Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Pope Benedict still has his flashes of  corrective righteousness ! I am sure His Holiness must have other corrective thoughts about things very high up in the ecclesiastical community!

This is from this morning's Vatican News:

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI Pope emeritus Benedict XVI  

Pope emeritus Benedict: Dialogue with the Jews, not mission

The Pope emeritus “corrects” an article by theologian Michael Böhnke and rejects as “absolutely false” the insinuation that Benedict has called into question the foundations of Jewish-Christian dialogue.
By Vatican News
In a “correction” sent to the German monthly Herder Korrespondenz, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI affirmed that Christians are called to a “dialogue” with the Jews, rather than a “mission.” The Pope emeritus was responding to an article by theologian Michael Böhnke of Wuppertal. In the September issue of the journal, Böhnke had commented disapprovingly on statements made by Benedict concerning the relationship between Jews and Christians.

A completely false insinuation

Judaism and Christianity, said Benedict, are “two ways of interpreting the Scriptures.” For Christians, the promises made to Israel are the hope of the Church, and “those who abide by it are in no way questioning the foundations of the Jewish-Christian dialogue.” The accusation contained in the article, he continued, is “grotesque nonsense and has nothing to do with what I said about it. I therefore reject his article as a completely false insinuation.”
Böhnke had argued that Benedict XVI, in an article for the theological journal Communio, had demonstrated a problematic understanding of Judaism, and had ignored the suffering Christians had inflicted upon Jews.

Not "mission," but "dialogue"

In his “correction,” Benedict also addressed – among other theological issues – the delicate question of the “mission” to the Jews; that is, the question of whether the Church should proclaim the Good News of Christ to the Jews. Benedict wrote: “A mission to the Jews is not foreseen and not necessary.” At the same time, it is true that Christ gave His disciples a mission to all peoples and all cultures. For this reason, Benedict affirms, “the missionary mandate is universal – with one exception: a mission to the Jews was not foreseen and not necessary because they alone, among all peoples, knew the ‘unknown God’.”
For Israel, then, it was not a mission, but a dialogue about whether Jesus of Nazareth was “the Son of God, the Logos,” for whom, according to the promises made to His people, Israel, and the whole world without knowing it, was waiting. Taking up this dialogue anew, Benedict said, is “the duty given us at this time.”
Benedict’s “correction” appeared in the December issue of Herder Korrespondenz, and was signed “Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI.”

Reflecting on Relations with the Jews

The original article in Communio, critiqued by Böhnke, was intended as an in-depth study of a document published in 2015 by the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, entitled, “The Gifts and the Calling of God Are Irrevocable (Rom 11:29): A Reflection on Theological Questions Pertaining to Catholic– Jewish Relations on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of ‘Nostra aetate’ (no.4).”
The sixth heading of that document, “The Church’s mandate to evangelize in relation to Judaism” deals precisely with the questions raised by Böhnke:
It is easy to understand that the so–called ‘mission to the Jews’ is a very delicate and sensitive matter for Jews because, in their eyes, it involves the very existence of the Jewish people. This question also proves to be awkward for Christians, because for them the universal salvific significance of Jesus Christ and consequently the universal mission of the Church are of fundamental importance. The Church is therefore obliged to view evangelisation to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views. In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews. While there is a principled rejection of an institutional Jewish mission, Christians are nonetheless called to bear witness to their faith in Jesus Christ also to Jews, although they should do so in a humble and sensitive manner, acknowledging that Jews are bearers of God’s Word, and particularly in view of the great tragedy of the Shoah


Marc said...

Anyone longing for the days of Benedict's supposed orthodoxy should take note of this absurd and erroneous belief that he holds and promotes.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Pope Emeritus Benedict holds and promotes the Church's teaching. Yes, we should all take note.

Православный физик said...

Truth can't be imposed...Pope Benedict was far from perfect, this being an example of this. We, of course, are out to convert to the Faith, but not via force or coherrsion . No one would want a superficial conversion anyway..

Victor said...

In guess St Paul was very politically incorrect, needing to be corrected today:

"For you, brethren, are become followers of the churches of God which are in Judea, in Christ Jesus: for you also have suffered the same things from your own coutrymen, even as they have from the Jews,who both killed the Lord Jesus, and the prophets, and have persecuted us, and please not God, and are adversaries to all men; prohibiting us to speak to the Gentiles, that they may be saved, to fill up their sins always: for the wrath of God is come upon them to the end."

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

TJM said...


It’s even worse than that! Who said: Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!” Boy, was that guy all wet!

rcg said...

I have never understood this sort of thing as condemnation of Jews but as the desire to ensure salvation for all mankind. Salvation comes from the Jews. So there. There is a tendency for Christians to act as if they perform the act of condemnation. We do not. Ut we must be stedfast in proclaiming the True Path to God and that alternate paths are fraut with risk, especially when chosen simply to avoid acknowledging the primacy of the Son. Once that is understood then we should not belabor the point or we put our own duty at risk.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna." (Matthew 5:29-30)

Is this guy "all wet" or "politically incorrect," or do we read what the Scriptures teach and then, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit expressed through the Magisterium of the Church, determine the meaning of the passage?

Proof-texting is always a perilous path.

TJM said...


It doesn't take a biblical scholar to see that the passage you cite is not meant to be taken literally but figuratively.

But the passage I cited is neither an analogy or an allegory. Christ's words are plain and simple, and not subject to slippery interpretation by clerics who no longer follow Christ's commands.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - I would direct you to the numerous authoritative statements by the Church regarding the relationship of the Catholic Church and the Jews.

I would direct you there, but you would ignore the prompt, and you would, I have no doubt, dismiss the Church's authoritative statements.

TJM said...


It sounds like you are avoiding the plain meaning of our Lord's words, which I believe are authoritative

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - We do not believe what the Bible says because the Bible says it. We believe what the Bible says because the Church teaches us to do so.

TJM said...


So if the Church ignores the plain meaning of Christ's words you are fine with that. I guess in your world we are supposed to accept that Christ did not really mean what he said and we should not attempt to convert the Jewish people. Maybe in the next approved Catholic version of the New Testament, there should be an asterisk to Christ's words with a footnote explaining that Jews are excluded from our Lord's declaration!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"So if the Church ignores the plain meaning of Christ's words..."

No, the Church does not do that.

"I guess in your world we are supposed to accept that Christ did not really mean what he said and we should not attempt to convert the Jewish people."

No, and that is not what Pope Benedict has stated.

"Maybe in the next approved Catholic version of the New Testament, there should be an asterisk to Christ's words with a footnote explaining that Jews are excluded from our Lord's declaration!"

A good Catholic study Bible is loaded with footnotes that explain many things.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.

116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: "All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal."83

117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God's plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.

1. The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ's victory and also of Christian Baptism.84

2. The moral sense. The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written "for our instruction".85

3. The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, "leading"). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.86

Note in 116 we are taught that the "literal meaning" (in your words, the "plain meaning") is discovered "by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation."
You can discount exegesis all you want, but that is not the approach used by the Church lo these 2000 years.

TJM said...


I have read Divino Afflante Spiritu. I was raised when Catholics were actually taught the Faith, so I know about biblical exegesis. However, it is pretty hard to explain away Christ's call to convert all nations. Your statements makes it very understandable to me now why so many broke away from the Church during the Protestant Revolt. Remember the old saying: Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

Christ did not qualify the Church's mission to go forth and teach all nations. Political correctness today is the driver behind this "nuance." FYI, Muslims don't believe in nuance, so enjoy Sharia when it comes.