The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Hebrew Catholics?

Strange but true. Details:

Three years ago, just before Easter, then-Archbishop Raymond Burke attended a Passover seder with about 25 people to commemorate God’s liberation of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt.

Guests wore yarmulkes–Burke brought his own fuchsia zucchetto worn by bishops–as a symbol of God’s presence, and enjoyed traditional seder fare: matzo, horseradish, apples and wine.

But this was not a traditional Passover seder.

“It was a seder celebrated in the light of Christ,” said David Moss, the seder’s host and president of the St. Louis-based Association of Hebrew Catholics.


Despite the risk of creating a rift with the local Jewish community, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has given the group its encouragement and support since 2006, when Burke (now a Vatican judge) welcomed it into the archdiocese.

When Moss’ organization announced its first national conference scheduled for October in St. Louis, the agenda included Burke and archdiocesan leaders. And that’s worries local Jewish groups.

After centuries of often contentious relations, in the last 50 years Catholic and Jewish leaders have generally come to an understanding on the idea of Catholics proselytizing Jews: Don’t do it.

Continue at the link for the rest.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 10:21 am

Hebrew Catholics are Jews who convereted to Catholicism. You are either Jewish or Catholic not both. I am a faithful Catholic married to a faithful Jew — in fact a Rabbi. We attend each other’s services and celebrate each other’s holidays. We have even organized and conducted a Catholic seder for my parish. Which my husband led.
The proseltyzing of this group is offensive to me. I believe Jesus is the Messiah and I wil gladly share this with any Jew who asks me about it, however, I do not actively seek converts — nor do I do so among my Protestant or Muslims friends. Perhaps this makes me a bad Catholic, but I am not and do not expect to be proseltyzed by Jews to convert to Judaism — even though it would make my husband’s life and career much easier. I will show the same love and kindness to others.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 10:25 am

Should Catholics proselytize Jews? Yes. The message of the Gospel is Universal and does not admit exceptions, for Jew, for Muslim, for any one. To announce the Gospel is at the heart of the Church and to admit that any person is excluded would be to negate its power for salvation.
Should Catholics maintain Jewish customs? Yes, as long as they don’t become an obstacle to the Gospel and the Grace of Jesus Christ.
These questions were settled for the Church back in the days of the Book of Acts and the Letters of the Apostle Paul.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 11:34 am

Jesus brought the good news to the Jews first. He commanded his apostles to preach to the whole world. On the first Pentecost, Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, declared to the Jews that their best move would be conversion and baptism. To reject these examples and this mandate is to reject Christ.
As for attendance at seders: I’d attend if invited by Jews. But IMHO (notwithstanding Archbishop Burke, whom I admire and respect), for the baptised to host such events is wrong. It’s wrong of baptized non-Jews because it’s rude to appropriate other people’s religious ceremonies. It’s wrong of all Christians, Jewish or not, because it obscures and constructively denies the fact that Jesus the Messiah is himself our passover, of whom the ancient Jewish feast is only a prophecy and type.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 1:29 pm

If I read this correctly, these people are are CATHOLICS…is it really proseltyzing if a person is already a believer?!

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posted August 20, 2010 at 3:25 pm

1 Peter charges us to “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.”
This suggests a number of things. Our lives ought to reflect so well the hope of the Gospel that others will be attracted to that hope and ask us about it. This, then, creates an opening for evangelizing, to explain that Christ is the cause of our hope. This should be done gently and reverently, for the sake of the Gospel, for our own sake, and for the sake of respecting the dignity of the one to whom we are explaining the cause of our hope. We don’t want to drive others away from the Gospel by our lack of gentility and our disrespect. At the same time, we don’t want to give our maligners ammunition for accusing us of living in an un-Christlike way. Peter says that our maligners will accuse us anyway, that we will suffer their attacks, so our good conduct in Christ needs to speak in defense of the good that we do.
Given this, the Church makes a distinction between proselytizing and evangelizing.
Proselytizing is strong-arming, attacking, attempting, if you will, to scare the hell out of unbelievers so they’ll turn to: what? Christ? Or our particular take on the Gospel?
Evangelizing is simply living in a Christ-like way. By doing so, others will be attracted to “the way” and inquire about it, thereby opening the door for sharing Christ. How many times have converts remarked that it was the witness of a priest or sister or lay Catholic acting in a way that doesn’t make sense unless God exists and the Gospel is true that brought them to consider the faith more deeply? See how they love one another! Recall, too, the admonition of St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.”
If we, as Catholics, are evangelizing properly, with gentleness and reverence, others will have no cause to complain about our good conduct in Christ.

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posted August 20, 2010 at 9:45 pm

I am familiar with the Association of Hebrew Catholics, and David Moss. He is a very faithful Catholic, and his sister, Sister Rosalind, is forming a new religious order. Both grew up Jewish, discovered Christ in Evangelicalism, and recognizes Him in the Catholic Church. I believe their aim is to show the continuity between Judaism and Christianity; if I’m off base with the purpose, please let me know, as my memory of it could be incorrect.

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Andre John

posted September 4, 2010 at 5:26 am

!SHALOM! May the peace of YAHWEH be with us all.
G=D bless us all, in Jesus’ name, AMEN!

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posted October 9, 2010 at 11:39 am

As a Hebrew Catholic I support Archbishop Burke 100%. As Head of the Signatura he has a better grasp of Canon Law than most others in the Church and he has no problem with the observance of Passover Seders by Catholics. In fact the present Pope when a Cardinal called for Europeans to hold Passover Seders as a family festival. One should not confuse evangelisation with proselytisation. The AHC does not believe in proselytising Jews nor does it promote active evangelisation targeted at Jews. This is not is mission. Its mission is to gather those Jews already in the Church to live out their vocation and calling in the Church.

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