Sunday, January 17, 2016

POPE FRANCIS VISITS THE GREAT SYNAGOGUE OF ROME TO A TUMULTUOUS WELCOME




Please find below Vatican Radio’s translation of the Pope’s address:

I'm happy to be here today with you in this Synagogue. I thank Dr. Di Segni, Mrs  Durighello and Mr Gattegna for their kind words. And  I thank you all for your warm welcome, thank you! Tada Toda Rabba, thank you!

During my first visit to this synagogue as Bishop of Rome, I wish to express to you and to extend to all Jewish communities, the fraternal greetings of peace of the whole Catholic Church.

Our relations are very close to my heart. When in Buenos Aires I used to go to the synagogues and meet the communities gathered there, I used to follow Jewish festivities and commemorations and give thanks to the Lord who gives us life and accompanies us on the path of history. Over time, a spiritual bond has been created which has favoured the birth of a genuine friendship and given life to a shared commitment. In interreligious dialogue it is essential that we meet as brothers and sisters before our Creator and to Him give praise, that we respect and appreciate each other and try to collaborate. In Jewish-Christian dialogue there is a unique and special bond thanks to the Jewish roots of Christianity: Jews and Christians must therefore feel as brothers, united by the same God and by a rich common spiritual patrimony (cf. Declaration. Nostra Aetate, 4 ), upon which to build the future.

With this visit I follow in the footsteps of my predecessors. Pope John Paul II came here thirty years ago, on 13 April 1986; and Pope Benedict XVI was amongt you six years ago. On that occasion John Paul II coined the beautiful description "elder brothers", and in fact you are our brothers and sisters in the faith. We all belong to one family, the family of God, who accompanies and protects us, His people. Together, as Jews and as Catholics, we are called to take on our responsibilities towards this city, giving first of all a spiritual contribution, and favouring the resolution of various current problems. It is my hope that closeness, mutual understanding and respect between our two  communities continue to grow. Thus, it is significant that I have come among you today, on January 17, the day when the Italian Episcopal Conference celebrates the "Day of dialogue between Catholics and Jews."


We have just commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration “Nostra Aetate” which made possible the systematic dialogue between the Catholic Church and Judaism. On 28 October last, in St. Peter's Square, I was able to greet a large number of Jewish representatives to whom I said “Deserving of special gratitude to God is the veritable transformation of Christian-Jewish relations in these 50 years. Indifference and opposition have changed into cooperation and benevolence. From enemies and strangers we have become friends and brothers. The Council, with the Declaration Nostra Aetate, has indicated the way: “yes” to rediscovering Christianity’s Jewish roots; “no” to every form of anti-Semitism and blame for every wrong, discrimination and persecution deriving from it.” Nostra Aetate explicitly defined theologically for the first time the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism. Of course it did not solve all the theological issues that affect us, but we it provided an important stimulus for further necessary reflections. In this regard, on 10 December 2015, the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews published a new document that addresses theological issues that have emerged in recent decades since the promulgation of “Nostra Aetate”. In fact, the theological dimension of Jewish-Catholic dialogue deserves to be more thorough, and I wish to encourage all those involved in this dialogue to continue in this direction, with discernment and perseverance. From a theological point of view, it is clear there is an inseparable bond between Christians and Jews. Christians, to be able to understand themselves, cannot not refer to their Jewish roots, and the Church, while professing salvation through faith in Christ, recognizes the irrevocability of the Covenant and God’s constant and faithful love for Israel .
Along with theological issues, we must not lose sight of the big challenges facing the world today. 

 That of an integral ecology is now a priority, and us Christians and Jews can and must offer humanity the message of the Bible regarding the care of creation. Conflicts, wars, violence and injustices open deep wounds in humanity and call us to strengthen a commitment for peace and justice. Violence by man against man is in contradiction with any religion worthy of that name, and in particular with the three great monotheistic religions. Life is sacred, a gift of God. The fifth commandment of the Decalogue says: "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13). God is the God of life, and always wants to promote and defend it; and we, created in his image and likeness, are called upon to do the same.

Every human being, as a creature of God, is our brother, regardless of his or her origin or religious affiliation. Each person must be viewed with favour, just as God does, who offers his merciful hand to all, regardless of their faith and of their belonging, and who cares for those who most need him: the poor, the sick, the marginalized , the helpless. Where life is in danger, we are called even more to protect it. Neither violence nor death will have the last word before God,  the God of love and life. We must pray with insistence to help us put into practice the logic of peace, of reconciliation, of forgiveness, of life, in Europe, in the Holy Land, in the Middle East, in Africa and elsewhere in the world.

In its history, the Jewish people has had to experience violence and persecution, to the point of  extermination of European Jews during the Holocaust. Six million people, just because they belonged to the Jewish people, were victims of the most inhumane barbarity perpetrated in the name of an ideology that wanted to replace God with man. On October 16, 1943, over a thousand men, women and children Rome’s Jewish community were deported to Auschwitz. Today I wish to remember them in a special way: their suffering, their fear, their tears must never be forgotten. And the past must serve as a lesson for the present and for the future. The Holocaust teaches us that utmost vigilance is always needed to be able to take prompt action in defense of human dignity and peace. I would like to express my closeness to every witness of the Holocaust who is still living; and I address a special greeting to those who are present here today.

Dear brothers, we really have to be thankful for all that has been realized in the last fifty years, because between us mutual understanding, mutual trust and friendship have grown and deepened. Let us pray together to the Lord, to lead the way to a better future. God has plans of salvation for us, as the prophet Jeremiah says: "I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the Lord - plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope" (Jer 29 , 11). “The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!  (cf. 6.24 to 26 Nm). Shalom Alechem!

14 comments:

DJR said...

"...and in fact you are our brothers and sisters in the faith."

Assuming the English translation is accurate, what is the definition of the words "the faith" in the above quote?

Which Jews believe those words to be true?

Anonymous said...

"Let us be mindful that the Jews are the chosen people of God. They are, as John Paul taught, our “elder brothers in faith” (or, as Pope Francis says, ”our big brothers”). They are, in the words of the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, “blood brothers of Christ.” They stand in an unbroken and unbreakable covenant with the divine Creator and Ruler of all that is. Of them scripture says, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Robert P George. First Things, II+25+13

John Nolan said...

I hope, in response to the Pope's generous comments, his Jewish hosts acknowledged that thanks to the efforts of the Holy See and Pius XII in particular, many of Rome's Jews were saved. The chief rabbi converted to Catholicism and took the name Eugenio.

The number of Jews (of all countries) who survived thanks to the Catholic Church is estimated at around 860,000; more than all other agencies put together.

DJR said...

Anonymous said...
"Let us be mindful that the Jews are the chosen people of God. They are, as John Paul taught, our “elder brothers in faith” (or, as Pope Francis says, ”our big brothers”). They are, in the words of the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, “blood brothers of Christ.” They stand in an unbroken and unbreakable covenant with the divine Creator and Ruler of all that is. Of them scripture says, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Robert P George. First Things, II+25+13


Jewish people do not believe that they are "brothers in faith" to Catholics, and Catholics do not believe that the Jewish people are still the chosen people. The Catholic Church is the new Israel and is now "the chosen people."

Matthew 21:16-42.

1 John 2:22, 2 John 1:7.

To deny that the Catholic Church is the new Israel is to deny Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Catholic Church.

The old testament is obsolete. Hebrews 8:6, et seq.


Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (by Pope Pius XI)

Be Thou King of all those who even now sit in the shadow of idolatry or Islam and refuse not Thou to bring them into the light of Thy kingdom. Look, finally, with eyes of pity upon the children of that race, which was for so long a time Thy chosen people (NB, past tense), and let Thy Blood, which was once invoked upon them in vengeance, now descend upon them also in a cleansing flood of redemption and eternal life.

Anonymous said...

He should be converting the Jews not breaking bread with them HELLO!!!!!!! Go back to Argentina already and stop pretending to be pope.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

DJR said: "The old testament is obsolete. Hebrews 8:6, et seq."

This is incorrect and condemned as part of the heretical teaching of Marcion.

CCC 123 "Christians venerate the Old Testament as true Word of God. The Church has always vigorously opposed the idea of rejecting the Old Testament under the pretext that the New has rendered it void (Marcionism)."

DJR Said:Jewish people do not believe that they are "brothers in faith" to Catholics, and Catholics do not believe that the Jewish people are still the chosen people. The Catholic Church is the new Israel and is now "the chosen people."

This, too, is incorrect.

CCC 121 "The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture. Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value, for the Old Covenant has never been revoked."

Also: "Some have argued that "the New Covenant "abrogated" or "superseded" the Old Covenant, and that the Sinai Covenant was discarded by God and replaced with another made by Jesus. The Second Vatican Council, in Dei Verbum and Nostra Aetate, rejected these ideas. In a major address in 1980, Pope John Paul II linked the renewed understanding of Scripture with the Church's own understanding of her relationship with the Jewish people, stating that the dialogue, as "the meeting between the people of God of the Old Covenant, never revoked by God (cf. Rom. 11.29), and that of the New Covenant is at the same time a dialogue within our Church, that is to say, between the first and the second part of her Bible" (Pope John Paul II, Mainz, November 17, 1980, no. 3)."(cf. also God's Mercy Endures Forever, no. 6) (USCCB.org)

George said...


The Davidic Covenant did not abrogate the Mosaic Covenant, nor the Mosaic the Abrahamic.

The New Covenant surpassed and transcended the Old without revoking or displacing it.

I like to compare the God's covenants with man with the creation of the world. What God created on the first day was still there on the sixth and that was true of each succeeding day of creation. Whatever was created on each succeeding day just added and contributed to what preceded it.

Just as what was created by God on the sixth day was the pinnacle and completion of all that came before it, so the Church is the New Zion, the New Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ, the fullness and completion of, and above all that came before it.


"The New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New."

Anonymous 2 said...

I have a Jewish friend and colleague who many years ago teased me that the New Testament was the fictitious bit of the Bible. I replied that the Old Testament was the prologue. Our friendship survived this contentious exchange. =)

Gene said...

Indeed, Kavanaugh, right on. Calvin also rejected Marcion and all such diminishing of the OT covenants. Even protestants believe that the Jews are our brothers and sisters in the faith.

Anonymous said...

But Jews cannot be saved by their false Jewish religion, which has little to do with the religion of our Lord. So the discussion is based on a false premise that the Jews of the OT are the same as the Jews of today. They are not.

Anonymous said...

"Jewish" Religion:
Isaiah 7:14 Behold, a virgin shall conceive in the womb, and shall bring forth son, and thou shalt call his name Emmanuel.
Religion of "our Lord":
Matthew 1:23 "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us).

"Jewish" Religion:
Malachi 3:1 Behold, I send forth my messenger, and he shall survey the way before me"
Religion of "our Lord":
Luke 7:27 This is [he], of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

"Jewish" Religion:
Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Religion of "our Lord":
Ephesians 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

"Jewish" Religion:
Hosea 10:8 And the altars of On, the sins of Israel, shall be taken away: thorns and thistles shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.
Religion of "our Lord":
Luke 23:30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.

"Jewish" Religion:
Exodus 22:28 Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor speak ill of the ruler of thy people.
Religion of "our Lord":
Acts 23:5 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.

Etc Etc Etc

DJR said...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...DJR said: "The old testament is obsolete. Hebrews 8:6, et seq."
This is incorrect and condemned as part of the heretical teaching of Marcion. CCC 123 "Christians venerate the Old Testament as true Word of God. The Church has always vigorously opposed the idea of rejecting the Old Testament under the pretext that the New has rendered it void (Marcionism)."


You misunderstood my post and apparently misunderstand the catechism. I was not referring to OT scriptures, which is what the catechism is referring to. I was referring to the old "covenant," if you prefer, which has been superseded by the new.

Saint Paul is quite explicit in telling us that the old "testament" is obsolete. Hebrews 8:6-13.

[6] But now he hath obtained a better ministry, by how much also he is a mediator of a better testament, which is established on better promises. [7] For if that former had been faultless, there should not indeed a place have been sought for a second. [8] For finding fault with them, he saith: Behold, the days shall come, saith the Lord: and I will perfect unto the house of Israel, and unto the house of Juda, a new testament: [9] Not according to the testament which I made to their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt: because they continued not in my testament: and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. [10] For this is the testament which I will make to the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will give my laws into their mind, and in their heart will I write them: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:

[11] And they shall not teach every man his neighbour and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me from the least to the greatest of them: [12] Because I will be merciful to their iniquities, and their sins I will remember no more. [13] Now in saying a new, he hath made the former old (NB: Some Protestant versions have the word "obsolete" here.) And that which decayeth and groweth old, is near its end.

DJR said...

Fr. Michael Kavanaugh said: DJR Said:Jewish people do not believe that they are "brothers in faith" to Catholics, and Catholics do not believe that the Jewish people are still the chosen people. The Catholic Church is the new Israel and is now "the chosen people."

This, too, is incorrect.


Jewish people don't believe they are brothers in the faith to Catholics.

CCC 121 "The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture. Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value, for the Old Covenant has never been revoked."

To say that the old covenant has never been revoked is a separate concept from its being obsolete.

The old testament was never revoked by God; it has, however, become obsolete (the testament itself, not the Old Testament scriptures). Christ made it so.

It is the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church that She alone constitutes the New Israel. Saint Paul, in speaking of the Church, referred to Her as "the Israel of God" (Galatians 6:16).

CCC 877: Likewise, it belongs to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry that it have a collegial character. In fact, from the beginning of his ministry, the Lord Jesus instituted the Twelve as 'the seeds of the new Israel and the beginning of the sacred hierarchy.'

Lumen Gentium, II,9:

This was to be the new People of God. For those who believe in Christ, who are reborn not from a perishable but from an imperishable seed through the word of the living God,(88) not from the flesh but from water and the Holy Spirit,(89) are finally established as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people . . . who in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God."

Israel according to the flesh, which wandered as an exile in the desert, was already called the Church of God.(96) So likewise the new Israel which while living in this present age goes in search of a future and abiding city (97) is called the Church of Christ.


"In this Torah, which is Jesus himself, the abiding essence of what was inscribed on the stone tablets at Sinai is now written in living flesh, namely, the twofold commandment of love. ... To imitate him, to follow him in discipleship, is therefore to keep Torah, which has been fulfilled in him once and for all. Thus, the Sinai covenant is indeed superseded. But once what was provisional in it has been swept away, we see what is truly definitive in it."

— Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Many Religions, One Covenant


Justin Martyr (about 100 to 165): "For the true spiritual Israel ... are we who have been led to God through this crucified Christ."

Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 20 AD): “Who else, therefore, are understood but we, who, fully taught by the new law, observe these practices,—the old law being obliterated, the coming of whose abolition the action itself demonstrates ... Therefore, as we have shown above that the coming cessation of the old law and of the carnal circumcision was declared, so, too, the observance of the new law and the spiritual circumcision has shone out into the voluntary observances of peace.

The examples could be multiplied many times over.

Anonymous said...

The Old Testament Jewish religion is entirely consistent with the Church. It is not, however, consistent with modern-day Judaism, which is the point of the discussion. The Old Testament Jewish religion became the Roman Catholic Church. That is the continuity. The modern-day Jewish religion is a false religion that was created by men many years after the death and resurrection of our Lord, the advent of the Church, and the destruction of the temple.