Rorate Caeli

"There can be no rupture in salvation history"

In this place, remembrance must also be made of the Kristallnacht that took place from 9 to 10 November 1938. Only a few could see the full extent of this act of contempt for humanity, like the Berlin Cathedral Provost, Bernhard Lichtenberg, who cried out from the pulpit of Saint Hedwig’s Cathedral: “Outside, the Temple is burning – that too is the house of God”. The Nazi reign of terror was based on a racist myth, part of which was the rejection of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Jesus Christ and of all who believe in him. The supposedly “almighty” Adolf Hitler was a pagan idol, who wanted to take the place of the biblical God, the Creator and Father of all men. Refusal to heed this one God always makes people heedless of human dignity as well. What man is capable of when he rejects God, and what the face of a people can look like when it denies this God, the terrible images from the concentration camps at the end of the war showed.

In the light of this remembrance, it is to be acknowledged with thankfulness that a new development has been seen in recent decades, which makes it possible to speak of a real blossoming of Jewish life in Germany. It should be stressed that the Jewish community during this time has made particularly laudable efforts to integrate the Eastern European immigrants.

I would also like to express my gratitude for the deepening dialogue between the Catholic Church and Judaism. The Church feels a great closeness to the Jewish people. With the Declaration Nostra Aetate of the Second Vatican Council, an “irrevocable commitment to pursue the path of dialogue, fraternity and friendship” was made (cf. Address in the Synagogue in Rome, 17 January 2010). This is true of the Catholic Church as a whole, in which Blessed John Paul II committed himself to this new path with particular zeal. Naturally it is also true of the Catholic Church in Germany, which is conscious of its particular responsibility in this regard. In the public domain, special mention should be made of the “Week of Fraternity”, organized each year during the first week of March by local Societies for Christian-Jewish Partnership.

On the Catholic side there are also annual meetings between bishops and rabbis as well as structured conversations with the Central Council of Jews. Back in the 1970s, the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) took the initiative of establishing a “Jews and Christians” forum, which over the years has issued many well-written and helpful documents. Nor should I omit to mention the historic meeting for Jewish-Christian dialogue that took place in March 2006 with the participation of Cardinal Walter Kasper. That cooperation is proving fruitful.

Alongside these important initiatives, it seems to me that we Christians must also become increasingly aware of our own inner affinity with Judaism, to which you made reference. For Christians, there can be no rupture in salvation history. Salvation comes from the Jews (cf. Jn 4:22). When Jesus’ conflict with the Judaism of his time is superficially interpreted as a breach with the Old Covenant, it tends to be reduced to the idea of a liberation that mistakenly views the Torah merely as a slavish enactment of rituals and outward observances. Yet in actual fact, the Sermon on the Mount does not abolish the Mosaic Law, but reveals its hidden possibilities and allows more radical demands to emerge. It points us towards the deepest source of human action, the heart, where choices are made between what is pure and what is impure, where faith, hope and love blossom forth.

The message of hope contained in the books of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament has been appropriated and continued in different ways by Jews and Christians. “After centuries of antagonism, we now see it as our task to bring these two ways of rereading the biblical texts – the Christian way and the Jewish way – into dialogue with one another, if we are to understand God’s will and his word aright” (Jesus of Nazareth. Part Two: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, pp. 33f.). This dialogue should serve to strengthen our common hope in God in the midst of an increasingly secularized society. Without this hope, society loses its humanity.


Benedict XVI
Reichstag Building, Berlin
September 22, 2011

29 comments:

Gratias said...

In his speech to the Bundestag our Pope Benedict XVI also explained the resistance of Christians to the Nazi movement. The hope of saving Western Civilization resides now in traditional Catholicism. Each one of us counts a lot.

Holy Father, many thanks for Summorum Pontificum!

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of this endless dialogue with Judaism as if these most intelligent people somehow need to be talked to death. The Jews reject the Messiah. Period. The Church is the New Israel which inherited all the promises that God gave Abraham. Period. Spinning the reasons for a constant need for meetings, conferences and seminars will not change these facts. In addition, if I never hear the word "solidarity" spoken by a cleric again it will be too soon.

Anonymous said...

How to have a common hope in God when Judaism rejects Jesus Christ is hoping for their Messiah to come while the Catholics are hoping for the 2nd coming of their Messiah Jesus Christ, true God, true Man?
Salvation came from the Jews, true. With the tearing of the thick veil of the Temple upon Jesus' crucifixion, isn't it clear already the old religion is no longer the religion that leads to salvation but that of Jesus Christ's?
Jews who are men and women of good will will be led to the salvation of their soul by becoming members of the mystical body of Christ, like so many have done so in the history of the Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Graumann, the president of the Jewish Central Comitee in Germany, welcomed the Pope and attacked in his speech the SSPX in front of the Holy Father:
The SSPX is: Fanatism, Fundamentalism, Rassism, Antisemitism, short: dark middle ages.
He condemed also Pius XII. and praised John Paul II.

Lee Terry Lovelock-Jemmott said...

A bone to pick, "The message of hope contained in the books of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament has been appropriated and continued in different ways by Jews and Christians". Surely there is some mistake as last time I remembered, the Hebrew Bible and Christian OT are the same ??? Surely the OT was pretty clear about the coming of Our Lord Jesus ??? If I'm mistaken correct me please.

David Werling said...

He's a "perfect liberal".

Anonymous said...

'Be good to the Jews - they are the apple of God's eye'

- St. Bernard of Clairvaux.


Fr. A.M.

rodrigo said...

When the Pope calls for yet more Catholic-Jewish dialogue, I console myself with the thought that the Disputation of Paris was, after all, an instance of such dialogue.

More please.

Luka said...

" Mr. Graumann, the president of the Jewish Central Comitee in Germany, welcomed the Pope and attacked in his speech the SSPX in front of the Holy Father:
The SSPX is: Fanatism, Fundamentalism, Rassism, Antisemitism, short: dark middle ages.
He condemed also Pius XII. and praised John Paul II. "

Where can we find this speach, if it is avialiable in English?

Matthew said...

P.K.T.P. and Anons 06:07 and 06:08:

It would seem, at least according to my reading of his Jesus of Nazereth P II that the Holy Father's theological (and ecclesiological?) views on the topic lie somewhat elsewhere - they are more "nuanced."

So much dialogue...what on earth do they talk about?
(I suppose I just answered my own question...earthly things, rather than heavenly things.)

Vobiscumator said...

Well put, as always, PKTP. I might only qibble a bit that 'Judeo-Christian' is not a redundancy, but an outright falsehood.

This is a truly disappointing speech, to hear the flowerly, vague, sugar-coated platitudes that have eclipsed traditional Catholic belief.

Our most recent popes do not seem to believe that Judaism, like other non-Christian religions, is a theological evil. And it seems the only pressing matter is reconciliation, which will mean silencing the Gospel and a witness of evangelization.

Amazing to listen to some Jewish leaders excoriate Pope Pius XII and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, as I have little doubt that none of them are fit to tie the shoelaces of either that Pope or Archbishop.

New Templar said...

"Please therefore permit me to tackle those points which really hurt us in the openness that is
required of friendship: The topic of the “Pius Brotherhood”*, which in our view still stands for
fanaticism, fundamentalism, racism, anti-Semitism, in fact simply for the darkest Middle
Ages and for irreconcilability pure and simple, is one which we still find painful. The same
goes for the topic of the Good Friday prayers. And the envisioned beatification of Pope
Pius XII, which would further hurt our feelings and cause us disappointment".

Dr Dieter Graumann
President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany
Speech on the occasion of the meeting
with Pope Benedict XVI
in the Reichstag Building on 22 September 2011

Jordanes551 said...

Surely there is some mistake as last time I remembered, the Hebrew Bible and Christian OT are the same ???

No, not exactly the same -- there are differences of textual detail, as well as canonical differences (the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, excludes the Old Testament deuterocanon).

Anonymous said...

To second Jordanes's comment about the Hebrew Bible vs the Christian OT ...

I am glad the Pope said it this way. It was the Protestants who scrapped what they call the "Apocrypha" from the canon of the OT. In calling out the differences the Holy Father does justice to those inspired books included in the Septuagint that were rejected by 1st century Judaism.

It is also a witness to the truth of the canon of scripture to the German Lutherans who do not ascribe Divine authorship to those sacred texts.

Cruise the Groove. said...

'Be good to the Jews - they are the apple of God's eye'

- St. Bernard of Clairvaux.'

Father
With all due respect, being good to the Jews, or any non Catholic people is in all charity to tell to convert, for "Outside the Catholic Church there is no Salvaton."

This is being good to them, true Charity.

Bernonensis said...

"After centuries of antagonism, we now see it as our task to bring these two ways of rereading the biblical texts -- the Jewish way and the Christian way -- into dialogue with one another if we are to understand God's will and his word aright."

So, His Holiness doesn't think the Church has understood God's will and word aright until now? Not just nonsense -- DAMNABLE nonsense! Men who denied Jesus sought to exterminate other men who also denied Him, and why should this lead me to deny Him as well?

Anonymous said...

"Salvation is from the Jews." Yes, and they would do well to follow it where it has gone.

Anonymous said...

I am no intellectual, but is it not in the prophecies that some Jews will be converted to Catholicism at the end times.

Maybe it is the duty of the Pope to never stop reaching out to them.

Anonymous said...

Cruise the Groove,

The best way and perhaps more realistic way(though not the only way) to convert the Jews is, actually, to live a good Catholic life and to pray for their conversion, while treating them like any other human beings, in a spirit of Christian charity.

Having said that, if the reported comments from the speech of Mr. Graumann, mentioned above, are correct, then this is very sad indeed, and the Holy See, must continue to do what it can so that the truth about the Venerable Pope Pius XII will shine through. Concerning SSPX, I would like to see/read/hear a stronger condemnation of anti-semitism, and that those who are guilty of this in their ranks be suitably punished. This would send a clear message to Jewish organisations : but 'openness' and 'dialogue' between Catholics and Jews cannot be entirely one sided.

Loyolakiper said...

"The Nazi reign of terror was based on a racist myth, part of which was the rejection of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Jesus Christ and of all who believe in him."

I think this is another imprudent word faux pas uttered by the Holy Father... Maybe you would think differently, but I am not sure if it is theologically accurate to say "...the God of Jesus Christ...". The difference between Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is that they are mere men, whereas Jesus is not! He is God! It is just as inaccurate to say that Jesus had faith, but he cannot since he is God. I am not sure a Jew is going to understand this?

However, maybe this is just one more example of why the ecumenical movement as proposed by VII is flawed. Instead of raising men to higher things, namely salvation, we lower Christ to just a man so that we don't offend anyone. Just throwing it out there...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot my initials at
anon. 23 September, 2011 19:27

Fr. A.M.

Jordanes551 said...

I am no intellectual, but is it not in the prophecies that some Jews will be converted to Catholicism at the end times.

St. Paul affirms in Romans 11 that after the fullness of the Gentiles is gathered into the Church, a general conversion of the Jews will follow (see in particular Rom. 11:25-26 -- and lest anyone attempt to claim that "Israel" there means not the Jews but the Church, the spiritual Israel, pay heed to the surrounding context, in which St. Paul talks of both the Jews and the Gentiles, and says that the Jews, the "natural branches" that were broken off due to their unbelief, can more easily be grafted back into their own Olive Plant which is the Church than the Gentiles, the unnatural branches, can be grafted into it.)

Similarly, St. Peter in the Book of Acts 3:19-21 also associates the second coming of Jesus with the conversion of the Jews. This expectation is also found in the Church Fathers.

Jordanes551 said...

I think this is another imprudent word faux pas uttered by the Holy Father... Maybe you would think differently, but I am not sure if it is theologically accurate to say "...the God of Jesus Christ...". The difference between Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is that they are mere men, whereas Jesus is not! He is God! It is just as inaccurate to say that Jesus had faith, but he cannot since he is God. I am not sure a Jew is going to understand this?

Was Jesus theologically inaccurate in the Gospel of St. John, chapter 17, verses 1-3, in which He prayed to the Father and said, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent"?

(Granted, it's possible this is a parenthetical statement of St. John's, not words that Jesus spoke during that prayer -- but in that case, we would ask if St. John was being theologically inaccurate to mention the Father as "the only true God" as distinct from "Jesus Christ")

However, maybe this is just one more example of why the ecumenical movement as proposed by VII is flawed.

Ecumenism involves relationships among separated groups of Christians. The Church's dealings with the Jews are interreligious, not ecumenical.

Loyolakiper said...

Was Jesus theologically inaccurate in the Gospel of St. John, chapter 17, verses 1-3, in which He prayed to the Father and said, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent"?

(Granted, it's possible this is a parenthetical statement of St. John's, not words that Jesus spoke during that prayer -- but in that case, we would ask if St. John was being theologically inaccurate to mention the Father as "the only true God" as distinct from "Jesus Christ")

Jordanes, I do not follow your logic because Jesus is not making a distinction between He and the Father, but rather making a distinction from all of the false gods that not only did the "Nations" but also many Jews worshiped. I do not see how it is possible to make a distinction in nature or person for that matter when there is none. For Jesus IS God by possessing the divine nature and he is divine in person as well (despite possessing a human nature aswell). This is why he is "the Son of God" in his person and not the "son of Mary".

But I do think that the quotation that you used is a good one in reference to the "ecumenical" issue that I brought up. What is the point of the eccumenical movement? I believe it is to bring the infidels to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and to adhere to his Vicar on earth, who guides His Church and Bride that He shed his blood for. If it is not, then why waste the time in an interreligious conversation? The only way that the schismatics, heretics, infidels will recognize the One True God is by proclaiming him gloriously as a divinely revealed Trinity, not by lowering the Saviour of Man to the level of men such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Fr. Sanchez said...

"I think this is another imprudent word faux pas uttered by the Holy Father... Maybe you would think differently, but I am not sure if it is theologically accurate to say "...the God of Jesus Christ...". The difference between Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is that they are mere men, whereas Jesus is not! He is God! It is just as inaccurate to say that Jesus had faith, but he cannot since he is God. I am not sure a Jew is going to understand this?"

Here is the answer to your hang up:

"But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God." John 20:17

Brian said...

Maybe you would think differently, but I am not sure if it is theologically accurate to say "...the God of Jesus Christ...". The difference between Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is that they are mere men, whereas Jesus is not! He is God!

Yes, Jesus Christ is God. And, he is also man. As to his human nature, he was created by
God. As a man, he would pray to his God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and the God of Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

Why should the Jews make so much noise in the Catholic Church's intention of beatifying Pope Pius XII? It is none of their business! After all the kindness shown to those persecuted Jews at WW II and instead of showing gratitude, they are still clamouring for the death of the Catholic Church? Haha, sorry, the Catholic Church has the promise of Christ to last till the end of the world.

Anonymous said...

Brian, Jesus Christ as a Person is God. He is to be adored as God, like what the Eternal Father had given testimony to at Christ's baptism in river Jordan.
Since the First Person of the Holy Trinity had spoken that Jesus Christ is indeed his Son, no creature can reject Him.
It is true that there are 2 natures in Jesus Christ, God and Man, hypostatically united in one Person-JC.

Brian said...

JC,
Correct, Jesus Christ is one Divive Person who is to be adored as God.

Also correct, there are two natures in Jesus Christ, God and Man, hypostatically united in one Person.

Jesus Christ has a human intellect and will and a Divine Intellect and Will.

As man, he went alone to pray to his God, not my will but Thine be done.

As our human high priest, he won our salvation when he offered to his God the Divine sacrifice of himself on the cross.

Because he shares our human nature, he paid the price for our sins and we can pray to his God and our God in spirit and in truth.