Wrong Fans of Modern Popes?
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Dorothy and Marguerite have been friends since childhood. Both attended Roman Catholic schools from kindergarten right through college. For years they agreed on almost everything, but for the past twenty years or so they have begun to drift apart in their thinking. Dorothy has become particularly concerned with the direction that the Church has taken. Marguerite, on the other hand, sees no problem…except with Dorothy. Recently, hoping to straighten her out a little bit, Marguerite sent Dorothy an article from the Los Angeles Times describing the great reception the impending sainthood of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II is receiving in the Jewish community. What follows is Dorothy’s response, which she has been kind enough to share with me:
The article you sent concerning sainthood for John XXIII and John Paul II offers an opportunity for reflection. The article begins,
“As millions of Roman Catholics rejoice in the news that two popes are being fast-tracked to sainthood, many Jews are smiling…”
What is the meaning of the term “Jews?” In 1999, Henry Grunwald, former editor-in-chief of Time magazine, was discussing Twilight, his book about insights he learned as he was losing his eyesight.
He invited questions and a woman asked if his relationship with God was affected by his blindness. Grunwald responded dispassionately, “I’m not a believer. I am a Jew.”
His words jolted me. I was not accustomed to thinking of Jews as atheists.
According to Haaretz, (Israel’s oldest daily newspaper) a Gallup poll found “only 38% of the Jewish population worldwide considered itself religious.” An estimated 50% of American Jews are atheists. Reform Rabbi Shewin Wine, an atheist, founded “Humanistic Judaism.” It is not a contradiction for someone to be a dues paying member of a synagogue and also be an atheist.
What about the religious Jews? Converts to Judaism renounce the divinity of Christ and may take an oath of allegiance to the Jewish people. Catholic converts, by contrast as you know, reject Satan and profess the belief that Jesus is the Son of God.
I once asked a Dominican friar and Hebrew scholar if it is true that the Jewish Talmud says Jesus is in hell boiling in excrement and the Blessed Virgin was a whore who became pregnant with Jesus from a Roman soldier? He said, “Yes, it says those things and worse.” I asked him why Catholics do not know these things are in the Jewish Talmud. He responded, “The Jews are very powerful and they can destroy you.”
In the Gospel of John, Chapter 9, a blind man who was cured by Jesus was cast bodily out of the synagogue.
When Jesus heard of his expulsion he sought him out and asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” “You have seen him,” Jesus replied. “He is speaking to you now.” “I do believe, Lord,” he said, and bowed down to worship him. Then Jesus said: “I came into this world to divide it, to make the sightless see and the seeing blind.”
Some of the Pharisees around him picked this up, saying, “You are not calling us blind, are you?” To which Jesus replied: “If you were blind there would be no sin in that, ‘But we see,’ you say, and your sin remains.”
Those who are cast out of the synagogue, Christ takes in. This Gospel passage reminds me of Henry Grunwald, the blind atheist Jew.
It is not necessarily a good thing that atheist Jews and Jews who reject the divinity of Christ are smiling about these popes becoming saints. Since Vatican II some in the Church claim the Old Covenant is still valid and Jews are saved without accepting Christ. St. Paul wrote, “I will not treat God’s precious gift as pointless. If justice is available through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” Gal 2:21
Sadly, proselytizing the Jews was discouraged with Vatican II at the same time St. Simon of Trent was removed from the list of saints. Jews did not like this little saint, but now they are smiling about sainthood for John XXIII and John Paul II. Is Satan smiling too? (See John 8:44-59)
If we love the Jewish people, as Christ taught, we would want the good for them. We would pray that Jews convert to belief in Jesus, the Son of God.
One curiosity in the article was a reference to John XXIII who as Monsignor Roncalli during WW2 allegedly passed out fake baptismal certificates to save Jews from the Holocaust. How could this be? The Nazis were racist. Their Nuremberg laws defined a Jew as anyone with three or more Jewish grandparents. Baptism did not define who was a Jew for the Nazis. Baptism did not excuse St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross from Auschwitz.
We live in an age where rejection of God is tolerated. Truth is denied and men marry men. Early Church fathers are called the early anti-Semites. The Holocaust has assumed the role of the ecumenical religion that everyone, even the atheists, may believe in. Popes found pleasing to the traditional enemies of Christ are called righteous and are to be made “saints.”
As of this writing Marguerite has not responded.
August 27, 2013