On the Feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome this past week we heard from the great Apostle himself: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His great mercy has begotten us again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead unto a living hope, unto an incorruptible inheritance - undefiled and unfading, reserved for you in Heaven" (1 Peter 1:3,4). St. Peter had come to Rome, says Pope St. Leo, "that he might make the light to shine from the head to the whole body of the civilized nations."
Today, however, though unbelievers stand in long lines at the Vatican to be welcomed by the reputed successor of Peter, Benedict XVI, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is no longer what they hear. Instead they are given a gospel of love and brotherhood without the need of faith, repentance, and Baptism in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Incredible things have been coming out of the Vatican. Recently we heard that even atheists can be saved if they have "a spark of desire for the unknown, for the greatest, for the transcendent, for a genuine redemption" (Benedict XVI, General Audience, Nov.30, 2005, Zenit.org). Now we have this mind shattering message from Benedict on the occasion of a visit from Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni of Rome and a delegation from the Jewish community. Quoting from the Song of Moses, Benedict declared:
"Your visit fills me with joy, and it motivates me to renew with you this song of thanksgiving for salvation. The people of Israel have been liberated many times from the hands of their enemies and, in times of anti-Semitism, in the dramatic moments of the Shoah, the hand of the Almighty guided and sustained them. The favor of the God of the Covenant has always accompanied them, giving them the strength to overcome trials. Your Jewish community, present in the city of Rome for more than 2,000 years, can also bear witness to this divine loving attention. The Catholic Church is close to you and is your friend. Yes, we love you and cannot but love you, 'through the Fathers': Because of them you are very dear to us and favorite brothers (cf. Romans 11:28b)" (Jan. 16, 2006, Zenit.org). "Fathers" here means the faithful of the Old Testament.
Well, saints alive! Salvation now has the earthly meaning of being delivered from the hands of one's enemies. Didn't St. Peter talk about an "incorruptible inheritance" in Heaven? And hear this: according to Benedict, contemporary Judaism is the "holy tree" of which the Catholic Church is merely a grafted in branch, with the privilege of sharing in its mission:
"In Christ we partake in your heritage of the Fathers, in order to serve the Almighty, 'with one accord' (Zephaniah 3:9), grafted onto the one 'holy tree' of the people of God. As Christians, this fact makes us aware that, with you, we share in the responsibility of cooperating for the good of all people, in justice and peace, in truth and freedom, in holiness and love."
It is true that St. Paul talks about Gentile Christians as being "grafted in" to the "holy tree" of the people of God, but modern Talmudic Judaism, by denying Jesus Christ, is in apostasy, and is not that "holy tree", but a new false religion. St. Paul makes this clear: "In view of the gospel, they (the Jews) are enemies for your sake; but in view of the divine choice, they are most dear for the sake of the fathers," yet, "they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in" (Romans 11:28;23). We must love the Jews and pray for their conversion, but sharing in their alleged "mission" would turn us all into apostates.
Benedict, however, says with wide-eyed optimism: "Together we can work to transmit the torch of the Ten Commandments and of hope to the young generations." Rabbi Di Segni must have nearly choked on that one. Christians generally think they have at least one thing in common with the Jews - that the Ten Commandments are common property, and are binding upon all mankind. The Jews, however, are very jealous of sharing the Commandments, which they believe God gave them at Mount Sinai, without intending them for those outside the Covenant. Catholics and other Christians are out of order in appropriating the Ten Commandments, since they belong exclusively to the God's Chosen People - the Jews.
Lest we be disappointed the Jews have come up with another set of laws for those who wish to be "Righteous Gentiles." These are the Seven Laws of Noah, the so-called Noahide Laws, which they claim come from the covenant God made with Noah, eons before Moses received the tablets of the Law on Mount Sinai. Righteous Gentiles are those who obey the Noahide Laws. In fact, these Laws are found in the Talmud, which consists of collections of extra-Biblical Jewish traditional teachings, with commentaries, that were compiled in the early centuries of the Christian era. They have influenced modern Judaism more than the inspired writings of the Old Testament.
Well, surely this is something buried deep in some ancient library in Jerusalem, where it is ignored by Jews with any claim to sense or reason, is it not? On the contrary! Due to an amazing coup by powerful Jewish interests in America, the Noahide Laws were officially recognized by President George H. Bush and both houses of the U.S. Congress, in Public Law 102-14, 102nd Congress. It was acknowledged that the United States of America was founded upon the Seven Universal Laws of Noah, and that these laws have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization. And because recent weakening of these principles was said to threaten the fabric of civilized society, March 26th, 1991, was designated Education Day, U.S.A., for the purpose of educating American citizens about the Noahide Laws. Jesus Christ and the Ten Commandments are now officially irrelevant in America.
Still, we are promised that Righteous Gentiles who observe the Noahide Laws are guaranteed "a place in the world to come." But don't get your hopes up! This does not mean Heaven, but the Messianic Age in which the Jews expect to assume authority over the whole earth under the leadership of their "Messiah." Righteous Gentiles will be the servant class. There will be no place at all for those who do not observe the Noahide Laws. Well, surely we Catholics can qualify as Righteous Gentiles, at least if we observe the Seven Laws of Noah? Unfortunately, in the mind of those who gave us the Noahide Laws, those who worship Jesus Christ as God are idolaters. To believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ is to violate the first Noahide Law: "Thou shalt not worship idols." And what is the penalty for those who so offend? The Talmud requires decapitation.
St. Paul tells us in today's Epistle: "Be not wise in your own conceits. To no man render evil for evil, but provide good things not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men" (Romans 12:16). Far from wishing any evil to the Jews, we pray for their conversion and eternal salvation, as the true Church has always done, that they may be "begotten… again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead unto a living hope, unto an incorruptible inheritance - undefiled and unfading" in Heaven (1 Peter 1:3,4). Jesus Christ the King is our hope and our salvation, and we must live by His Commandments - all ten of them.