Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Thursday, 16 July 2009

New Flash: people think what they believe is correct!

And that even goes for Catholics, at least those who actually believe Catholicism, that what they hold to be the Truth is, well..... true.
And moreover, that it is, by virtue of being true, good for all people to know.
I missed this during my liturgical music marathon:

In the latest show of tensions between Catholic and Jewish leaders, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has issued a critical statement about a document released by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). ADL president Abraham Foxman said that the bishops' statement might be considered "unacceptable."

Unacceptable to whom?

In their statement, released without fanfare at the close of their meeting last week, the American bishops corrected several defects in an earlier statement, Reflections on Covenant and Mission, which had been produced as a joint product of Catholic and Jewish authors in 2002....

In a sense it goes without saying that some Catholic teachings will be "unacceptable" to Jews. After all, if a Jew accepts all of the teachings of the Church, he becomes a convert to Catholicism. And conversion is precisely the question on which the latest tensions arise.

The ADL criticism of the new USCCB document centers on the idea that in undertaking religious dialogue with Jewish counterparts, Catholics do not entirely renounce the hope that their Jewish partners in this dialogue might come to recognize the truth of the Catholic faith. The 2002 document had conveyed the impression that there is no reason for a Jew to be baptized into the Church. The new USCCB document notes that this earlier text "could lead some to conclude mistakenly that Jews have an obligation not to become Christian and that the Church has a corresponding obligation not to baptize Jews."

"This is an objectionable understanding of Jewish-Catholic relations," announces the ADL in its complaint. The ADL press release continues:

The League called on the Bishops Conference to reaffirm the sentence from the original document that states that interfaith dialogue with Jews is devoid of any intention whatsoever to invite the dialogue partner to baptism.

The US bishops cannot possibly provide the reassurance that the ADL wants; to do so would be to renounce the mission entrusted to the Church by Christ Himself: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."[emphasis supplied]

If Catholics believe that theirs is the one true faith, that the Church founded by Christ is the conduit of all grace and the instrument of salvation, it would be heartless to deny their Jewish interlocutors an opportunity to enter that Church and enjoy the full fruits of Christ's redemptive work. On the other hand if the Catholics engaged in inter-religious dialogue do not believe that the Church is the one true faith and the way to salvation, then they are not giving their Jewish partners an accurate understanding of Catholic teaching.

So we are left between a rock and a hard place. To render Church teachings accurately means running the risk that those teachings might give offense. To water down those teachings is to prevent genuine inter-religious understanding-- and to insult one's partners in dialogue.

Fortunately there is a way out of this quandary. Anyone who enters into inter-religious dialogue in a spirit of goodwill must come to the table prepared to accept the likelihood that his partners will make some statements that he finds theologically objectionable. The whole pupose of the inter-religious enterprise is to go beyond the hurling of mutual anathemas, to assume the goodwill of other parties in spite of serious differences, and to search for common ground beyond those disputes.

To put it differently, inter-religious dialogue presumes that neither party will attempt to cajole or browbeat the other into a change in religious beliefs. Jewish participants may want assurances that the dialogue is not merely a pretext for an attempt at conversion; Catholics are quite ready to give that assurance. In return, Jewish leaders should realize that Catholics cannot alter established Church doctrine simply to ease the tensions that are inevitable in this dialogue.

Umm... yes.

From the more recent of the two Catholic documents, a presumably authoitative one (as opposed to the last one put together by some consutlants and not issued authoritatively and yet passed off as such -- remind you of anything?)

Reflections on Covenant and Mission provides a clear acknowledgment of the relationship
established by God with Israel prior to Jesus Christ. This acknowledgment needs to be
accompanied, however, by a clear affirmation of the Church's belief that Jesus Christ in himself
fulfills God’s revelation begun with Abraham and that proclaiming this good news to all the
world is at the heart of her mission. Reflections on Covenant and Mission, however, lacks such
an affirmation and thus presents a diminished notion of evangelization....

Reflections on Covenant and Mission maintains that a definition of evangelization as the
"invitation to a commitment of faith in Jesus Christ and to entry through baptism into the
community of believers which is the Church" is a "very narrow construal" of her mission. In its
effort to present a broader and fuller conception of evangelization, however, the document
develops a vision of it in which the core elements of proclamation and invitation to life in Christ
seem virtually to disappear....

we also believe that the fulfillment of the covenants, indeed, of all God's promises to Israel, is found only in Jesus Christ. [emphasis supplied]

Imagine that....

No comments: