder meal.  Why would we do that?  Just to get to know what Jews do for Passover?

That said, I am fully prepared to eat roasted lamb on Holy Thursday, and have wine and bread … and herbs.  Horseradish would be fine.

 

I think authors are pretty divided over whether the Last Supper was like the Passover seder.  Jeremias seems to think so.  He identified some parallels between the description of the Last Supper and a seder.  I respond that it is not unusual that they ate a meal that day, had wine, and sang for awhile.  I don’t think the fact that the Lord explained what he was doing is compelling.  

Many authors will say the First Eucharist was not a seder.  Ratzinger thinks what Jesus and the disciples had was a toda meal, a thanksgiving meal of a sacrificial nature.

Also, the text that describes/prescribes the Passover seder didn’t develop until, if memory serves, the 8th c.

Furthermore, the Passover seder was to take place on Friday evening, when the Lord was in the tomb.  The Last Supper was the day before.  There was some possibility, again if memory serves, that a seder could be anticipated.  But it doesn’t make sense in this case.  Ratzinger is probably right. 

Anyway… I am not sure what having a seder is about. 

Would be be a "judaizing" gesture?  Disrespectful?

Discuss.

ADDENDUM:

Were I invited to Jewish family‘s home for their seder, and if our calendars did not conflict, I think I would accept the invitation.

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79 Responses to QUAERITUR: Catholic “seder” meal

  1. Thomas G. says:

    I believe Scott Hahn considers the Last Supper to be a seder meal, with Jesus’ drinking of the wine from the sponge while on the cross being the 4th cup of wine traditional to that meal. From that interpretation Hahn concludes that at least one meaning of Jesus’ “It is finished!” is that the seder ritual is completed.

    As for Catholics attending or participating in one, I can see no harm, though I wouldn’t substitute it for being at Holy Thursday Mass.

  2. norris says:

    I have grave reservations about this practice.

    1. If indeed the meal in the Upper Room was a Seder, it was a type (foreshadowing) of the Eucharist. Why would one celebrate the foreshadowing when we have the Reality in the Eucharist? As Aquinas says in the Pange Lingua, “… types and shadows have their ending, for the new rite is here …”

    [BTW, Does Aquinas see the Last Supper as a Seder?: "That last night at supper lying midst the twelve, his chosen band, Jesus with the Law complying, keeps the feast its rites demand,; then more precious Food supplying, gives himself with his own hand."]

    2. As for the issue of disrespect, how would we feel if a Muslim, for instance, wanting to “better understand” or “experience” Christianity, took it upon himself to puroprtedly celebrate the Eucharist? Would we not find that deeply offensive? I can understand why our Jewish elder brothers would likewise find our celebration of their religious rites offensive.

  3. I have always heard that participating in the Seder meal would be sinful (and I tend to agree), as it is an act of worship according to the Old Law. St. Thomas is always used to back this argument up; “…just as it would be a mortal sin now for anyone, in making a profession of faith, to say that Christ is yet to be born, which the fathers of old said devoutly and truthfully; so too it would be a mortal sin now to observe those ceremonies which the fathers of old fulfilled with devotion and fidelity.” (Summa, I-II, q 103, 4)

    That being said, I have never participated in a Seder meal. I guess I have never really had a desire. The Mass is the New Passover, and it is infinitely better!

    And I’m a vegetarian, so I couldn’t eat the lamb anyway :P

  4. norris says:

    I am also reminded of something a theology professer once said, “If you’re organizing a ligurgy, and you ever say to yourself, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat if we did _____’, immediately dismiss the thought as a stupid idea!”

  5. dmwallace says:

    It is somewhat ironic that when Christians try to have a seder meal in their parishes/churches, they do it a bit anachronistically. For starters, Jews don’t eat lamb at their seders. Why? Because since AD 70 they haven’t been able to sacrifice them. I agree with Aquinas’ position about worship according to the Old Law, but it’s important to realize that the modern seder isn’t OT worship, it’s specifically medieval rabbinical Jewish worship.

    [Edited out by Fr. Z o{]>:¬( ]

    The Eucharist is the fulfillment of the Passover, not the fulfillment of a Passover seder, which Our Lord probably didn’t eat with His apostles as it was a later addition. Much ink has been spilled over whether or not the Last Supper was a passover meal or if it included elements of the seder (four cups of wine, etc.).

    While it is important to understand Our Lord in the Jewish cultural and religious milieu of the 1st century, trying to recreate the Passover or a Passover seder is dangerous. Why? Because Christ and the Apostles got rid of it! The Gospel of John presents Christ’s systematic replacement of the Jewish feasts and institutions with Himself. We mustn’t turn back to the type, but look to the anti-type, Christ Himself and the Eucharist, the fulfillment of the Passover, the Exodus, the Manna, etc.

  6. Bryan says:

    Well…take it in context…most of my friends who are Jewish are culturally so, not out of any sort of religious imperative. Is it wrong if you were extended an invitation to join them? For most of them, it’s about the food and sitting around the table and relating tales of past holidays. I didn’t think so, and enjoyed the lamb and bitter herbs (horseradish) and babaganouj and wine. Also gave me a chance, when asked, to compare/contrast/link to my own belief as a professing Catholic how their celebration could presage what we celebrate each day…the new and eternal Passover of Christ.

    Is it an act of worship? Perhaps for the Chassid or more orthodox. And I would NEVER let it interrupt or otherwise interfere with the Triduum.

    Never give up a chance to witness…even when in a foreign setting.

  7. To me it’s one of those things like circumcision. It’s fine to do or to omit, so long as one is not intentionally diminishing what Christ did on the Cross.

  8. NDPhys says:

    The passover has all kinds of prescriptions, both Biblical and extra-biblical. Consider Ex. 12:48-49, which commands that any alien who wants to keep the passover must follow all the regulations of a native (including circumcision).

    That said, I don’t mind looking to my Jewish brethren for inspiration in ways to celebrate holidays, but I think we need to be clear that we aren’t celebrating a Jewish Seder, as such, if for no other reason than out of respect for their traditions, which are quite rich.

  9. Magpie says:

    Just days ago I listened to a sermon on audio sancto and the priest said it was mortal sin if you knew what you were doing.

    Seder Meals Violate the 1st Commandment
    http://www.audiosancto.org/
    (it’s in red, top of list)

  10. AnAmericanMother says:

    Our parish has a seder meal. It is not treated, however, as a rite — new or old.

    I would call it more of a teaching opportunity or a Sunday School lesson. It opens and closes with prayer, but it does not include the traditional customs of the Haggadah, nor the songs, nor most of the prayers. The meal is interspersed with short talks explaining the symbolic meaning of the foods and the four cups of wine.

    The Holy Thursday Mass is celebrated later that evening.

    I think that study of the Passover is profitable for Christian instruction, so long as it’s clear that it is not being practiced as a religious rite. And I think that the manner in which it’s conducted at our parish is quite deliberately intended to show that it is not a religious rite per se . . . but I’ll ask on Thursday – or Wednesday at the Penance Service.

    Now . . . on the other hand, back when I was an Episcopalian the “Maundy Thursday Seder” was pretty much a direct copy of the Passover Seder — to the extent that I could follow along in my old Szyk Haggadah. AND communion was substituted for the fourth cup of wine. That was odd, and probably disrespectful both to Jewish and Christian practice!

  11. Martin_B says:

    I don’t see any harm in participating (by invitation) in a jewish seder meal, as long as catholic fasting rules are not broken or a mass missed therefor.

    “Celebrating” a seder meal ourself should only have one reason:
    Catechesis about the significance of this special meal that the last supper could have been and which was kind of the predecessor of the eucharist. This catechesis could maybe be useful as part of the confirmation-catechesis. But it should be very carefully explained and guided, so that it will be clear to all participants and everybody who gets to know, that it is not an actual celebration.

  12. Haec Dies says:

    Perhaps we should ask our Jewish friends if they in turn plan to celebrate the seder meal as a representation and a forshadowing of the Catholic belief of the institution of the Holy Eucharist. If we cherish their customs should we not expect that they should want to understand ours.

  13. dmwallace says:

    Nota bene: There are certain “discrepancies” between the Synoptic accounts and John’s account of the events of Holy Week. It appears in the Synoptics, for example, that the Last Supper took place on Passover; John, however, seems to indicate that Christ died on the Passover. Some scholars posit the existence of different calendars in use by the different Jewish parties, e.g. Essene, Pharisaic, Sadducaic, etc. Christ, they say, celebrated the Passover on Tuesday of Holy Week according to the Essene calendar and died on the Pharisaic calendar Passover on Friday. Dr. Scott Hahn subscribes to this theory. Others posit (without evidence) that because of the vast numbers of pilgrims coming into Jerusalem for Passover that the feast was spread out over two days so that some, including the Apostles and Our Lord, ate the Passover anticipated one day prior, i.e. Thursday instead of Friday. Still others hold that the Last Supper wasn’t a Passover meal at all, though the Synoptics seem to point out that it was.

  14. sparksj3 says:

    During some recent explorations at a second-hand bookstore in Maryland, I discovered a very ornate liturgically-oriented Jewish Sedar manual. The book was published by a Jewish liturgical press and has the entire Sedar “rite” in English and, as I recall, Hebrew.

    Interestingly, there is a section regarding the origins of the Sedar. The book specifies that the Sedar, in its origins, but especially as currently practice, is a reorienting of Jewish practice necessitated by the dawn of Christianity and the destruction of Jerusalem. (When I return home from the office this evening, I will try to post the relevant citations.) Thus, it is not a Jewish practice of pre-Christian origin, but a practice that surfaced largely as a result of the birth of Christianity.

    St. Thomas teaches that it would be gravely wrong for a Christian to participate in Jewish rites pre-dating Christianity. How much more so those rites that post-date it?

    St. Thomas’ treatment of a similar issue: See Article 4. http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2103.htm

  15. Andy F. says:

    I was instructed in grad school by my awesome liturgy professor that if a parish were to have a seder, that a Jew should conduct the meal. There is a parish in my city that has a seder and the man that conducts the meal is a Jewish convert to Catholicism.

    I’d say that’s the most ideal way that anybody could do one.

  16. Lurker 59 says:

    Thomas G. is correct.

    What I was taught at Marquette University and Franciscan University of Steubenville is that what was celebrated on the night prior to His crucifixion was, to tie some themes together that this blog uses, an organic development of Jewish liturgy. That is to say that was celebrated was not a Jewish seder but rather its fulfillment and that which the seder had anticipated.

    I think it is very important to see that that the “Last Supper” is not disconnected from the Crucifixion – it is not a foreshadowing, a type, an anticipation, etc. but rather one and the same event. Christ began the laying down of His life during that liturgical meal (and it was liturgical not some pot-luck) and that liturgical meal ended when “It is finished”. The more we see the “Last Supper” as only a meal that is disassociated from the Crucifixion, the more we will be prone to see the Eucharist as only a meal that is disassociated from the Crucifixion – only a symbolic memorial of the cross as the “Last Supper” was only a symbolic anticipation of the cross.

    I agree with St. Thomas. That is also St. Paul’s argument – that Christians should not be engaging in liturgical practices that are strictly anticipatory when that reality has come as it undercuts the whole message of the Gospel that the Christ has come.

    I also agree with Norris. It is a very different thing for a Jew to invite a Catholic to participate in their rites than it is for a Catholic to, on his own, act out a ritual that belongs to G-ds people who waited for the fulfillment of His covenant with them, and whom now still wait though the Christ has come (though as Paul says not in vain for the branches that have been cut off will be restored).

    Besides it is not like the anticipatory element within Judaism has not carried over into Catholic liturgy. If one feels like they need to celebrate a seder to better prepare for Easter, perhaps they haven’t been paying attention during Lent.

  17. AnAmericanMother says:

    sparksj3, which Haggadah is it?

  18. elmo says:

    I don’t see how anyone could reasonably call Christians participating in the seder disrespectful. It is a beautiful rite and foreshadows the Easter Vigil in which the miracles the Lord has done in Israel and in our lives are recalled and we expect the Messiah (for Jews Elijah, for us Jesus) to appear that night. The Jews are our “elder brothers” and I can see how we can do nothing but profit by familiarizing ourselves with their rites and symbols and ways of teaching the faith — a faith Jesus observed devoutly himself.

  19. William Tighe says:

    My article here:

    http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=23-02-026-f

    deals with aspects of these questions. Its final section runs:

    Jewish Roots Remain

    In retrospect, the fixing of the Eucharistic culmination of Christian Pascha on Sunday probably ensured that it would slowly alter its nature from that of a Christianized Passover focusing on the redemption and deliverance effected in Christ, to a historical commemoration of the events by which they were wrought by Christ. All the other feasts of Christ throughout the year—the Annunciation, Christmas, Epiphany, the Ascension, and Pentecost, as well as Great Lent itself—arose in connection with, and with dates determined by, this “feast of feasts.”

    No doubt this long process was attended by both benefits and drawbacks, too many to enumerate and too difficult to reckon. If there is any “lesson” to be learned from this process—apart from amazed contemplation of its complexity, and of the intricacy and subtlety of the manner in which Christianity both preserved and transformed so much of its Jewish matrix without repudiating it—it may be to caution those who, whether in blame or praise, highlight the “hellinization” of Christianity and its “loss” of its “Jewish roots.” In fact those roots, transformed as they have been, still live and undergird the liturgical cycles of historical Christianity.

    Certainly, to give one concrete example, it does pose a question to those Christians who in recent decades have taken up the affectation of holding “Christian Seder meals,” all unaware that the Lord’s own final meal with his disciples (whether it was a Passover meal or not) has been perpetuated from the very beginnings of Christianity in the observances of Holy Week, and most especially in the Great Easter Vigil.

  20. Wow! Great comments here…I dealt with this just last week at our formation day for our association of the faithful.
    Pope Benedict, in “The Spirit of Liturgy”, and L. Hemming in “Worship as Revelation”, refer to the Last Supper as the “context” in which the Holy Mass was instituted; but the priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ is that of Melchizedek, the one who offered bread and wine as a sacrifice.
    The problem with “Catholic” seder meals is that it gives the impression that the Mass is a “home liturgy” (which the seder is) and both authors say that the seder or Passover meal is the one ceremony that did not require a priest…it was not the Temple liturgy of Israel.
    There can be some benefit, for educational purposes, to understand the typology and foreshadowing of sign within the seder meal.
    But to do this, even before the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, is to confuse and even lead people astray as to the real meaning/signification of the Holy Sacrifice.

  21. Fr Martin Fox says:

    I see no problem with Christians attending a Seder as guests. I’ve taken part in a sort of “show-and-tell” Seder at a synogogue, when I was a seminarian; it was intended for the public to attend.

    If I were invited to someone’s home, I would go.

    But I agree it is disrepectful to Jewish sensibilities for Christians to conduct Jewish rites. Yes, of course we are spiritual semites; but then, we have embraced the rites of the New Law, so why go back to the old? If you want to see what a Seder is like, by all means let the Jews be the ones to show you.

    And I really, really am against taking the Seder, and trying to Christianize it. Either that’s what the Mass already is, and in that case, go to Mass; or else, that’s not what the Mass is, in which case…go to Mass. Why try to improve on what our Lord did with the Apostles?

  22. AnAmericanMother says:

    I used to attend Passover Seders every year, with one friend’s family or another. My best friend growing up was Jewish.

    We were very close with a Jewish couple for many years, the wife and I worked together and our children were the same age. But they freaked out when we became Catholic and they are no longer our friends (not through any wish on our part). They believe everything about Pius XII and the Church as though it were gospel (or halakhah, I suppose).

  23. TNCath says:

    I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other about it. I would not be surprised if the Jews were offened, no more than we are uncomfortable at the least when we see protestants behaving like Catholics liturgically. I just find it a bit odd and a bit amusing that there are Catholic parishes and priests who conduct Seders for their parishioners every year and make a big deal out of it. Ironically, many of those in attendance will come to the Seder out of curiosity and skip out on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Strange, but true.

    If I were invited by a Jewish family, I’d certainly go out of respect for their tradition as our “elder brothers” in faith, but I’m not going to sit around a parish school cafeteria whilst Father Relevant plays Rabbi and John and Mary Catholic talk about how “wonderful” it is that we are doing this.

  24. Jillian says:

    I listened to the Audio Sancto sermon, and I think it’s worth some discussion. I’m glad someone e-mailed Fr. Z to ask about these Christian Seder meals/participation in Jewish Seders.

    Jewish Seder meals, or Christianized versions of them become problematic when they become more important/more of a focus than Holy Thursday liturgy. Mass is the celebration of the institution of the Eucharist, not any Seder meal.

  25. AnAmericanMother says:

    TNCath, if they show up out of curiosity, a number may stay.

    I think it was Goldsmith who said they came to mock but remained to pray . . . .

  26. Bornacatholic says:

    I am the same age as Israel and I never remember such a thing back in the day.

    What aging Hippie introduced this into the Church?

  27. o.h. says:

    Thank you for that addendum, Father. Our family’s Orthodox Jewish friends have us over for their seder every year, and it’s a highlight of spring. Our children go to see their synagogue’s Purim play, too.

  28. Prof. Basto says:

    I have always interpreted St. Thomas Aquinas’ words in the Pange Lingua as implying that the Last Supper was a Passover Seder, and that therefore the “new rite” of the New and Everlasting Covenant was instituted during the celebration of the ritual meal commemorating the passover of the Old Convenant, thus REPLACING the old observance:

    “Observata lege plene” and “cibis in legalibus” refer to the observance of the Old Law, implying that the Last Supper was held in the context of the Passover rite.

    The liturgy of the ordinay form also implies the connection, as the text of the Exodus narrating the meal of the Old passover in Egypt and the Lord’s command that this was to be a perennial observance (ergo the jewish usage of the Seder) is the First Reading for the Mass in Coena Domini.

    The celebration of the Seder (commanded by the text of the Exodus to be observed) was a mere figure of the Sacrifice of Christ and is REPLACED by it. The Eucharist is what must now be continuously celebrated, according to the command of Christ (“Do this in memory of Me”).

    In the Seder, a Lamb stands as the sacrificial victim, and is eaten by those present at the table. This ritual sacrifice was a mere figure of the things to come.

    In the Eucharist, Christ the Saviour and his Sacrifice upon the Cross, that won our redemption, are made present at the Altar. Christ is the Lamb sacrificed in the Sacrifice of the New Convenant, as St. John Baptist had already prophetized: “Behold the Lamb of God”. The reference to the “Lamb” makes the link with the Passover rite.

    So (1) it makes every sense that the institution of the Eucharist took place during the Passover Seder, and that ergo the Last Supper was a Seder; and (2) the Eucharist REPLACES the observance of the Seder, as the Seder was just a tiny figure of the Eucharist.

    Again, the Angelic Doctor is the teacher:

    “Et antiquum documentum
    Novo cedat ritui”.

    Thus, I don’t understand why a Christian should celebrate the Seder. That the Seder is still celebrated today is just consequential of the fact that there are those who still do not recognize that Christ was the fulfillment of the Old Law.

    Christ is our Passover. He offered himself up as Sacrifice upon the Cross. He is present in the Eucharist.

  29. lux_perpetua says:

    please excuse this horribly ignorant question. [remember, i was catechized in the nineties].

    we were taught that the reason the Host appears as it does is to mimick the unleavened bread that Jesus ate at the last Supper because it was Passover, and that this is why Paul refers to it as the “unleavened truth”.

    in light of this discussion, anyone want to educate me as to why the Host actually appears as it does and why Rome deviates from the Eastern custom of placing levened bread in wine?

  30. eewanco says:

    I see the Seder as value immense catechetical value. If you folks just understood how deeply rooted in the Exodus the passion, death, and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior — and our own salvation — is, you would I think marvel and give praise to God. The symbolism in the seder is never brought out in homilies and really must be experienced in context to be fully understood.

    I am no scholar but I find odd the comments that the seder did not develop until the Middle Ages. That’s like saying our liturgy was invented in 1969, or priestly celibacy invented in the 13th century. It is Exodus 12-13 that commands the seder. No, it doesn’t call it that, nor does it outline the four cups of blessing, and there’s no charoset or bitter herbs, and so forth, but the command to celebrate the Passover was still there. “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith” is as much a part of “Do this in remembrance of me” as the charoset is part of the Passover.

    I find it really strange that there is any question in light of all the Scriptural evidence (with all due respect to Pope Benedict) that the Last Supper was a Passover meal (i.e. a seder). 1 Cor 5:6-8 says, “For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” So this says that Jesus is the Passover, and urges us to keep the Passover feast. Is this feast not the Eucharist? Or would you argue it is merely Easter (which you may know is translated “Passover” in most languages)? In either case it is the Eucharistic synaxis. This synaxis is based on the Last Supper, where we — get this — eat the Passover lamb. (Once the Passover lamb was sacrificed, it had to be eaten, and it was the seder in which it was eaten. When Jesus our Passover was sacrificed for us on the cross, his sacrificed flesh, too, had to be eaten. We do this in the Eucharist.) It all fits together beautifully if the Last Supper, the first Eucharist, was a Paschal meal consuming the sacrificed flesh of the Lamb of God, perpetuated for all generations so all can participate in that sacrifice. If it’s not, well, a whole lot suddenly ceases to make sense.

    I cannot conceive of anyone claiming that observing a Seder violates the First Commandment unless they think the Jews worship a different god. Don’t know if I’ll have time to listen to a talk that sounds on its face so utterly preposterous but perhaps I will have a chance to do so.

  31. Martial Artist says:

    Fr. Z,

    I am curious about your statement (especially the second sentence in the following:

    There was some possibility, again if memory serves, that a seder could be anticipated. But it doesn’t make sense in this case.”

    If Christ knew what events were imminent (and I am relying on the Gospel account of what He said at the meal for that thought), why would it not “make sense” for him to anticipate it, inasmuch as He was going to teach the apostles several things at the meal. Namely, (a) at a minimum, that they were to be servants to the faithful (the foot washing), (b) not only were they to “eat His body” and “drink His blood” but how that was to be done, and that He was going to be betrayed and crucified? It seems to me that waiting for the Seder on the eve of Passover (and the Gospel account makes clear that Jesus did know what was imminent and who the betrayer was) was going to be a trifle too late to reveal/reiterate these teachings to the apostles.

    Is there something I am failing to understand in looking at the question in this way? And I ask the question in hopes of being edified.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  32. Titus says:

    lux_perpetua:

    The answer to your question is simple: that is the Church’s legitimate tradition in the West. The Western Church does not “deviate” from the tradition of the Oriental Rites; it has its own rites and traditions that developed simultaneously with those of the Oriental Churches.

    The answer about seder meals is similar. This is not our custom, not our tradition as Catholics. For Jews the passover and its various attendant rituals are important and traditional. They are neither for us. It’s antiquarianism at best, and cultural sabotage at worst, to say that Christians ought to eat seder meals. If you really enjoy horseradish, then eat it by all means. But the practice sometimes seen of attempting to incorporate the customs of the law from Exodus into the Easter celebration is misplaced.

  33. Martial Artist says:

    Perhaps I should have stated that I am not of a mind to observe a “Christian Seder,” but was simply puzzled as to the reason(s) you believe that it would have made no sense for Jesus to “anticipate” the seder.

    Keith Töpfer

  34. eewanco says:

    Why celebrate the Seder if the Eucharist is our new Seder? [It isn't.]

    A few reasons:

    1) For its immense catechetical value in understanding the background to our own faith.

    2) For understanding the context of the Eucharist and the beauty of what we believe about it.

    3) To provide a way for families to have a solemn ritual at home and bind them together.

    4) To celebrate our exodus from sin and our deliverance through baptism from the kingdom of darkness in a very specific way. [We do that. As Christians.]

  35. priest up north says:

    The seder can be questioned on the grounds that in the time of Christ, the Temple was still the center of worship. Such rituals as the seder would not have come into existence until after the Temple was destroyed and the later attempts to reestablish the Temple failed. Hence, on the research of one of my professors in liturgy, Dr. Lynne Boughton (Liturgical Institute, Mundelein) that such rabbinic scholars as Jacob Neusner and Joseph Heinemann show us that the worship of Jews in the synagogue came only after the Temple was destroy – hence, in the time of Christ, synagogues were places of reading Scripture and of study, not for ritual worship.

    Thus, some sources can lead us to question any and all connection between the seder and the Eucharist.

  36. Maltese says:

    I especially admire those Catholics who, in their ecumenical zeal, light Menorah candles in lieu of a Christmas tree.

  37. Bornacatholic says:

    Dear eewanco. To me, it appears you believe the Catholic Church is not a perfect society and that we needs adopt a modern practice** to supply what our Faith lacks.

    ** I do not recall any Catholic Saint, any Catholic Encyclical, any Papal Allocution, any Ecumenical Council, and Motu Proprio, any Universal Catechism, any Catholic Encyclopedia, or any Traditional Orthopraxis calling for us to take-up Seder Meals.

    Unless someone can provide for me a link, I will continue to think this is just one of many sad consequences resulting from the malign madness of a directionless ecumenism.

  38. uptoncp says:

    eewanco – That’s like saying our liturgy was invented in 1969, or priestly celibacy invented in the 13th century.

    No, observing the Seder in its current form and saying it’s what Christ did at the Last Supper is like celebrating Mass in the Ordinary Form and saying it’s the same rite used by S Gregory the Great.

  39. Maltese says:

    When Catholics assemble to celebrate Mass, we may not realize that our Eucharistic liturgy has its origin in the Jewish Passover ritual.

    http://www.allsoulschurchssf.org/content/seder-meal

    Quotes such as that distract, I believe, from the true understanding of Mass as the unbloody Sacrifice of Christ; and therein lies the danger of a Catholic celebrating a seder meal. The Mass does have elements of Jewish Temple Sacrifice:

    “[T]he altar of sacrifice in the Jewish Temple represented God, just as the Christian altar represents Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The blood of the victim was said to contain its life, and when poured upon the altar it had been returned to God in Whom that life originated.?….?The Christian religion has only one sacrifice, the sacrifice that was once offered when Our Lord Jesus Christ, acting both as priest and victim, shed His Blood for us upon the Cross. Every type and every purpose of Old Testament sacrifice was fulfilled to perfection on Calvary. Holocaust, peace offering, sin offering were all merely types, shadows, figures of that one perfect sacrifice on the first Good Friday when God the Son made Man reconciled all tings unto Himself, ‘making peace through the Blood of His Cross, both as to the things that are on earth and the things that are in heaven’ (Col. 1:20).”–Michael Davies

    http://hospitallers.blogspot.com/2008/09/holy-sacrifice.html

  40. Bornacatholic says:

    If we Catholics are going to reach back into history to supply our poor Church with the Jewish Rituals that will make us whole, why not celebrate The Paschal Haggada instead of The Jewish Seder?

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2007/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20070405_coena-domini_en.html

  41. eewanco says:

    It is true that Catholics celebrating the Seder in a Christian way is a novel devotion. But customs come and go, and our church is not so hidebound that she is afraid to admit any new customs or devotions. The Divine Mercy devotion was a novel custom at the beginning of last century. In fact all devotions I’m aware of were novel at one time or another. There is nothing wrong with a novel devotion such as the seder. Novel doctrine, yes, but not a novel devotion or even a novel custom, when done in good order and with all due respect for ecclesiastical authority and law.

  42. Bornacatholic says:

    Apparently, Pope Benedict ascribes to the thesis developed by the Catholic Scholar Annie Jaubert:

    http://www.osv.com/tabid/7636/itemid/1189/The-Priesthood.aspx

  43. Urget_nos says:

    If properly done, the seder for Catholics can be a very good thing. I am friends with two Catholic families both of which the fathers are converts from Judaism. They PRIVATELY celebrate the seder meal and then discuss with their kids and invited friends the fulfillment found in Jesus and His Church. “Why is this night different than other nights?..”

  44. Bornacatholic says:

    Indeed the message [St. Faustina] brought is the appropriate and incisive answer that God wanted to offer to the questions and expectations of human beings in our time, marked by terrible tragedies. —Pope John Paul II -Divine Mercy Sunday Homily,Sunday, 22 April 2001

    You are conflating the Papal approval of Divine Mercy (initiated by approved visions received by a Saint) with as-of-yet-some-unsourced modern practice.

    And that is one way our Faith becomes muddied.

    If you have some Magisterial Source recommending we Catholics adopt the practice of holding Seders in our home then post it.

    If not, I will continue to think it is another sad consequence resulting from the malign madness of a directionless ecumenism.

    If it is not necessary to change it is necessary not to change

  45. Bornacatholic says:

    Her’s is what a Rabbi thinks about we Christians and our Seder meals

    http://rabbibarry.wordpress.com/2007/04/01/the-passover-and-the-last-supper/

  46. boko fittleworth says:

    Where else but a “Catholic seder” can one indulge in SWPL multi-culti self-affirming self-righteousness while dhimmi-ing up to the anti-Catholic bigots who wield Pius XII lies as a weapon against us? And it’s a catechetical moment? Win-win-win.

  47. Mrs. O says:

    The ones at our older parish were interesting – nothing wrong in my opinion unless the kids got a hold of the wine!!
    I do think the one at the parish is not strictly Jewish because adaptations…including Christ coming, dying, rising and responses.
    It is interesting.
    I would rather attend a real Jewish Seder and not have the one at the parish, but that is something that has been going on for soooo long, I doubt they will stop it.
    If done correctly, you can teach the kids a lot about our history – foreshadowing – but what I have witnessed is a lot don’t have a solid foundation so it results into “we just do this” without making connections…even connections on maybe they should stop…

  48. introibo says:

    Having a meal to commerate that of Holy Thursday is not an extremely recent phenomenom…Mary Reed Newland discussed this in her book “The Year and Our Children,” written in 1956. From the time my kids were little, I served the same type of meal – lamb, home made matzohs, the herbs and charoset. Well, now I see that the charoset and herbs might be questionable, but surely if Holy Thursday meal was a Passover meal, there would’ve been lamb and matzoh-type bread, right? So I can serve those, but don’t have to make the latter two items. Well, once a tradition is started, one has to continue it, or else the kids will complain. Oh, and I also end with a lamb-shaped cake.
    Christina

  49. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    Leavened bread is called, in the East, “Living bread”. Unleavened bread is referred to as “dead.” The fact is that, at His Mystical supper, even though it was the feast of unleavened bread (azymos) Christ took leavened bread (artos) and broke it and distributed it to His disciples. There is a type of this in the shew bread that was kept in the temple — the type of the tribes of Israel gathered before the Mercy Seat. When Christ refers to Himself as “the bread of Life,” the Living Bread, it is certainly a play on leavened bread. This is true also of the reference to the “leaven of the pharisees.” The leaven is what gives life to the loaf. This is why all in the Byzantine Rite use “living bread”, the bread of the Resurrection.

    Why anyone would use the type when they possess the antitype is worrisome. Meals feels the body; the Eucharist feeds the body and soul.

  50. GregH says:

    Seems like a waste of time unless they got some really good booze.

  51. Christina: What you describe is not a “seder meal” per se…it sounds beautiful and don’t feel scrupulous about it. What this discussion is about, if I am correct here, is taking the Jewish ritual of “seder” or Passover and doing it in the context of something “para-liturgical” in a parish setting which can, and often does, confuse what the Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Dominicae Cenae) is all about. That’s just my opinion. But having this in the home on Holy Thursday as a way to commemorate it is not the problem; its the “liturgical experts” who want to use it as a way to manipulate the understanding of the faithful.
    Keep it all. Jesus is the Lamb of God. He’s the Lamb Who was slain but lives forever. That’s our Catholic heritage and teaching.

  52. Heather says:

    No. No. No. No. Nooooo.

  53. GregH: Unless you REEEALLY like “Mogen David” or “Manichevitz” wine, forget about “really good booze”:<)…unless, of course, there is a cocktail hour beforehand. Don’t know. Never been to one.

  54. ArtND76 says:

    Why would we do that? Just to get to know what Jews do for Passover?

    Yes, just exactly that. We hosted what I would call a “seder-style” meal this Palm Sunday night with members of our bible discussion group. We chose Palm Sunday night so that there would be no conflict with any of the Holy Week liturgies in our parish. My wife and I had been at other “seder-style” meals in other settings, and thought there would be some educational benefit as well as having good fellowship. I call it “seder-style” because we used a “christianized” version of the seder that is out of print, with the text available at ewtn.com (right now my internet connection is erratic, or I would post the full link). It is definitely an adaption, but it does provide some insights that are useful.

    We were very clear with our guests about this not being a liturgy, but an educational experience and discussion starter, which fits in with what our group in the parish is about: bible discussion and fellowship.

  55. skellmeyer says:

    1) If you’re going to do the Seder, do the full ritual. Sacrifice the lamb yourself. Slit its throat and bleed it out in front of your family. It would help if the Temple were still here, of course, but someone should at least get into the spirit of the thing.

    2) If you decide to do it, which tradition will you follow? Ashkenazi Jews have a lamb, but Sephardic and Mizrahic Jews don’t because the Temple is destroyed, thus no way to ritually sacrifice correctly. If you only do it the Ashkenazi way, because American Jews are mostly *80%) Ashkenazi, aren’t you failing to be multi-culturally sensitive towards the down-trodden minority of non-Ashkenazi Jews? Isn’t the point of this to be multi-cultural and stuff? Sigh…

    3) If you decide to do it, at least point out what each aspect of the meal foreshadows. Teach the participants how teach aspect is fulfilled in the Mass and the Eucharist.

    I made this last point to a DRE once, and she said it would be an abomination to point out the fulfillments, an insult to our Jewish brethren. How would *I* like it, she asked, if someone did a parody of the Mass? I said parodies of the Mass happen all the time – for instance, the Anglicans do this (albeit unintentionally) at every Sunday liturgy.

    She was very miffed at me, but couldn’t think of a reply.
    I managed to suppress this practice while I was RCIA director, but now that I’ve left, it’s probably back again.

  56. Roland de Chanson says:

    In my experience, Jews are either offended that goyim have the chutzpah to simulate a seder, or else they think Catholics that do this are a bunch of schmendricks. They are right.

    All of this is of course a fad introduced by the novus ordo church. No such thing existed when Catholics were sure of their identity. But confusion reigns today amid the perennial changes.

    I propose that the Sacred Congregation of Rites (or whatever post-V2 bureaucracy has replaced it) not only design a formal Seder liturgy as part of the Maundy Thursday rites, but also amend the RCIA to include a mandatory bris.

    If Pope Baruch XVI is as committed to the healing of schism as he appears to be, he should take this step forthwith to heal that lamentable first schism of St. Saul of Tarsus. Perhaps the Abrahamic covenant could be a salvific fail safe just in case our “elder brothers in the faith” turn out to be right. Oy veh!

    Et antiquum documentum
    Novo cedat ritui.

  57. claiborneinmemphis says:

    Responding to skellmeyer @ 3:46 and Roland de Chanson @ 4:05:

    AMEN!

    This ‘parish seder’ business is invariably spearheaded locally by the aging-hippie brigade who seem to be absolutely beside themselves with ecstasy during Holy Week, what with this event and the ecumenical Good Friday ‘service’. I personally find it just plain silly.

  58. Roland: Calm down, brother!
    You have some valid points; I, also, am aware that Jews are offended by “catholic” seder meals.
    Be cautious about laying this at our present Pope’s feet; the recent “Catholic World Report” gives an analysis of his visit to the synagogue in Rome. He’s not giving in to any false “ecumenism” (which is a misnomer, because authentic “ecumenism” has to do with the Orthodox, who share our Sacraments and Apostolic succession, but I digress).
    As for a Novus Ordo seder meal, forgetta about it…this was the work of all kinds of people who don’t have a clue, don’t understand what they’re doing in terms of the liturgical tradition, and are just very “superficial”.
    This will all work out eventually; we just have to be patient, be direct and clear, charitable, and not be too ready to assign malignant intentions to the idiots who run things.
    Probably sounds patronizing, on my part. But peace of mind, peace of soul are so important nowadays…seeing the “big picture” can be a help. I don’t mean to be critical, at all. I do share your concerns and objections.

  59. Dave N. says:

    From experience, I agree with those who note that celebrating a Seder can have immense catechetical value–people generally have a very poor to non-existent understanding of the Exodus and its connections to the story of Jesus. I am, however, extremely careful not to overstate or understate what we do or don’t know about Jesus’ celebration of the Last Supper. As you may recall from yesterday’s reading, Luke (as well as the other synoptic Gospels) describe the Last Supper in the context of a Passover celebration, so I think understanding the implications of the connection between Passover sacrifice (much different than the other prescribed sacrifices in the OT) and our Lord’s death and resurrection is vital.

    However, there’s really no evidence allowing us to push later versions/developments of the Seder back to the first century (e.g., Scott Hahn, whose ideas on the topic are imaginative but quite unfounded). But on the other hand, this doesn’t mean that the Seder is a post-Second Temple phenomenon, either. Saying the Seder came out of the 8th century simply because that’s our oldest record of it would be akin to saying the Bible was written in the 4th Century (cf. Dan Brown) for the same reason. So, all we really can KNOW about Passover celebrations in the 1st century are found in the Gospels and Josephus–no more, no less. We can surmise that there were customs surrounding how it should be done, but any details about what those customs were come much later.

    My Jewish friends don’t find us celebrating a Seder offensive any more than reading from the OT at Mass–actually, most see it as very complimentary and affirming of a common tradition. However, most also find the idea that Christians “Christianize” the Seder as fairly offensive. So I try not to do that. People will “get it”; you don’t have to beat them over the head. Just explain carefully what it is that you’re doing and not doing.

    Also see paragraph 28 ff. for some guidance on the topic from the USCCB:

    http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/godsmercy.shtml

  60. ArtND76 says:

    Dave N.:

    Thank you for your reference to the USCCB guidance. I try to “keep one eye on my bishop and the other on the Pope” in order to guide my listening to God in prayer in order to direct my deeds.

    My experience is that we humans only understand words in a context. God chose Abraham and his descendants for a set of experiences that give the needed context to understand His complete word: Jesus.

    Thus, my wife and I put on a “seder-style” meal so that others might experience more of the context surrounding Jesus’ words and life.

  61. joan ellen says:

    What an interesting discussion. My understanding is limited and maybe misguided:
    1. There are two (2) Covenants. One Old & one New.
    2. The Old is the Mosaic Law. The New is the Law of Grace.
    3. Catholicism follows, traditionally, elements of the Old Law. Our One God is the God of Israel, The One God, The Father Almighty. The Old Testament is The Hebrew Bible, the Jewish Bible, the Written Word, Torah. We keep or try to keep the 10 Commandments. We have an Altar of Sacrifice, the Eternal Light, the Lavabo Table, often 2 Cherubim (Genesis)on either side of the Tabernacle, and many Church buildings but for Catholic Images resemble Synagogues. Priests wear vestments. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass contains many Old Testament words. Jews place Torah, the Holy of Holies, in the Ark of the Covenant. Priests place Jesus, the Word made Flesh, the Holy of Holies, in the Tabernacle. Don’t we keep, much, maybe most Jewish doctrine/dogma UP TO the time of The Law of Grace, the Messiah, the Saviour, the Redeemer, as told to us in the New Testament? We do not keep the 613 Traditional Practice/Custom Laws. Though perhaps we Replace the 613 Laws with Canon Law. 4. The difference re: the Seder? Jesus, the Living Presence, is our Passover (Ex. 12) now.
    This is a discussion that, for me and maybe for many, is most welcome. May the Holy Spirit guide us as we discern Authentic Catholic Teaching re: the Seder, and Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

  62. Maltese says:

    Roland de Chanson:

    In my experience, Jews are either offended that goyim have the chutzpah to simulate a seder, or else they think Catholics that do this are a bunch of schmendricks. They are right.

    All of this is of course a fad introduced by the novus ordo church. No such thing existed when Catholics were sure of their identity. But confusion reigns today amid the perennial changes.

    I propose that the Sacred Congregation of Rites (or whatever post-V2 bureaucracy has replaced it) not only design a formal Seder liturgy as part of the Maundy Thursday rites, but also amend the RCIA to include a mandatory bris.

    If Pope Baruch XVI is as committed to the healing of schism as he appears to be, he should take this step forthwith to heal that lamentable first schism of St. Saul of Tarsus. Perhaps the Abrahamic covenant could be a salvific fail safe just in case our “elder brothers in the faith” turn out to be right. Oy veh!

    Et antiquum documentum
    Novo cedat ritui.

    That is very clever and funny! I award you my bi-daily Toast for cleverness!

  63. muckemdanno says:

    Roland, I love the Yiddish…very ecumenical!

    The seder is an empty ritual…
    Et antiquum documentum,
    Novo cedat ritui.

  64. Maltese says:

    (Errrr! My “clever” italic trick misfired, supra, I meant to italicise all but the last line, as they belong to the, very clever, Roland)

  65. Roland de Chanson says:

    Nazareth Priest: Actually, I wrote that little piece entirely tongue-in-cheek. I’m sorry most of it didn’t come across that way. My only serious words were from St. Thomas’ Pange lingua. If that’s supersessionism, sit nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum.

    And have no fear, it wasn’t patronizing at all. I appreciate your taking the time to reply. I really like the bit about “the idiots who run things.” Been there, done that. sicut dictum est. So how does “Pope Baruch” sound to you? I’d bet Benedict would have introduced himself that way at the synagogue, at least to Rabbi Di Segni. There’s a certain camaraderie among men of the cloth.

    BTW, you make an excellent point about the true meaning of oecumenism vis-à-vis the Orthodox. May Benedict’s outreach prove fruitful. And may the next unification prove permanent.

    And notandum sit I have nothing but great hopes for Benedict (multi sint ei anni) — I just wish he’d do a token TLM to mollify dinosaurs like me. Several, in fact. Semel saltem septimo quoque die. Ut cominitietur.)

  66. Carolina says:

    When I was in elementary school we had a seder meal every year, usualy imediately proceeding the mass (went to a Cathoic school btw). It was great fun, especially as I was often the youngest in the class . . .

  67. Bless you Roland! And may you have a truly grace-filled Holy Week.
    I’m not so bright sometimes (with tongue-in-cheek)…we just have to hang tough through these rough waters…I agree with the desire for P. Benedict to offer the ‘usus antiquior’ soon…let us pray for that!

  68. I’m am absolutely opposed to having Seders in Catholic churches or schools. I was in a “Catholic” parish for years that substituted a pseudo-Seder for the actual Holy Thursday Mass (btw they still do).

    I think educating the self about other faith traditions is a good thing but I think there is a point where studying it as a educational exercise may cross over into theological experimentation.

    Often, in my experience, adding a Seder meal to a Catholic liturgy or as part of a Catholic school day is to encourage a turn into New Ageism. Let’s pick this part of this faith to try and let’s pick this part of that faith to try. What’s next? Practicing the fast of Ramadan in Catholic churches and schools? I know I’m often known for being sarcastic, and rightly so, but I’m being completely serious.

    If you give some people an inch, they’ll take a mile.Most of the people on this forum can differentiate between experiencing another faith’s tradition temporarily and as an educational exercise, but not everyone can.

    I fear if we continuing opening this door, pretty soon we are going to see more of these Seder meals in Catholic churches than are already happening.

    I continue to maintain that ecumenism does not mean making room for other faiths within your own and I think this Seder addition is starting to do that.

    I’m all for having dinner with my Jewish friends and if they want to invite me to their Seder in their home I may go but only if it did not somehow conflict with my Faith. However, I wonder when is the last time that any of us invited our Jewish friends to attend Mass with us? I’m guilty of never doing so. Why? Because I know they don’t accept Jesus as fully as I do and that’s what the Mass is about. Yet, we seem to have little hesitation participating in what is an important ritual event in their calender. Granted the Passover is not as important as Yom Kippur is to them or Easter is to us but, still, it’s meaningful-very.

  69. Bornacatholic says:

    I’d be in favor of Catholics learning Catholic Traditions but I know that reeks of Triumphalism.

    For only a few bucks, one can buy Dr. John Zmirak’s, “The Bad Catholic’s Guide to Good Living,” and find PLENTY of recipes celebrating the lives/actions of Catholic Saints (His Guy Fawkes Day Celebration alone is worth the price of the book).

    I wonder how many Catholics who participate in a Seder (which wasn’t even created until seven decades after The Resurrection) have their families gather for special meals/rituals celebrating Christian events of Salvation History?

  70. Ellen says:

    I’d go if I was invited. Most of my Jewish friends are cultural – not religious Jews though. Heck, I find that I know more Jewish law and custom than they do.

  71. Roland de Chanson says:

    Thank you, Nazareth Priest, and a blessed Holy Week to you as well. And long live Pope Benedict, the Pope of Christian Unity.

    Maltese: Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate them.

    Muckemdanno: I also love Yiddish. It is a beautiful language, even when spoken by a schlemiel like me. I went to high school with a lot of Jewish guys and while we all learned classical Latin together, I picked up a bisl Yiddish from them. In those days, some still spoke it at home. Unfortunately, it is also a dying language, a cultural treasure which can never be replaced.

    BTW, if you mean that the Seder is an empty ritual for Catholics, that is probably true since the Institution of the Eucharist is paramount. But I don’t agree that it is empty for Jews, as it is an epitome of their religious and ethnic history and eschatological hopes.

  72. Ame E. says:

    As I grow more in Catholic tradition, I am less comfortable with a Catholic seder than I originally was. Why? Because it is neither Jewish, nor Catholic, nor really part of any tradition. The original Jewish seder was from God (part of Jewish Law), and the holy sacrifice of the Mass is from God (Do this in remembrance of me). They are commandments. It is not necessary for a Catholic to participate in a seder, since the new law has replaced the old.

    The Catholic seder is a manmade catechetical tool, which can help one see the continuum between the old and new testaments, and how the old law prefigures the new, and how much of the passover ritual prefigures Jesus. There’s a richness there, that is worth noting and that you probably wouldn’t think about otherwise.

    That said, we have done this on Spy Wednesday with friends over the past few years and will do so again this year with the same family. We used to have the seder on Holy thursday, but it was too rushed.. As I grow in faith, I feel like there is enough to focus on during holy week without adding in another thing. I am thinking that if we do this again next year, we will do it at another time. Also, this year, out pastor specifically asked us to observe a traditional Lenten fast this week, so it’s a little awkward breaking this fast for a manmade tradition. I would be more comfortable this year if we moved the seder to Holy thursday for that reason.

  73. patrick_f says:

    I was always taught that because the Passover is such a huge deal, and people did pilgramage to Jerusalem for that purpose, that the Last Supper was IN FACT a passover sedar. They would have needed a place to have the sedar, and it would have been difficult, thus, they might not have had a place realistically on any other day, and that’s taking out the actuality of Christ knowing what he would endure.

    He Mentions in Luke

    “And he said to them: With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you, before I suffer.”

    The scripture there says it all. He WANTED to have this meal with them BEFORE he suffered. In other words, he knew his time was cut short, so he had to take the matter into his own hands. Since He is God, I think that gives him the liberty, if nothing else.

    Notice in the Rheims translation it says “Pasch”,

    the encarta online says for the first definition of Pasch

    “Definition:

    1. Passover: the religious holiday of Passover

    so, by wanting to eat the Pasch, our Lord is referring to the meal itself, clearly. Now, by Hebrew, greek and Latin is lacking…so I can see where other more learned men could disagree

    HOWEVER — Is not the Eucharist, meant to underscore several items? The temple sacrifice, the Passover of the hand of God, and a sedar meal?

    That being said – I would definately attend . By learning our Jewish Roots, we learn more about our faith. It is important more then ever to know who we are, in a pure sense. I always see this billboard “Christianity is the most successful Jewish Movement in History”, and it is. Even Roslyn Moss was drawn to Catholicism, because of the Jewish charecteristics (all be it perfected), that are evident in it.

    Yes- We are Roman Catholics – but we are Christians first. We have a title only because of Divisions, if there were not divisions, there would be no use for the descriptive terms in the way they are used (though, I do understand Catholic is “universal” , I get all that… point is…it wasnt a “denomination” till the Schism and Reformation, respectively)

    Once we know WHY things are there, we embrace them more . Many people might struggle with transubstantiation, and such. But they will immediately understand the connections that are there.

    Christ said “I have not come to destroy the prophecies but fulfill them”

    Would this not also apply in a way to the habits, practices and rituals of the People of God? Do we NOT call Calvary a perfected Sacrifice? Is Christ not the “Paschal Lamb” ?

    To NOT embrace our Jewish roots, and not learn about them, is equivalent with not having latin in a Latin Rite church.

  74. Meredith says:

    My uncle is Jewish. He married into a big Catholic family, and so he is always going to big Christmas and Epiphany and Pentecost parties… so he usually invites my family to the seder at his house, and it is always lovely. It really only increases my appreciation for Holy Thursday and Easter (which, by the way, is known as “Pascua” or some variation thereof in just about every other language). That someone could say that eating this meal with our Jewish family and friends and remembering the goodness of God to Israel is a *mortal sin*… comepletely outrageous. Okay, if you are a Catholic and you decide that the Mass is overrated and we need to get back to our roots and replace it with Passover, that would certainly be sinful and such a person could not call himself Catholic anymore. But eating lamb and charoset is not on the same level with receiving Communion.

    “Christ said “I have not come to destroy the prophecies but fulfill them”

    Would this not also apply in a way to the habits, practices and rituals of the People of God? Do we NOT call Calvary a perfected Sacrifice? Is Christ not the “Paschal Lamb” ?”

    Well, amen! (nice Hebrew word, that.)

  75. patrick_f says:

    In many ways, this discussion mimics the Council of Jerusalem, except in reverse. Rather then saying one has to keep the old law, we are arguing that one shouldnt keep the

    Personally, I see no wrong in keeping a small t “traditions” so long as it does not trump big T traditions. (IE…Nice customs versus Liturgical and Faith based customs)

    Is not the “Sunday Meal” a form of Sedar, only with completely different ingredients?

  76. patrick_f says:

    Amendment —- for some reason I got lost in my thought … Meant to say

    “In many ways, this discussion mimics the Council of Jerusalem, except in reverse. Rather then saying one has to keep the old law, we are arguing that one shouldnt keep the traditions..etc and one CANT keep the traditions”

  77. ArtND76 says:

    Cathy of Alex: I feel your pain. While things in the diocese where I live have turned around some, there was a time around 12 years ago when I decided to attend either Baptist or Assemblies of God in order to hear from the pulpit less disagreement with Catholic magisterial teaching (i.e., heresy) than what I was hearing from the catholic pulpits around here. Things changed, and we are back to attending at the cathedral of our diocese. During that time there was no change in the teaching of the magisterium, and little change in our belief. There was, however, a dramatic reduction in the amount of heresy from the local pulpits. Child abuse was not the only scandal with the priesthood here.

    That said, let us also recognize that there could be a healthy way to use a “seder-style” meal as a tool to educate us about the context that our Catholic beliefs come from. This is not about learning Jewish practice so we can mutilate (to use St. Paul’s term) ourselves according to the old law. It is about learning more about the context in which Jesus was speaking (which was as a practicing Jew) so that we can more fully understand His Word.

  78. Tina in Ashburn says:

    In my youth, my mother would put on a family meal for Holy Thursday reminiscent of a Seder. Among the various foods, she would fix lamb, bitter herbs, something she called “mortar” containing honey, walnuts, raisins. The centerpiece was stalks of wheat, plastic grapes, an unconsecrated host and a small green glass shaped like a chalice. There was an extra place setting for Elias. I vaguely remember a lamb with a keyrow [that "x" with the "P" extending out of it] depicted…i think a felt banner she had made.

    The meal demonstrated the Jewish roots of our Church and the relationship with Calvary and the Mass, as explanations would surface during the meal about the symbolism. This is how I learned with a very concrete method about the Exodus. I’m pretty sure at the time mother was affected by the lurching of the 50s and 60s towards a flavor of ecumenism that was then surfacing in the Church. We didn’t do anything overtly Jewish or anything that would deny our Faith. I think of these past dinners with great fondness.

  79. Gulielmus says:

    My grandparents, and according to family stories their parents and grandparents before them, always had a special dinner on Holy Thursday. None of them would ever have called it a “seder,” nor were any of the Jewish rituals included (they weren’t wine drinkers, for one thing). But it was purposely an attempt to be a dinner that was thought to be like the Last Supper. My memory of this goes back to the 50s, and my family has followed the practice ever since. My grandmother never went to Mass on Holy Thursday because she was cooking! I don’t believe there was ever any thought of it being anything quasi-liturgical; it came out of a desire to share, even distantly, some of Jesus’ experience with the Apostles.

    The reader who wrote to Fr Z seems to be clearly talking about a family that does this– not a parish activity. I’ve never attended such a “public” event that was called a seder by Catholics, but I have been invited by Jewish neighbors and was warmly welcomed– as I have welcomed them to Christmas and Easter dinners.