Dealing with apparent contradictions in Church teaching
Quote: The late Pope John Paul II described the Declaration “Nostra Aetate” that emanated from the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council as “an expression of Faith” and “an inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as a word of Divine Wisdom”.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jewry has described the impact of Nostra Aetate as “an astonishing transformation”. Indeed in relation to the Jewish People the implications were truly revolutionary in the most positive sense of the word.  With the promulgation of this declaration, a people – formerly viewed at best as a fossil but more often as cursed and condemned to wander and suffer – was now officially portrayed as beloved by God and somehow very much still part of the Divine plan for humankind.

In his visit to the Rome synagogue in 1986, Pope John Paul II referred to the Jewish people as “the beloved elder brothers of the Church”. He developed this idea with his own notable formulation of the essential message of Nostra Aetate. One of the occasions on which I was privileged to meet with John Paul II was in Assisi in January 1993 on the occasion of the gathering he had convened for prayer for peace in the Balkans. In receiving me and my colleague, he declared “I have said, you (the Jewish People) are the beloved elder brother of the Church of the original Covenant never broken and never to be broken”.

This phrase does not just reflect a transformation in attitude and teaching towards the Jews; it has profound implications for the Church in terms of its own theology.

Indeed Pope Benedict XVI himself has said that the Church has not yet fully discovered all the profound implications of Nostra Aetate.  Part of the reason for this lies in the very novelty of the Declaration.  Cardinal Augustin Bea at the time of the declaration’s promulgation, emphasized its ground-breaking nature.  Cardinal Johannes  Willebrands, former President of the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jewry, elaborated on this idea further affirming that never before had such “a systematic, positive, comprehensive, careful and daring presentation on Jews and Judaism been made in the Church by a Pope or a Council”.

Moreover Catholic theologians such as Michel Remaud have noted that “of all the documents promulgated by the Second Vatican Council, that on the Jews is the only one which contains no reference whatsoever to any of the Church’s teachings – patristic, conciliar or pontifical.”  There are, therefore, in paragraph 4 of Nostra Aetate and in the Holy See’s 1975 “Guidelines and Suggestions on the implementation of Nostra Aetate”, innovative elements and hence radical changes.  As Prof. Father John Pawlikowski has put it, in returning to Romans 9-11 as its exclusive scriptural source, Nostra Aetate in fact said that “the Church is now taking up where Paul left off in his insistence that Jews remain part of the Covenant after the Resurrection despite the theological ambiguity involved.” This is not to ignore the fact that the text itself in its final version after much argument and many compromises, fell disappointingly short of the originally proposed text, which we now know was the hope and intention of Pope John XXIII.

As has also been pointed out frequently, the implications of Nostra Aetate can only be properly understood in the light of subsequent teaching of the Magisterium – in particular, the aforementioned ‘Guidelines’; the 1985 Notes on the correct way to present Jews and Judaism; the statements of Pope Paul VI and in particular the extensive body of Pope John Paul II’s declarations on this subject, as well as those of various Episcopal conferences.  This dynamic had sought to preclude any negative interpretations which might otherwise have been possible in expounding the text of Nostra Aetate itself.  Thus as Dr. Eugene Fisher has pointed out, in Pope John Paul II’s articulation concerning God’s Covenant with the Jewish People to which I referred above; and in calling for a joint mission of witness to the Name of One God “by Jews and Christians in and for the world”, he sought to resolve the question of abrogation/supercession in favor of ‘mutual esteem’ and cast into an entirely new framework the ancient question of proselytism/conversion.  Indeed a number of Cardinals and Bishops Conferences have categorically rejected the need for “a mission to the Jews”.  For example the U.S. Bishops Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious affairs declared in its Reflections on Covenant and Mission (August 2002) that the distinctive Jewish witness must be sustained if Catholics and Jews are to truly be as Pope John Paul II envisioned, “a blessing to one another”.

“Nostra Aetate”, Forty Years After Vatican II.
Present & Future Perspectives

Conference of the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with Jewry,
Rome, October 27, 2005

Quote: We can reflect on the meaning of the day that God chose to conclude such a laborious life, so full of dedication and sacrifice for the cause of Christ, the Gospel, and the Church. Was not Paul VI's pontificate perhaps a time of deep change promoted by the Holy Spirit throughout the whole activity of the Council convened by his predecessor? Did not Paul VI, who had inherited the work of the Council from John XXIII immediately after the first session in 1963, find himself at the very centre of this change, first as the Pope of Vatican II and then as the Pope of the implementation of Vatican II, in the most difficult period, immediately after the closing of the Council?


Wednesday, 1 August 1979

Of coursw who can forget Cardinal Ratzinger accepting that the council was an 'anti syllabus' ?

Messages In This Thread
Re: Dealing with apparent contradictions in Church teaching - by TrentCath - 08-17-2012, 02:33 PM

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)