US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Disrupting dialogue between Jews and Catholics

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

I sometimes wonder if certain Catholics aren't driven to completely disrupt the Catholic-Jewish relationship. First in the news today is Jesuit Father Peter Gumpl, the official advocate for the beatification cause of Pius XII, saying that Pius' beatification is being delayed because of pressure from Jewish organizations who question whether Pius did enough during WWII to stop the Nazi slaughter of the Jews. (My column on Pius can be found here.) Blaming Jews for expressing legitimate concerns is hardly a way to promote an open relationship given the centuries-long history of, um, blaming Jews for problems.

Second, at the end of their summer meeting, the USCCB doctrine committee issues a "clarifying statement" that seems to take back some of the content of Reflections on Covenant and Mission, a joint document drafted by Catholic and Jewish scholars and issued by the USCCB in 2002 under the patronage of Cardinal Keeler of Baltimore (now retired). The current doctrine committee, led by Bridgeport Bishop William Lori, is concerned that the document insufficiently emphasizes that Jesus is fhe fulfillment of the revelation begun with Abraham, and includes this confusing statement that Reflections "could lead some to conclude mistakenly that Jews have an obligation not to become Christian and that the Church has a corresponding obligation not to baptize Jews." Yeah, we wouldn't want to give that impression--if we could figure out what impression we were trying to avoid giving.

Ugh. Both actions are completely unnecessary. Both are counterproductive. Considering our troubled history, I for one think that we Catholics should lean toward being more generous and deferential to our Jewish partners. Leave it to God to sort out how Jews and Christians will together enter the reign of God.