The current event that I wrote about in my latest Ad Rem, Pope Francis and the Senseless Galatians, has, it appears, reached its rather anti-climactic climax followed by an inglorious denouement. Unless either side chooses to provoke something, which appears diplomatically unlikely, the game is over, and the win goes to the indifferents.
No big shocker.
From two pieces published last week by Reuters’ very liberal vaticanista, Philip Pullella, we learn the following (bold emphasis mine):
Francis then asked Koch to explain that his words on the Torah reflecting on the writings of St. Paul in the New Testament should not be taken as a judgment on Jewish law, the sources said.
Last week Koch sent a letter to Arousi containing a quote made by Pope Francis in 2015: “The Christian confessions find their unity in Christ; Judaism finds its unity in the Torah.” [This ignores the fundamental issue: Do Jews — like the Gentiles — need faith in Christ and in the Holy Trinity in order to be saved?]
Jewish sources said they saw the Vatican letter as a sign of reconciliation.
For his part, the pope appeared to go out of his way in his last two public appearances to try to clear up what the Vatican considers a misunderstanding.
At a general audience on Sept 1, Francis said his words on St. Paul’s writings were “simply a catechesis (teaching homily) … and nothing else”.
At his weekly blessing on Sunday, he offered best wishes to Jews for the upcoming Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and for the subsequent feasts of Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
“May the new year be rich with fruits of peace, and good for those who walk faithfully in the law of the Lord,” he said.
Both Jewish and Vatican sources said the inclusion of the word “law” in what are normally routine greetings was significant and intentional.
The Vatican’s official response, seen by Reuters on Friday, said the pope’s comments in a homily on the writings of St. Paul should not be extrapolated from their context of ancient times and had no bearings on today’s Jews.
“The abiding Christian conviction is that Jesus Christ is the new way of salvation. However, this does not mean that the Torah is diminished or no longer recognised as the ‘way of salvation for Jews,'” wrote Cardinal Kurt Koch, whose Vatican department covers religious relations with Jews.
“In his catechesis the Holy Father does not make any mention of modern Judaism; the address is a reflection on (St. Paul’s) theology within the historical context of a given era,” Koch wrote.
“The fact that the Torah is crucial for modern Judaism is not questioned in any way,” he said.
Of the many pieces on this site that are of direct relevance to the above remarks, these four stand out as the most germane:
- Promising Salvation to Non-Catholics: A Sin against Charity
- Charity for Gentiles and Jews
- The Jewish Nation will Enter the Church
- Forgotten Converts