Tag Archives: Jewish-Catholic Dialogue

The return of this Jackass for the Hour

crucifix

This “Donkey”[!] is found crucified above the tabernacle (see: “Brother Ass” in “The Barn” Mon-Wed) of the absolutely gorgeous Turris Davidica chapel found inside “The Barn” where yours truly went for a day of recollection with “The Very”, the Vicar Forane of the Smokey Mountain Vicariate of the Diocese of Charlotte. Note the cross inside each of the golden stars of David.

There are, perhaps, nearly 100% of readers who will think that it is rude to refer to anyone as a donkey, and should this appellative be used for the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception that this would certainly be counted as blasphemy. But this is a badge of honor for Jesus, for He did that which is much more “blasphemous” for us, becoming “sin” for us, as Saint Paul says. Jesus was a Jew, and the Jews were always referred to by this symbol of humble hard work by the surrounding nations. Don’t forget that donkeys can sing and are intelligent, only doing what they understand (really smart, that), not at all stubborn like mules. Also recall that donkeys are everywhere with the Holy Family. Here are some pics from the massive bronze doors of the larger chapel (some hundreds of yards from “The Barn”):

donkey 4

donkey 2

Of course, a donkey also brought our Lord into the city of Jerusalem for His crucifixion…

Thanks to all those who said a prayer for yours truly these past few days. The day of recollection went very well. Priests can stay at “The Barn” for free. Only priests can stay at “The Barn.” Many priests from the Diocese of Charlotte take refuge in “The Barn” on a regular basis. It’s equidistant for me to Charlotte one way and “The Barn” the other way. Another priest, from Saint Anne’s, is there today for the feast of the translation of the relics of Saint Clare. O.K. Those are enough hints. Do you know where this is?

Anyway, the “return” mentioned in the title of this post doesn’t refer to me being back in the parish so much as an advance in the Chestertonian sense of the return of the fallen creature back to its Creator by way of the redemption. I mentioned to one of the wonderfully Catholic priests to be found in the environs of “The Barn” about Jackass for the Hour, saying that everything has changed so very much in the last few years that I doubt if I could even revise such an ecclesiastical thriller novel that goes to the black heart of and offers solutions for the Rebellion so ubiquitously and wrongly called the Reformation, and that the Scriptural commentary on the “Dog-Woman” that I wrote would hardly be able to be received by anyone anymore. I was, of course, gently but firmly reprimanded, being told not to be despondent. Donkeys are quite miserable if they are despondent, and that just won’t do at all. So, joy with the singing of a donkey, a braying which is also praying, on the march, as donkeys do.

And if there are still readers who don’t like it when priests are called guard-donkeys:

DONKEY FOX

And if there are still those who think that it is inappropriate for priests or anyone for that matter to be called any kind of donkey at all, I simply cite Saint Augustine in response:

“Asinus es sed Christum portas” (You are a jackass, but you carry Christ).

And if there are still those who hesitate, I offer this Orthodox kind-of-an-icon (slightly damaged through the years with window-sealer… sorry!) for their contemplation. Remember, that we carry Christ within us. We also carry each other. We belong to the Body of Christ, with Christ as the Head and we as the members, with His Most Sacred Heart inflaming ours with the fiery ardent love of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Saint Augustine donkey icon

And if there are still those who hesitate about the appropriateness of all this hopefully childlike joy and not childish idiocy, please feel free to call me the donkey-priest. I will simply laugh with appreciative enthusiasm. I still think I have too much fun.

Oh, and did I mention that Saint Francis called himself Brother Ass?

3 Comments

Filed under Donkeys, Jesus, Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Pope Francis’ sarcasm @ ISIS / Islam when asked about père Jacques Hamel

isis burning children

ISIS burning children to death as young as three years old

“It is not a war of religions but for power. There is one word I wish to say to clarify. When I speak about ‘war’ I’m speaking about a war for real, not a ‘war of religions.’ It is a war about (economic) interests, money, natural resources and the domination of peoples. All religions desire peace. Other people want war.” – Pope Francis

So, does Pope Francis mean that père Jacques Hamel is not a martyr, or that the Missionaries of Charity sisters are not martyrs? That would seem to be insane and the Pope seems to think they were heroic. So, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s try to come up with something reasonable about what he said. I mean, to say that religions cannot be at war is simply stupid or malicious. I mean, let’s look at the Old Testament: was the God of the chosen people not a real God? Is the God of the Jews to be damned? Or for that matter, moving on in time, was Pope Saint Pius V an anti-Catholic for his defensive measures (very war-like mind you) at the battle of Lepanto? And for that matter, does ISIS really not intend to serve their god, Allah? Really?

How about this: Maybe Pope Francis is saying with fully intended sarcasm that Islam is not a religion at all. Hey! I like that! Finally! Yay!

But wait, that really does sound like it’s all an insult to the Jews and the Jewish God, which, by the way, is our God, the one and only God. There were good reasons for the Jews to be war-like. There were good reasons for being on the defensive at Lepanto. There is never a good reason for Islam to do what it has always done with its aggression from its beginning until this very day.

When ISIS asks the kids if they renounce Jesus and accept Islam, and the kids say no, and then the kids are burned to death, that’s all about merely trying to make a few extra bucks, right? Got it! Nothing to do with religion! Just about domination of peoples! Oh, I remember now: the Qur’an is all about subjugating the Christians and Jews. And the Qur’an is like, religious, or not, in that case. ;-)

4 Comments

Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Pope Francis, Terrorism

Pope Francis’ silence during his visit to Auschwitz / Birkenau: Let’s talk Luther

pope francis maximilian kolbe auschwitz birkenau

Pope Francis in the torture chamber where Saint Maximilian Kolbe # 16670 was first starved and then injected with carbolic acid.

It was a powerful statement, if you will, of Pope Francis just to go to Auschwitz / Birkenau, regardless of ditching his speech. He did have a moment of kindness with some survivors. That’s all good. But…

Perhaps readers remember this post I wrote six months ago, although it seems to me like I wrote it today, as my emotions are ever more raw about it: Update: Martin Luther: “We are at fault in not slaying the Jews.” The Holy See: “Let’s celebrate his life!” J’accuse!

The celebration of the Reformation and the very life of Hitleresque anti-Semite Martin Luther is coming up. Will that latter bit, at least, be ditched? Let’s hope. I like the silence bit all of a sudden. It would be grotesque in the extreme to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau and then turn around and celebrate the life of Martin Luther who wanted nothing more than to exterminate all the Jews or, failing that final solution, removing them in some other way.

Dearest Holy Father, just so you know:  Update: Martin Luther: “We are at fault in not slaying the Jews.” The Holy See: “Let’s celebrate his life!” J’accuse!

1 Comment

Filed under Ecumenism, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Terrorism analysis – the big picture (1) Politically correct guilt inviting terror but always against the same victims

yad vashem railroad

National guilt that is way over-exaggerated for past injustice is one of the best ways to invite a proliferation of terror in an effort to self-punish. Everything can be exaggerated, and the reasons can be frightening and bad things can and do happen.

Do we shout in a self-congratulatory way: “Never again!” as if we were morally superior today compared to people of yesterday just because we live today, giving ourselves a licence to kill? Some people say “Never again!” with sincerity, but some do not.

Three examples: Germany and France and these USA

(1) Germany

Germany has been going through a much needed process of guilt, coming to grips with just how it is that they did what they did against the Jews. But there is some exaggeration in this. Thus, I’ve had a number of highly influential professors from Germany and a Nazi-sympathizing part of Switzerland who said that those who remain Christian after the Holocaust are guilty of the Holocaust even if they were born after the Holocaust and had nothing to do with the Holocaust. That’s stupid or more likely malicious. That kind of self-righteous crusading statement just builds up a false guilt and a real resentment against those on whose behalf one is supposed to feel guilty. No one likes a misplaced guilt and will work to take away the cause, even doing what they have falsely been accused of doing. These professors, by the way, remained Christian. Basically they were thereby saying that they were Nazis. I’ve heard the same diatribe from people who should know better from four different countries, with dozens of others who thought it was great or couldn’t care less. So, what has happened since then?

As a nation, Germany congratulated itself to the end that it is thought Germans could not ever be prejudiced again and, to prove that this was the case, welcomed as many Islamicist terrorists as they possibly could, and even tolerated for as long as they could all the subsequent raping and killing that is so allowable under Sharia law. I wonder who the enemies of Israel are if not Islamicist terrorists. Get it?

(2) France

You’ll remember that France was pretty weak when it came to defending the Jews during World War II. The French police of the Vichy government helped round up and deport over 75,000 Jews, almost all of whom died in the concentration camps. France had already long occupied Algeria, but it wasn’t long after WWII that they lost their war with Algeria, which was waged by Islamicists from 1954 to 1962. At first, nervous about it, Frenchmen everywhere would drive about in France honking their horns three times and then, after skipping a beat, two other honks, the beats for the chant “Algérie Française,” a political/military movement. Most French Islamicists are from Algeria. They flooded France from that time until today. To this day, when there is a news report in France about terrorists, you’ll undoubtably hear that kind of honking going on in the background: “Algérie Française” honk-honk-honk—honk honk.

Meanwhile, the French feel terribly guilty about their treatment of the Jews, and say that they would never ever help with anything like the Holocaust ever again, not with the Jews, not with anyone. Of course, in being oppressive to the Algerians for so long, and feeling even more recently guilty about that (and losing yet another war) they couldn’t bring themselves to say anything but good things even about Islamic terrorists. I mean, what did we see the other day? A couple of known terrorists had their tracking devices turned off for hours each day so that they could go about unmonitored, you know, so the French could consider themselves to be nice, instead of, like, you know, prejudicial. A blood-bath ensued. Of course it did. The individuals involved are known terrorists. It isn’t prejudice to keep them locked up. But the French just cannot, cannot, cannot put real blame on anyone for anything because they know that they themselves are guilty of past oppressions against both Jews and Algerians. But letting real criminals free to kill is no way to cover up one’s own guilt. These individuals wanted to fight for ISIS in the Middle-East, and we know the intentions of ISIS for Israel. It’s O.K. to judge the cases of individuals. Really, it is.

(3) These USA

These USA are a special case. We liberated the Jews from the camps. We have helped Israel. Rightly so. We have suffered events like 9-11 from Islamist terrorists. But now we have been apologizing to the terrorists, lying to do so, coming up with stories about some video so as to congratulate terrorists for killing Americans in Benghazi, and a thousand other examples where the most obvious terror related incidents are called work-place violence, etc. Why? Is there guilt? Not unless it comes from someone believing in Islamicist terrorism whose regret is that the world does not yet totally belong to ISIS. The annihilation of Israel followed by wholesale slaughter of Jews throughout the world is lockstep.

Finally…

Here’s the deal. We’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God with original sin and whatever other rubbish we ourselves have come up with. He purposely, willingly let us kill Him, our attempt at getting His goodness and kindness away from our eyes (too incriminating for our guilt). He, having stood in our stead and taking on the death we deserve, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, forgave us. So, no more guilt. But we are afraid of forgiveness.

But we won’t admit what we’ve done, but that doesn’t change the facts. And the guilt works on us. Even if we say we are atheists, we cannot escape the weight of the glory of God bearing down upon us as an invitation to His mercy. We still see it as incrimination of our weakness and self congratulations and arrogance. And so we attempt to get Him out of the way. We attempt to get His family out of the way, the Jews: “Ah! Maybe if we kill all the Jews, our own guilt will just disappear!” We are sooo stupid and self-righteous. Meanwhile, Israel is every single day closer to being wiped off the face of the earth.

“Salvation is from the Jews” – Jesus Christ

If only we would just get a bit of humility. We can ask the Most High for this humility. We should remember, with Saint Paul (Romans 9:4-5):

They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen.

8 Comments

Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Terrorism

Sunset / Sunrise for another friend

WNC Great Smoky Mountains memorial hospital

Taken Monday, 4 July, 2016, while turning from the sunset to the coming sunrise. This is just outside of Memorial Hospital in Asheville, NC.

I put on well over 500 miles in the past couple of days, hospitals, burials and such. Happy to do it. And all these miles were a good opportunity to grieve. Before starting out on my travelling saga, news came in that a good friend and fellow Scripture Scholar, Doctor Martin L. Brenner, passed on survived by his lovely wife and nine children. His obituary was written by our common friend, Father Reto Nay, director of Gloria.Tv. Don Reto got his summa cum laude at the Biblicum writing about Ezekiel, who, I am convinced, wrote the passage I myself wrote about, Genesis 2:4-3:24. Marty, instead, went to the New Testament, and wrote about the Synoptic Gospels, the passage on the paralytic, comparing Matthew and Mark and noting what was happening in the book of Daniel. He and I thought much the same about the provenance and purpose of the two Gospels.

It’s somewhat imprecise to say that he converted, but that’s how we speak, isn’t it? He grew up in a Jewish family, became a son of the law, but had the veil lifted when, as it is said, he recognized that it was all true, salvation comes from the Jews, and the name of that saving Messiah is Jesus. He was for a long time interested in religious life but finally made the decision to be married. I wasn’t there for the wedding, but he at least had it planned, I know, to be celebrated in Saint Peter’s Basilica and witnessed by a common friend, Father James Swetnam, S.J. (a really cool Jesuit, by the way).

I have often cited Martin’s rather rambunctious style of academic discussions, argumentative, pushing, shoving (metaphorically), out to “kill the baby” as he frighteningly put it. Don’t get me wrong, Martin was wonderfully, tenderly pro-life in every way. He wanted myself and others to see if we could attack his ideas to try and find lacunae in his premises. I learned this from him. I’ve often used this method. I did use it for the years writing my thesis, really being obnoxious about it, making it a million times better. But I learned that not everyone is ready for this. You have to train them in. But once there, it is spectacularly thrilling.

Martin had a passion for the truth. No political correctness for him! My prayer is now that he will meet face to face with the Living Truth, Jesus Christ, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.

P.S. Many friends have died this past year. They say you know you are getting older when all your friends start dying. Of course, Marty was 18 years older than myself, but I think those are the years that go by the fastest, are they not?

9 Comments

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Pope Francis, Genocide, Martyrdom and Queen Esther’s new Haman in Hitler

lightning vatican holy see st peterIn Armenia, Pope Francis was finally able to reconcile that martyrdom can be on such a grand scale numbers-wise that it fits that part of a proportional scale of devastation that is called genocide. Good for him. I mean, can we forget that the Jews were to be martyred on the level of genocide by Haman as recounted in the book of Esther? Can we forget that Hitler wanted to fulfill his weird obligations to Arianism by martyring all the Jews on the level of genocide?

We can be confident that Pope Francis will offer appropriate comments, hopefully scripted, and sticking to the script, when he visits the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau during a visit to Poland on July 29. We can only hope. However…

I hope that such a visit to such a site filled with such sorrow will not be used afterwards as a kind of permission to celebrate the most hate-filled anti-Semite in history hardly surpassed by either Haman of old or Hitler of more recent times, that is, Martin Luther. But this is what is planned, not only the “Reformation” but also the very person of Martin Luther, right?

So, I republish here again what I published in these pages previously. It is urgent:

auschwitz

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” mlkjr

Being Pope Francis’ Jewish Missionary of Mercy, and invited to speak with parrhesia by him, I think I am obliged to offer some comments about the push among some curial officials to celebrate the life of Martin Luther and the Reformation, the former being inextricably intertwined with the latter. Cardinal Koch has said some good things in the past, so this is an occasion of real dismay for me particularly, and for all men of good will.

Martin Luther defined himself and his Lutherans as those who are to be condemned if they would not murder Jews: “We are at fault in not slaying them” (Luther, Martin. On the Jews and Their Lies, cited in Michael, Robert. “Luther, Luther Scholars, and the Jews,” Encounter 46 (Autumn 1985) No. 4:343–344). Like so much else with Luther, this is reminiscent of Islam, the old spread by the sword your faith kind of thing. This is the Reformation in all of its pristine vigor. It is Martin Luther’s “insight,” his “spiritual experience,” his Promethean understanding of “righteousness” and “mercy.” The response both of Lutherans and the Holy See to all this is:

“The ecumenical journey enables Lutherans and Catholics to appreciate
together Martin Luther’s insight into and spiritual experience of the gospel
of the righteousness of God, which is also God’s mercy.”

cardinal koch

lutheran catholic commemoration of reformation

Of course, one might find this incredible. So, one finds it in the prayer text: Common Prayer – From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran–Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017. The text is “by the Liturgical Task Force of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity.”

But, surely that’s cherry picking. Surely such anti-Semitism is rejected in toto elsewhere and without excuses being made. Lets take a look at the foundational document: From Conflict to Communion – Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017 – Report of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity. This is by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), with Karlheinz Diez, Auxiliary Bishop of Fulda (on behalf of the Catholic co-chair), and Eero Huovinen, Bishop Emeritus of Helsinki (Lutheran co-chair).

229. On this occasion, Lutherans will also remember the vicious and degrading statements that Martin Luther made against the Jews. They are ashamed of them and deeply deplore them.

Really? I’m sure that cannot be correct. After a chapter break and a nice paragraph, the excuses for Martin Luther’s murderous behavior and statements against the Jews are effusive. But, let’s take a look at that nice paragraph in between just to make sure we don’t miss anything:

82 Chapter V – Prayer for unity – 230. Because Jesus Christ before his death prayed to the Father »that they may be one,« it is clear that a division of the body of Christ is opposed to the will of the Lord. It contradicts also the express apostolic admonition that we hear in Ephesians 4:3–6: be »eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.« The division of the body of Christ is opposed to the will of God.

martin luther the jews and their liesOf course, not being upfront about things about such division is opposed to the will of God, right? So, now, let’s see how such regret for Luther’s beastly raging against the Jews is simply dismissed, or perhaps, even praised if one would, you know, just kind of, like, understand the pressures of the times under which he was living, poor fellow and hero that he was. They are mean and cruel people, are they not, who would think that Martin Luther is responsible in some way for the Shoah, the Holocaust?

Evaluating the past – 231. When Catholics and Lutherans remember together the theological controversies and the events of the sixteenth century from this perspective, they must consider the circumstances of the sixteenth century. Lutherans and Catholics cannot be blamed for everything that transpired since some events in the sixteenth century were beyond their control. In the sixteenth century, theological convictions and power politics were frequently interwoven with one another. Many politicians often used genuine theological ideas to attain their ends, while many theologians promoted their theological judgments by political means. In this complex arena of numerous factors, it is difficult to ascribe responsibility for the effects of specific actions to individual persons and to name them as the guilty parties. [[My emphasis]]

jewish yellow star jude“Complex.” Sigh….. I apologize for using Martin Luther’s own rough language, but this is bullshit. Ideas have effects, and he meant every word of what he said, putting it into action (see also the list at the end of this article). This heap of excuses is dung with a blanket of glistening snow over it. That is the analogy which, in fact Martin Luther used for the ineffectiveness of Christ’s grace in sanctifying our souls, so that, for him, we remain a heap of dung with a blanket of snow over us. I reject this document’s list of excuses for Martin Luther’s dung heap of anti-Semitic views and actions as being simply ineffective for justifying and sanctifying Martin Luther’s murderous anti-Semitic views and actions. Do I say this just because I am a Jew? No. All men of good will are offended. It is an offense against Jesus. I will not celebrate Martin Luther or his damned Reformation. And, to use the irony which so many cannot understand, I nevertheless say: Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Gott helfe mir: I side with those who are on the darkest of existential peripheries; I side with mercy. What this crowd is doing with all their damned excuses is promoting genocide all over again against the same people. J’accuse! (worth the read; this is a well used phrase also today). After all, we are under pressure today too, so we have an excuse to murder all the Jews Hitler didn’t kill, right? That’s the logic. To hell with that logic. It’s an all too easy absolution of Martin Luther’s role in violent persecution of the Jews in his own day and ours: Hey! He was just a man of his times! It is a virtue to be a man of one’s times, right? Again, since we are all under pressure for whatever reason, we all have an easy excuse and even praise for continuing to slaughter the Jews, right?

If you want an ever so brief rundown of all this, see Martin Luther and Anti-Semitism and his book, On the Jews and Their Lies (published just three years before he died, his crowning achievement, as it were). Just so as to offer a taste for timid clickers, I include a bit taken from “Luther, Martin”, JewishEncyclopedia.com; cf. Luther’s Works, American Edition, 55 vols., (St. Louis and Philadelphia: Concordia Publishing House and Fortress Press, 1955–86) 47:267:

“What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews?”

  • “First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools … This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians …” [[Did you get that?]]
  • “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.” [[Did you get that?]]
  • “Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.” [[Did you get that?]]
  • “Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb …” [[Did you get that?]]
  • “Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside …” [[Did you get that?]]
  • “Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them …” [[Did you get that? Sounds like Kristallnacht.]]
  • “Seventh, I recommend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow … But if we are afraid that they might harm us or our wives, children, servants, cattle, etc., … then let us emulate the common sense of other nations such as France, Spain, Bohemia, etc., … then eject them forever from the country …” [[Did you get that?]]
auschwitz train rails

“We are at fault in not slaying them” – Martin Luther on the Jews

If publishing such things means I cannot be a Missionary of Mercy, then so be it. But I trust that Pope Francis meant what he said when going way out of his way to invite me to speak with parrhesia. This ever so nice kind of celebration of Martin Luther and his Reformation is precisely how genocides are brought about. It has to stop, and it has to stop now. Do we so easily forget the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception? Do not fool yourselves with all your self-congratulatory “consensus building”. The Word Incarnate will judge the living and the dead and the world by fire.

“God loved the world so much that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

You would think, these days, that people want to rewrite that:

God did not love the world at all, and did not give us His only Son, since He didn’t want anyone to believe in Him, but wanted them to perish and go to hell.

That’s not what I want. You don’t have me in your nice consensus. And don’t think for a second that all this was some momentary rampage for a young and impetuous Luther. No, no. He only progressed throughout his life in his livid hatred of the Jews until at the end of his life he was like an incarnate satan for the Jews. But, hey, that’s someone to celebrate, right? No, not at all. Let me quote, if I might, a German Lutheran pastor.

dietrich bonhoeffer

And I add, to celebrate those who are intent on genocide is to promote genocide.

I hope that something more is said about Luther’s Antisemitism than perhaps his methods were not entirely correct. And if anyone thinks that that statement could not possibly refer to more than Luther’s ideas on justification, blah, blah, blah, you are wrong. Wanting to kill to the Jews was all consuming for Luther. For him, one’s very salvation depended on murderous hatred of the Jews.

Murderous hatred of the Jews is, for Luther, a kind of principle of justification.

And so, I ask, again, it THAT what we are celebrating? Again: not me. Count me out. To hell with that. Amen.

12 Comments

Filed under Ecumenism, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Pope Francis

Pope Jackass (some instructive humor)

Pope ByersHah! As soon as you saw that title to this post, admit it, you thought I was referring to Pope Francis, whom I love to pieces. Instead, it seems there is a movement in the Church to elect a new Pontiff, for which action, I contend, the world and the Church is not now prepared, not until Pope Benedict clarifies what it is that his Archbishop Secretary said a while back about his sharing the Petrine Ministry. It would not do to have three Popes, two of whom are, you know…

Elizdelphi has, nevertheless, taken matters into her own hands, and has gone as far as to begin a design on, of all things, my own papal coat of of arms. Hah! It being that I’m a simple priest in the tiniest parish in North America, I’m hoping that people will not take this as a serious campaign and condemn me as a mortal sinner for such shenanigans as these. My detractors don’t seem to realize that I’ve done much worse in crucifying the Son of the Living God with my sin. But let’s get on with some art appreciation!

I note the triple crown regarding prophet (the unvarnished glorious truth), priest (the only Priest being Jesus) and king (the latter involving fatherly governance) has returned. She regrets not finding a way immediately to add Saint Michael. I’m thinking that the white background can be filled with vertically placed feathers representing the Holy Spirit and the messengers sent to instruct us in that fiery truth of love.

The motto is wonderful. You will see these words together throughout the Scriptures, and my dad liked to repeat them to me a lot: “Goodness and kindness, George, goodness and kindness.”

Elizdelphi says that the blue is water in honor of Lourdes where I was a chaplain for a couple of years at my request. Perhaps she knows that Lourdes is connected with Our Lady of Mount Carmel with which I have a long and far reaching history, throwing me, time and again, in front of those at the top of the Order. The Immaculate Conception appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel to Saint Bernadette. The water can refer to the bitter sea after which our Lady is named, Our Lady of Sorrows. That follows from the clear vision she had as the Immaculate Conception, seeing clearly what we needed when seeing her Son crucified in front of her. She perfectly saw our horror and could perfectly intercede for us. I’m going to say that the blue is the rain coming down upon Elijah’s seven fold prayer on Mount Carmel after the great sacrifice and conversion of the people. The rain cloud came up out of the sea to end the 3 1/2 years drought of punishment. I say that the water is flowing down Mount Carmel. It’s in the form of Mount Carmel, no?

She says that the Star of David represents Mary. O.K. In that case, the Blessed Sacrament is the seventh point of that star, found in the womb of the star as it were. The donkey, kneeling before Jesus, makes up the three stars of the Discalced Carmelite Order, and  the donkey, you have to know, has for many thousands of years been the symbol of the Jewish people. By the way, I’m Jewish! Christ is the Head of the Body and we the members, as Saint Paul says. Mary is our mother.

There is only a couple of changes I would make with the donkey, and that’s to ditch the bridle, to change the color to gray, and to add the cross which is borne by all palestinian donkeys.

For those of you new to such “don’t follow the rules of heraldry” papal coats of arms, perhaps a reminder is needed that this donkey has been resurrected from the dead. You should remember that Corbinian’s bear on the coat of arms of Benedict XVI was actually a donkey, that is, fulfilling the role of the donkey after he killed the donkey. Benedict called himself that “donkey”. See the outrageously wonderful 2005 article of Archbishop Raymond Burke about the newly elected Pope Donkey, Benedict XVI. And then, to those of you who are fuming mad and flinging the rest of us into hell in all the mortal sin you suppose I and Ratzinger and Burke (who may well be the next Roman Pontiff) are in for speaking of the papacy being filled with the likes of a jackass, to you I say, lighten up. Have some Christian mirth. Rejoice! The Lord is good and kind. Again, I will say it: Rejoice!

donkey blessed sacrament

And, just to say it:

(1) Donkeys are intelligent, only doing what they understand, which really is smart. They are not “stubborn as a mule.” Mules are stubborn as mules as they have a reason to be belligerent.

(2) Donkeys can sing: their braying is their praying, as it were.

(3) Donkeys are always with the Holy Family, carrying Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem, warming Jesus with donkey-breathing at the crib, carrying the Holy Family down to Egypt and then all the way back to Nazareth, carrying Jesus into Jerusalem. I’m happy to be a donkey!

P.S. If I place the donkey in adoration before Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, what with salvation coming from the Jews, I am not thereby bringing the Jews to Auschwitz. I’m Jewish. That’s me and any Christian and any Jew who would like to share this greatest love the Jews have given to the entire human race. Jesus, the Jew, is the best, as is His mom.

And… and… if Chesterton still has anything to say about it, behold:

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

22 Comments

Filed under Humor, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis

Extra ecclesiam nulla salus / There is no salvation besides the Church!

john paul ii be not afraid

On the Feast of the Transfiguration, 6 August 2000, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith promulgated with the ratification of Saint Pope John Paul II the Declaration Dominus Iesus, on the unicity and salvific universality of Jesus Christ and the Church. The raging debate has always been about the understanding of the word “extra”.

  • Does “extra” mean merely what most all would grant, that, outside of Christ in His Church, there is no other Savior, such as some martian in a space ship?
  • Does “extra” refer, for instance, to a legal application of positive divine law regarding baptism, indeed, even baptism done within the Catholic Church, so that no other Christians could ever be found in heaven no matter what?

Dominus Iesus is an important doctrinal document meant to be a teaching document settling controversies. It is brief, to the point. Most extraordinary. Well worth the read. There is a paragraph at the end which is interesting:

In treating the question of the true religion, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council taught: “We believe that this one true religion continues to exist in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus entrusted the task of spreading it among all people. Thus, he said to the Apostles: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you’ (Mt 28: 19-20). Especially in those things that concern God and his Church, all persons are required to seek the truth, and when they come to know it, to embrace it and hold fast to it”

Obviously there are more refined questions about the phrase “continues to exist” blah blah blah. But I’ll tell you this, if one accepts what is written in that document, there is no way that one could say that Islam has anything whatsoever to do with any kind of religion, even while the revelation which both Jews and Catholics have received is precisely the same in all ages (Aquinas, Siri et al.).

And let’s get this right: religion is part of the virtue of justice, so that one is to render to God that which is His due, which is proper worship, which can only be done through, with and in Jesus, to the greater glory and honor of God in the unity of the Most Holy Spirit. And remember, Christ Jesus, the Son of the Immaculate Conception, will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

3 Comments

Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Jesus, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, John Paul II

Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Star of David edition)

flores yellow star

Both of these beauties are just outside the door of the rectory, right next to the statue of the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God up on the steps of the main door. Notice the six points on each, a common theme among flowers, particularly Easter lilies. I don’t have any of those growing at the rectory. I don’t have a green thumb. These were volunteers from previous owners.

flores red star

I am unaware of all the diverse interpretations of the Star of David. You can guess at some, such as what is up is down or vice versa, that is, if there are two distinct non-interwoven triangles depicted. The Israeli flag has no interweaving, but is rather a solid outline.

jewish yellow star judeMost Orthodox Jews dislike the use of the star, with some of the ultra-orthodox burning the flag on predictable occasions. But it is not owned by the Zionist movement just because they used it. It is not made evil by the Nazis just because they used it to identify those they were preparing to exterminate. It is not exclusive to the commentators who, very diversely, insist that what is left is right or that what is right is wrong, and so on with all their ultimately political agendas. It is what it is, but there is one interesting depiction dating from the time of Jesus.

synagogue of capernaum star of davidThe Synagogue of Capernaum was built by a Roman Centurion who loved the people of Israel. It is a Synagogue in which Jesus Himself preached and which He surely visited countless times as a youngster (getting to know the Centurion?). The stoneworkers chiseled a certain symbol all over the Synagogue, a forever interwoven double-triangle with a center seventh point – the fulfillment of perfection – giving a direct analogy to the hypostatic union of the divine (what is up) and human (what is down) natures of the Divine Person of the God-Man, the Messiah, the Word-Incarnate, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, the Seed of the Mother of the Redeemer of Genesis 3:15.

star of davidImagine… Mary was a living tabernacle of the Most High, she being the very Ark of the Covenant, of the Living Covenant, of the One who provides our wherewithal to live that Covenant in Blood as members of the very Body of Christ because of now also being the children of Mary and therefore brothers and sisters of Jesus. He lays down His life on this earth that we might live forever with Him in heaven, fulfilling in this way all the prophesies of all Sacred Scripture before Him. This is called the Star of David!

This particular stained glass Star of David was made for me by a father and son of one of first parishes I was in as a deacon during the Summer break. I guess they liked my preaching. I very much enjoyed getting this. It was a time when politics in the Church and in that parish were pretty horrific (as always, right?). They didn’t know I was Jewish, and for that matter, at the time, neither did I. That knowledge would come to me only more recently when I started to investigate my genealogy, finding out that my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother… were all Jewish, making me Jewish. Anyway, whatever the controversies are with my Jewish brethren about the pros and cons of the Star of David, I like it, and I’m not shy about it. For that matter, as a Catholic priest and totally a believer in the Jew, Jesus Christ, and dedicated to the Jewess, Mary most holy, I wouldn’t mind also having dual USA/Israeli citizenship.

3 Comments

Filed under Flores, Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Monstra te esse Matrem edition)

UPDATE: See important exchange in the comments box. Yikes!!!

red bud

Today’s the day. Genesis 3:15 is fulfilled. Mary Immaculate is The Warrior in her virginal motherhood, by way of Her Seed, The Redeemer.

While I do put this up from time to time, forgive me, it is not bragging. It is Mary’s gift to me to give back to her. I say that in all humility (I hope). But it must be said. What I write here (based on a rather intense thesis) followed by six Pontifical Universities in its writing (also by enemies of my conclusions), with no one, including enemies, able to provide any correction or demonstrate that anything is mistaken in any way, presents for the first time (and there are historical reasons for that) that the transmission of original sin by propagation is demonstrated from the Scriptural text, and, therefore, also the Immaculate Conception of the Virginal Mother of the Redeemer.

We cry: “Monstra te esse Matrem!” (Show yourself to be a Mother!) Today’s the day she shows herself to be a mother, the Mother of the Redeemer and our Mother. She’s the warrior, the one who is singled out in Genesis 3:15 as going into the battle that is itself the war against the ancient dragon, the fallen Oracle, the deadly serpent whose power will be crushed by the heel of the Redeemer, with that Redeemer Himself dying because of this initiative of love.

In honor of the Immaculate Conception on this day of days, in this hour of hours, I offer you the bullet points of the argument and the thesis on which it is based, as well as the audio for the conference given to the IVE in Washington, DC, a few years back.

IVE GENESIS IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CONFERENCE 7 FEBRUARY 2013

GENESIS THESIS GEORGE DAVID BYERS

11 Comments

Filed under Flores, Genesis 2-4 to 3-24, Jewish-Catholic dialogue

HEY! Donkey day has arrived! WooHoo! Every donkey has his hour!

image

And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, `Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Luk 13:32-35 rsv)

The Donkey — by G.K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

========= If I could only be a worthy donkey! ========

palestinian donkeyA donkey brought Mary to Bethlehem. A donkey’s breathing kept Jesus warm in the manger. A donkey accompanied the Holy Family to Egypt and all the way back to Nazareth. A donkey was used by the good Samaritan. Donkeys can sing. Most intelligent, they only do what they understand. They are not stubborn as mules. They are hard workers and terribly loyal. They are the symbol of Judaism from time immemorial right back through the millennia, along with the Lion of the tribe of Judah. They have suffered humiliation by elitist Democrats but are nonetheless resilient. It is the donkey who protects the sheep, doing away with “that fox.”

Below, the graffito from the first centuries of the crucified donkey (Jesus the Jew) worshiped by a Jewish boy and follower of Jesus (Alexamenos) in the Emperor’s School on the Palatine overlooking the Circus Maximus, with the Forum on the other side and the Colosseum on the other, mocked by his friends. I’m thinking that Alexamenos some became a martyr in those blood filled days, much like today.

alexamenos

This reminds me of Jackass for the Hour, the unpublished and needing revision 750 page ecclesiastical thriller novel I wrote for the sake of distraction while doing my doctorate on Genesis 2:4a–3:24, a novel about The Murderous Intrigue of Interreligious Politics (with a major theme being the papyri and mss, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation).

jackass for the hour

At the time, Renzo di Lorenzo was my pen-name. I’ve given up on pen-names. They don’t help me. I thought I might need one last year, but that all changed. Maybe the time will come again. I don’t know. What I do know is that donkey day is a great day. I wish I could always be a worthy donkey. And… and… I’m very happy to know that my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were all Jewish, meaning that I’m Jewish! Yeah!

 

3 Comments

Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Jesus, Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Children of Yad vaShem and impatience with non-transparent dialogue

I will persist. My impatience is growing. Long time readers know that I made this simple video at Yad vaShem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. The sound track consists of a recording of the names of the children put to death during those years of the Shoah. Children. What enabled this?

emmanuel celestine suhardThe more I find out about my Jewish ancestry, the more impatient I am to get my hands on a letter dating from the 1940s in the Private Correspondence archives of Supreme Pontiff. It’s what prompted the wonderfully, incisively, terribly utterly sarcastic letter not to the original letter’s authors, but instead to Emmanuel Célestin Cardinal Suhard in 1948. This is ever more significant to an essay I would like to write which I think will go a long way to promote dialogue between Jews and Catholics. Two months ago I asked you readers to wish me luck as I look for some preliminary forays about this, some correspondence, back and forth, to the Prefect of the Holy Office and then to the Secretary of State. I have not quite moved into the “new” (1952) rectory in Andrews, things not being in order, so, the task is nigh impossible. Pray my impatience becomes so great I will turn my little world upside-down to find these preliminaries. Time is short. Always.

Update: This video, sent in by the widow of this gentleman, is queued to a most incisive section of seven interviews spliced together, is a statement of history presented to the ages…

2 Comments

Filed under Genesis 2-4 to 3-24, Holy See, Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Update: Jews & Catholics worship same God and rejoice in the same faith

Mary foot of the cross

The Immaculate Mother of the Divine Seed, Yahweh Elohim Incarnate.

The haters of the Jews, the negationists who deny the Shoah, are also to be found among the traditional-ism-ists. They rampage in a swirl round about the internet saying also that the Jews have a different god than the Catholic God and never in the Jews’ history did they enjoy true religion. With the negationists, it is all the fashion to ignore Jesus (a Jew) and the entirety of those most Sacred Scriptures inspired and written down and canonical before the Word of God became flesh by way of a Jewess. Do these haters deny that Jesus (a Jew) said this (from John 8)?

“I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world.” They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM.”

Does not this remind us of that passage from Exodus 3?

“But,” said Moses to God, “when I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?” God replied, “I AM WHO I AM.” Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.” God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the Israelites: HE WHO IS [indeed, HE WHO CAUSES TO BECOME…], the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. “This is my name forever; this is my title for all generations.

Jesus is the fulfillment of all the prophesies. He is Yahweh Elohim, the Seed mentioned in Genesis 3:15, the God of the resurrection, the living One who spoke in the fire of the bush not consumed by fire.

I dare any traditional-ism-ist to make a reasoned comment in the comments box denying that the chosen people who were to provide the fulfillment of the promise of redemption in Genesis 3:15 (salvation being from the Jews, as Jesus said) have the same faith as Catholics have since the Apostolic age to the present day. No, really, go ahead! To get through the moderation queue on this post, you’ll have to make a real attempt at this. I’m guessing that this post will have no comments whatsoever.

Update: This video, which is queued to a most incisive section of seven interviews spliced together, is a statement of history presented to the ages…

4 Comments

Filed under Genesis 2-4 to 3-24, Jesus, Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Update: Martin Luther: “We are at fault in not slaying the Jews.” The Holy See: “Let’s celebrate his life!” J’accuse!

auschwitz

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” mlkjr

Being Pope Francis’ Jewish Missionary of Mercy, and invited to speak with parrhesia by him, I think I am obliged to offer some comments about the push among some curial officials to celebrate the life of Martin Luther and the Reformation, the former being inextricably intertwined with the latter. Cardinal Koch has said some good things in the past, so this is an occasion of real dismay for me particularly, and for all men of good will.

Martin Luther defined himself and his Lutherans as those who are to be condemned if they would not murder Jews: “We are at fault in not slaying them” (Luther, Martin. On the Jews and Their Lies, cited in Michael, Robert. “Luther, Luther Scholars, and the Jews,” Encounter 46 (Autumn 1985) No. 4:343–344). Like so much else with Luther, this is reminiscent of Islam, the old spread by the sword your faith kind of thing. This is the Reformation in all of its pristine vigor. It is Martin Luther’s “insight,” his “spiritual experience,” his Promethian understanding of “righteousness” and “mercy.” The response both of Lutherans and the Holy See to all this is: Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Ecumenism, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Pope Francis

Kissing the Face of God

CHRISTMAS

Proclamation of the Birth of Christ

The twenty-fifth day of December when ages beyond number had run their course from the creation of the world, when God in the beginning created Heaven and Earth, and formed man in His own likeness; when century upon century had, passed since the Almighty set his bow in the clouds after the Great Flood, as a sign of covenant and peace; in the twenty-first century since Abraham, our father in faith, came out of Ur of the Chaldees; in the thirteenth century since the People of Israel were led by Moses in the Exodus from Egypt; around a thousand years since David was anointed King; in the sixty-fifth week of the prophecy of Daniel; in the one-hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad; in the year seven hundred and fifty-two since the founding of Rome; in the forty-second year of the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus, the whole world being at peace,

JESUS CHRIST, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to consecrate the world by His most loving presence, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and when nine months had passed since His conception, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah, and was made man:

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

Go to Holy Communion in the state of grace, so that, with purity of heart and agility of soul, enthralled with the loving humility of the Most High, you may kiss the very Face of God.

4 Comments

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Lior, who is “Light for Me”

LIOR

After seeing the trailer to the movie below, I would agree with Devora myself. It is such as these who have throughout my life brought me closer to the Most High than any earthly ecclesiastical doctor of the law, and being one of those myself and one who knows the highest ranking doctors of the law both Jewish and Catholic, that is a high compliment indeed to Lior. !לחיים

Should anyone like to get all theological about it, I hasten to send such a one to this article on Arise! Let us be going! on the absolute truth and Pope Francis: Pope Francis gets it right about Absolute Truth

Update: The email below came in from a friend. I post it here because I would like everyone to take note of the subject matter of this post and compare it to the perspective from which she writes. I think that is most beautiful, the rejoicing of all the children of God. And, she’s right: isn’t this what Francis, our Bishop of Rome desires, such joy before the Most High? Yes!

This entry is the most beautiful Christmas present, thank you. True joy and speaking to everyone without boundaries. You have epitomized the Holy Father but by Holy Father I mean the Vicar of Christ. Because whether it be Pope Pius XII or any one of the Popes since then until now, it reflects their warmth and concern for all but especially the forgotten/shunned, in society. Thank you for being a true Missionary of Mercy and reminding us to be aware and to live joyfully.

Leave a comment

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue

Mirthful reaction against Pope Francis’ Jewish Missionary of Mercy

Mary Guadalupe

Just above where I write in the new rectory in Andrews. The red drapery is from iconographic praxis. Star of David is found all over the early first century synagogue where Jesus preached in Capernaum. The face of the Guadalupana, an exact replica-detail of the tilma, given to me in the sacristy after having said Mass facing the tilma in Guadalupe with a good friend from the Congregation for the Clergy concelebrating.

A merciless attack on the Pope Francis’ Jewish Missionary of Mercy!

A Catholic priest friend with a great sense of humor put up my recent post on Pope Francis appointing me, Jewish Scripture scholar that I am, to be one of his Missionaries of Mercy, putting this up, that is, on his FaceBook with this introduction:

I know Pope Francis has an ecumenical bent, and I know he likes to push the envelope, but a Jewish Missionary of Mercy? Really?

I laughed and laughed when he told me this, knowing the reaction that it would bring, a perfect teaching moment. And that’s what he wanted, of course. I still laugh. Pope Francis doesn’t want non-joyful Missionaries of Mercy. Here’s some of the reaction on his FaceBook:

1st comment: I’m soooooooo confused, and I’m a cradle Catholic.
2nd comment: Read the article and you won’t be.
3rd comment: I read the article & I’m even more confused now! Why do Catholics in need of mercy benefit from a “missionary of mercy” who doesn’t even accept Jesus as the Messiah, much less belong to the Church He founded????

Here’s the original article, just previous to this one on Arise! Let us be going!: Pope Francis’ Jewish Missionary of Mercy. Please, read it carefully. This points to the clear need for some dialogue.

Teaching this teachable moment

Lest anyone be scandalized by all this mirth (for the above FB comments were surely made with equal jest, especially the third comment, for she is a friend), let me use this all as a teachable moment. Here’s the truth of it:

I am a Catholic Priest who happily takes Pope Saint Pius X’s oath against modernism. But, what if I was a rabbi instead of being a priest? Let me tell you that one of the most profound instructions on the reclaiming of space and time for our heavenly Father by way of His Eternal Word Incarnate – “Instaurare omnia in Christo” (Ephesians 1:10 and the motto of Saint Pius X) – came to me by way of a Jewish rabbi. His instructing the ignorant, me, was an exercise of the spiritual work of work of mercy on my behalf. It would do us well to listen to each other. Let’s start with a rabbi turned priest, just to help you along:

“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today” (Acts 22:3 nab).

That’s Saint Paul, by the way, who goes on to say this:

“I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie; my conscience joins with the holy Spirit in bearing me witness that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and separated from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kin according to the flesh. They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 9:1-5 nab).

Need we add that the Apostles are Jewish? That Immaculate Mary is Jewish? That Jesus is Jewish? Speaking of the Divine Son of God, Jesus said of Himself (John 4:22):

Saint Matthew tax collector Caravaggio

Caravaggio: Election of Saint Matthew

“Salvation is from the Jews.”

Still don’t get it? Here are some Jewish Catholics you might know:

  • The Catholic Archbishop of Paris, Aaron Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger (✝ 5 August 2007)
  • The Catholic auxiliary of Jerusalem, the Most Reverend Jean-Baptiste Gourion

Miserando atque eligendo, right?

Since I sojourned for a time above the cave of Elijah on Mount Carmel, and on so very many occasions wandered among the caves along the wadi where the ancient Carmelite monastery was destroyed by the Islamic crowd in bygone centuries, I hasten to add that all the big Spanish names among canonized Catholic Discalced Carmelites also declared to be Catholic Doctors of the Catholic Church have Jewish roots. And then there is, of course, Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), a Discalced Carmelite nun. Did I mention she is a Jewess, and Catholic? Perhaps you know how she died.

If we had to mention literature, I’m sure you’ve all read Michael O’Brien’s Father Elijah: An Apocalypse. The main character is Jewish and a Catholic priest.

There are, of course, countless others. And we could go on to mention the Jewish saints in the traditional Roman Canon of the Sacrifice of the Mass, etc., but, I think, the point should be clear:

One can be Jewish and Catholic at the same time.

But just to be crystal clear: I am indeed a Catholic priest, belong to a Catholic pontifical right clerical religious congregation, and am taking care of a Catholic parish of the Catholic diocese of Charlotte, on behalf of the Catholic bishop of this Catholic diocese. All Catholic. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be a Jewish Scripture scholar appointed by Pope Francis to be one of his Jewish Missionaries of Mercy, it being that I am 100% Jewish, what with my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother all speaking Yiddish from their native Poland.

I laugh with great belly laughs of Jewish mirth and… and… I really should grow pe’ot also for the sake of creating teachable moments like this. Having said all that, don’t be angry with me. Laugh with me for the joy of being instructed in the faith of our fathers.

23 Comments

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Mercy, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Year of Mercy

Pope Francis’ Jewish Missionary of Mercy

 

POPE FRANCIS RICCARDO DI SEGNI

The Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo di Segni, truly a gentleman and scholar and pastor of souls [pictured here with Pope Francis], met me late at night near the Iranian Embassy in Rome, on 3 November 2005, after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel from the face of the earth. I had wanted to express solidarity with my fathers in the faith. Rabbi di Segni’s first words to me were: “Sia laudato Gesù Cristo!”

A Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis is a Jew?

  • Catholics: “No surprise there!” hopefully said pleasantly.
  • Jews: “?באמת” followed by “!מצוין” I hope.

Here’s all I know:

  • Yes, I’m a 100% Jew according to Knesset accepted halakhic requirements
  • Yes, my mom is a 100% Jewess and spoke a bit of Yiddish
  • Yes, her mother and grandmother spoke fluent Yiddish and both had common Jewish names
  • Yes, she gave me the name David (though my dad imposed George in front of that)
  • Yes, she gave me a Jewish nickname anyway: Jordan (when she wasn’t using Yiddish knicknames with me when I was being a troublemaker!)
  • Yes, my parents funded my education at Hebrew University on Mount Scopus
  • Yes, I did live on the other side of the wall from Hebrew Union College across from Jerusalem’s King David Hotel
  • Yes, I speak a bit of modern Hebrew and know enough Biblical Hebrew to correct specialist historical philological studies
  • Yes, I’ve written things which discredit hundreds of years of anti-Semitic idiocy, destroying even the foundations of anti-semitism that have been stupidly proffered at the very highest of academic levels.
  • Yes, I would like to write more, if only the Pontifical Household would release a certain document from the mid-1940s, and they know of what I speak, since a bishop and a number of Cardinals were involved in the request (look it up, guys…)
  • Yes, I’m trying to kick-start what has been called by the chief rabbi for dialogue between Israel and the Holy See that which goes far beyond what any such dialogue countenanced by the Holy See has offered to date, bringing things to a different level altogether
  • Yes, I’ve walked a huge portion of the greater Israel, until my legs were about to fall off, and have otherwise visited here and there quite exhaustively, feeling myself to be at home
  • Yes, I am circumcised!
  • Yes, I’ve sung Israeli folk songs in Hebrew by heart
  • Yes, I’ve said Mass in Hebrew entirely by heart
  • Yes, I do like to “talk about Saturday” ;-) [Not taking it seriously is the reason for the Exile, a mockery of the Most High, but, mind you, Jesus’ critics were not taking it seriously]
  • Yes, I did feel more at home walking through the Jewish “Ghetto” in Rome over the decades of my sojourn in Rome than in many of the churches I visited and passed by, mentioning this to good friends over the years, and this for reasons which they could provide even if they didn’t know me (and yes, I do have comments to make about the fact of the ghetto and “the” church at its peripheries)
  • Yes, I do have friends who have my back; after all: תשועה ברוב יועץ
  • Yes, I do want dual Israeli-USA citizenship (possible for me?)
  • Yes, I admit it: I do need to grow pe’ot (You’ll have to see if I do!)

Why do I bring this up on Arise! Let us be going! ?

Because a disclaimer (or warning) of sorts is appropriate before I launch into some articles on Jewish-Catholic dialogue. I am intrigued by a deepening of the dialogue presented by Cardinal Koch at the beginning of the Extraordinary Jubilee of the Year of Mercy, all the more so as commentators left and right present their utter ignorance of the issues and what is at stake. I look forward to this with an eye to provide mercy, a heart wide open to receive that mercy, the aim being to be drawn together by the Most High to the accomplishment of His Holy Will. Is this not part of what being a Missionary of Mercy is all about?

Arise! Let us be going!

— Father George David Byers

4 Comments

Filed under Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Mercy, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Year of Mercy