On this feast of the glorious Apostles Peter and Paul, true Catholics everywhere must be deeply disturbed to see how the fruits of their labor for nearly two millennia are today slowly but surely being rejected. Why? One reason is the sheep and the shepherds have become forgetful hearers. "But he who has looked carefully into the perfect law of liberty and has remained in it, not becoming a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, shall be blessed in his deed" (Jas.1:25).
The heart of every Christian should be filled with joy upon hearing the disciples address Jesus: "Now we know that you know all things, and do not need that anyone should question you. For this reason we believe that you came forth from God" (Jn.16:29,30). Their faith is ours, for it came down to us from them, the first believers, who went out to preach the Gospel to all nations. Those who hear the word must keep it, cherish it, and hand it on unchanged. But there are forgetful hearers.
Forgetful hearers - they have heard the Gospel but they have not remained in it. They have been witnesses of the true Tradition, but they have not handed it on. Modernists, the faith of the Church has passed through their minds like documents through a shredder, and has ended up in bits and pieces. Reassembled according to their designs, it bears little resemblance to the "faith of our fathers." Faithful Catholics must not let these things pass without defending the faith for which our ancestors often gave their lives. We must speak up or share the blame.
Among the new doctrines of the Church of Vatican II is that of the two covenants. The Pontifical Biblical Commission released a document on May 24, 2001, entitled The Hebrew People in its Holy Scriptures and the Christian Bible, which stated that the Old Testament Scriptures may be interpreted by the Jews according to their own traditions, and that they need not recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah in order to be saved, but may await another Messiah. The document was signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, backed by papal authority. The Vatican spokesman, Joachin Navarro-Valls, announced that this blatant heresy, contradicting both Holy Tradition and the Sacred Scriptures, would henceforth be official Church teaching.
The document was seconded by another, Reflections on Covenant and Mission, sanctioned by the American Bishops: "A deepening Catholic appreciation of the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people, together with a recognition of a divinely-given mission to Jews to witness to God's faithful love, lead to the conclusion that campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church."
Is John Paul II a prisoner in the Vatican? Could it be that he does not really approve the new heretical teaching, but is unable to prevent its being taught? Alas, the contrary is indicated in a brief speech he gave on Thursday, May 22, 2003 - almost one year after the release of the PBC's document - to a delegation of Jews at the Vatican. The new doctrine is indeed being taught, and at the highest level of the Church of Vatican II. Speaking in English, the 'pontiff' declared:
"It gives me great pleasure to welcome to the Vatican distinguished representatives of the World Jewish Congress and of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations… God's word is a lamp and a light to our path; it keeps us alive and gives us new life (cf. Ps.119: 105,107). This word is given to our Jewish brothers and sisters especially in the Torah. To Christians this word finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Although we hold and interpret this heritage differently, we both feel bound to bear common witness to God's fatherhood and his love for his creatures… Jews and Christians believe that our lives are a journey towards the fulfillment of God's promises… In the light of the rich common religious heritage we share, we can consider the present as a challenging opportunity for joint endeavors of peace and justice in our world. The defense of the dignity of every human being made in the image and likeness of God, is a cause which must engage all believers…" (ZENIT, May 22, 2003)
This speech, brief as it is, is pure sophistry. There is no suggestion that the salvation of the Jews hangs in the balance. Jews and Christians are grouped together as 'believers,' although they believe different things. In fact, their beliefs are contradictory. Jewish 'faith' rejects Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and is therefore infidelity to God's word. To group Jews and Christians together as 'believers' is an insult and an affront to the Divine Messiah for Whom the first disciples laid down their lives and shed their blood as witnesses.
As for the fulfillment of God's promises, St. Paul makes it clear that the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring, Whom he says is Jesus Christ. Mere natural descent from Abraham does not make one an heir to the promises. The heir is Jesus Christ and those who believe in Him and belong to His Body, the Church, through Baptism (cf. Gal.3:7-9).
John Paul states: "God's word is a lamp and a light to our path; it keeps us alive and gives us new life… This word is given to our Jewish brothers and sisters especially in the Torah." Here God's written word in Sacred Scripture is separated from the Word made flesh - Jesus Christ. To do so makes it a dead letter which does not give life. It gives life only when it bears witness to Christ. St. John makes this clear in the prologue of his Gospel:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God… He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But to as many as received Him He gave the power of becoming sons of God… For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (Jn.1:1,2,11,12,17).
Again John Paul says: "Although we hold and interpret this heritage differently, we both feel bound to bear common witness to God's fatherhood and his love for his creatures." But the Jews rejected God as Father when they rejected the Son, as Jesus makes clear: "…the Father Himself, Who has sent Me, has borne witness to Me. But you have never heard His voice, or seen His face. And you have not His word abiding in you, since you do not believe Him Whom He has sent. You search the Scriptures, because in them you think that you have life everlasting. And it is they that bear witness to Me, yet you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life" (Jn.5:37-40).
Though the 'conciliar church' now preaches a 'gospel' that allows its hearers to remain complacent in their unbelief, preaching the Gospel remains not a matter of choice but of divine command:
"Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be condemned" (Mk.16:15).
We must, we will, continue to preach as the Lord Himself has commanded.
"And may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and has given us through grace everlasting consolation and good hope, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word" (2 Thess.2:16,17).
Peter and Paul would not stand for what is happening today, for indeed Paul said it best in Galatians 1: 7-10,
"I wonder that you are so soon removed, from him who called you to the grace of Christ, to another gospel: Which is not another, only thre are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an Angel from Heaven, preach a gospel to you beside that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so I say now again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? If I did yet please men, I should not be the servant of Christ."
and Peter in 1 Peter 2: 8, "And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of scandal to them, who stumble at the word, neither do believe whereunto also they are set"
and 2 Peter 3: 17, "You therefore, brethren, knowing these things before, beware; lest, being led away by the error of the unwise, you fall from your own steadfastness."
Father Louis J. Campbell
For past Sunday/Holy Day Sermons by Father Louis, see www.DailyCatholic.org/2003qui.htm Archives