Friday, May 19, 2006

Pope Benedict
The Jews

A blast from CUANAS past. This is a post I did on Benedict, shortly after he was made Pope:

Much has been said in the past 24 about the New Pope and his relationship to the Jews. The media is making a big deal out of the fact that he was a member of the Hitler Youth. The truth is, all German children were enrolled in the Hitler Youth. The Popes father was an ACTIVE ANTI-NAZI, which caused him to have to pack up and move on several occasions.

The Popes whole family was anti-Nazi.

The media is bringing up this Hitler Youth stuff because the media does not like the fact that the Pope is a Christian. They would rather that he be a mushy New Age hypocrite like themselves.Too bad for the media.

The Pope, Mr. Ratzinger, is actually one of the best Christian friends the Jews have ever had. I am surprised to find how much his ideas dovetail with my very own.

Here is an excerpt from a very long paper, entitled The Jewish People and Their Sacred Scriptures In The Christian Bible, much of it written by The Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger himself:

Personally, Paul continued to be proud of his Jewish origin (Rm 11:1). Referring to the time preceding his conversion, he says: “I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors” (Ga 1:14). Having become an apostle of Christ, he says of his adversaries:

“Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I” (2 Co 11:22). Still, he can relativise all these advantages by saying: “These I have come to regard as loss because of Christ” (Ph 3:7).

Nonetheless, he continues to think and reason like a Jew. His thought is visibly permeated by Jewish ideas. In his writings, as was mentioned above, we find not only continual references to the Old Testament, but many traces of Jewish traditions as well. Furthermore, Paul often uses rabbinic techniques of exegesis and argumentation (cf. I. D. 3, no. 14).

Paul's ties to Judaism are also seen in his moral teaching. In spite of his opposition to the pretentions of those who kept the Law, he himself includes a precept of the Law, Lv 19:18 (“You shall love your neighbour as yourself”) to sum up the whole of the moral life. 332 Summing up the Law in one precept is typically Jewish, as the well-known anecdote about Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Shammai, Jesus' contemporaries, demonstrates. 333

The resistance mounted by the majority of Jews to the Christian preaching produced in Paul's heart “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” (Rm 9:2), clear evidence of his great affection for them. He said that he himself was willing to accept on their behalf the greatest and most inconceivable sacrifice, to be branded “accursed”, separated from Christ (9:3). His afflictions and suffering forced him to search for a solution: in three lengthy chapters (Rm 9-11), he goes to the heart of the problem, or rather the mystery, of Israel's place in God's plan, in the light of Christ and of the Scriptures, without giving up until he is able to conclude: “and so all Israel will be saved” (Rm 11:26). These three chapters in the Letter to the Romans constitute the most profound reflection in the whole of the New Testament on Jews who do not believe in Jesus. Paul expressed there his most mature reflections.

The solution he proposed is based on the Scriptures which, in certain places, promised salvation only to a “remnant” of Israel. 334 In this phase of salvation history then, there is only a “remnant” of Israelites who believe in Christ Jesus, but this situation is not definitive. Paul observes that, from now on, the presence of the “remnant” proves that God has not “rejected his people” (11:1).

This people continues to be “holy”, that is, in close relationship with God. It is holy because it comes from a holy root, the ancestors, and because their “first fruits” have been blessed (11:16). Paul does not make it clear whether by “first fruits” he means Israel's ancestors, or the “remnant” sanctified by faith and baptism. He exploits the agricultural metaphor of the tree when he speaks of branches being cut off and grafted (11:17-24). It is understood that the cut off branches are Israelites who have refused to believe in Christ Jesus and that those grafted on are Gentile Christians. To these — as we have already noted — Paul preaches humility:

“It is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you” (11:18). To the branches that have been cut off, Paul opens up a positive perspective: “God has the power to graft them on again” (11:23); this would be easier than in the case of the Gentiles, since it is “their own olive tree” (11:24). In the final analysis, God's plan for Israel is entirely positive: “their stumbling means riches for the world”, “how much more will their full inclusion mean?” (11:12). They are assured of a covenant of mercy by God (11:27,31).

I've been called a heretic for saying such things. Well, now I have the Pope to back me up. I absolutely agree with the Pope on this. Always have. My heart tells me this is true, and this is why I call the Jews, My Brothers in the Faith.

I believe the choice of Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope could very well be a hinge upon which history will turn. He is exactly the Pope needed to counter the problems our world is facing today.

Todays Commentary:

There is one other very important thing to note which Paul writes, in the passage Benedict quotes here. It is a warning:

... they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

--- Romans 11: 20-22

Taking into account, the post below, about Iran passing a law to force Jews to wear yellow insignias (as they were also forced to do by the Germans, in the days leading up to the Holocaust), it is wise for any believer to understand the curse that is leveled at those of us who would be "arrogant" toward the Jews.

Believe me, to ignore them in their time of peril is even worse than arrogance.

The Christian Church, the Body of Christ, stands ready to suffer the consequences if we remain silent.

You have been warned.