CATHOLICISM REVIEWED AND CORRECTED BY THE SYNAGOGUE
TOWARDS THE NOACHIDE RELIGION
By Arnaud de Lassus
(This article first appeared in issue 179, June 2005) of Action Familiale et Scolaire(1). Translated by ASF & MT, it appeared in Apropos No. 25, The Holy Innocents, 2006. It is posted on the Apropos website, www.apropos.org.co.uk )
Introduction: A new doctrine regarding the Jewish Religion.
1. Summary of the traditional Catholic position regarding the Jewish people and the Jewish Religion:
The three phases of the true religion;
The Old Covenant and the election of the Jewish people;
The replacement of the Old Covenant by the New;
The acceptance of the New Covenant by Israel;
The supreme consecration of the new Covenant – Holy Simeon;
The rejection of the New Covenant by the Synagogue;
The conversion of the Jews according to Scripture;
11. Jewish conceptions of what Christians ought to believe and do:
Outlines of Jewish conceptions;
The Old Covenant has never been revoked;
The obligatory character of the Noachide laws and religion for Gentiles;
Consequences of the acceptance of the Noachide laws
111. How does the passage from the traditional Catholic conception to the Jewish conception take place?:
Principle stages of the process: dates, facts, documents;
What seems to have been attained;
What remains to be attained;
Appendix 1 The current organisation of the Noachide religion
At the approach of the 40th anniversary of the Conciliar declaration, Nostrae aetate (2), on the relations between the Church and non-Christian religions, the new doctrine on the Jewish Religion, present for over 40 years in numerous texts of the Catholic hierarchy, was undoubtedly made manifest. One of the most characteristic of these texts was the article by Mgr. Francis Deniau, Bishop of Nevers, President of the Episcopal Committee for Relations with Judaism, which appeared in issue 290 (September 2004) of the review Sens, under the title ‘Open questions regarding series of programmes broadcast by Arte’ here is a passage from same:
Today the Church has repudiated all ‘theology of substitution’ (3) and recognises the current election of the Jewish people, ‘the people of God of the Old Covenant which has never been revoked’ as Pope John Paul II stated to the Jewish community at Mayence on 17th November 1980.
This requires a complete re-reading of Tradition, a task of interpretation, a fresh look at the two Covenants. It is this direction in particular that John Paul II pointed us.
The ‘theology of substitution’ which has caused much harm is no longer the thinking of the Catholic Church today. The recognition of the current significance of Israel’s fidelity is the path to which the Church is committed, discovering there a deeper understanding of itself, of the meaning of the Good News of Christ and of hope for the world.
To commit oneself to a ‘re-reading of Tradition’, to reinterpret the two Covenants, to admit that yesterday’s theology (regarding the Jewish people) will no longer apply today – is a vast operation. The Holy See seems to be committed to travel slowly in this new direction, under pressure from the Jewish authorities whose action in this regard has been unrelenting since 1945. We will tackle this important question (4) when we consider the following:
A reminder of the traditional Catholic position on the Jewish people and the Jewish religions: the teaching of Scripture, historical data, the attitude which has developed from same.
Jewish conceptions of what Christians should believe and do.
How does the transition from a Catholic conception to a Jewish conception take place?
1. A reminder of the traditional Catholic position on the Jewish people and the Jewish Religions. (5)
The three phases of the true religion.
Since Noah, the true religion has passed through three phases:
The religion of the Patriarchs with the primitive priesthood;
The religion instituted by Moses with the priesthood of Aaron;
The religion instituted by Our Lord with the Catholic priesthood.
These are symbolised in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The man fallen at the hands of robbers (which represent Satan and the fallen angels) is the image of fallen and powerless humanity:
A priest appeared and saw him. This is the primitive priesthood, that of the Patriarchs: a holy priesthood assuredly, but one not sufficient to raise our fallen race, because although it possesses the faith and transmits, with the substance of true religion, the principle of salvation, it has neither the mission nor the virtue to bring the work to its end.
Thus we arrive at the priesthood of Aaron, signified by the Levite who presents himself after the priest and like him meets the unfortunate victim. This Mosaic institution is divine; it contains the deposit of truth and life; but, as St Paul teaches so forcefully in his beautiful epistle to the Romans, it addresses the malady without the power to remedy it; it announces, it is true, the doctor who will afford a cure for all; it announces Him and prepares the way for Him; but it gives nothing itself; salutary though it is, it remains decidedly insufficient. The Levite thus passes by like the priest and the victim remains lying there. (6)
The third person of the parable: the Samaritan who represents Christ, the only One Who may effectively cure the man’s wounds by bathing them in oil and wine and taking him to the Inn (a symbol for the Church).
The Religion of the Patriarchs, Mosaic Judaism and Catholicism thus constitute the three phases of the same religion as far as the faith is concerned:
(…) because the New Covenant in general tends to present Israel’s faith (7) as having always been an implicit faith in Jesus Christ. To refuse to believe in Christ Jesus when He has already come, implies by consequence an objective denial of the content of the faith of the Old Covenant. (8)
But what has passed has passed:
Mosaic Judaism is no more than a relic, admittedly rich, wise and bearing a great inheritance but a relic nevertheless. A relic of a religion which, but for an act of interior adoration of a sincere heart, has no longer any object. Its object was to await the Messiah. He has come. From henceforth the cult of the True God may only be found in that due to the Holy Trinity and to the envoy of God, His Son Jesus Christ, by the Church which He Himself has instituted and which He has vivified by the Holy Ghost, dispenser of Divine Graces. (9)
The Old Covenant and the Election of the Jewish People
Because of the Covenant – called the Old Covenant – concluded between God and the Jewish people, they have the quality of an elected people (an elect) to whom a mission has been confided: that of preparing for the coming of Christ.
As soon as the mission is accomplished, the Jewish people no longer benefit either from the prolongation of a particular mission, nor from an exclusive election, nor from a covenant reserved to it alone:
The Jewish people were the elect for two millennia by virtue of a mission which they had to accomplish. But this election was provisional in the sense that they were called not to keep it jealously, as an exclusive privilege, but to share it among all peoples. This is the essence itself of the hidden mystery which Paul announces to the Ephesians. The nations are henceforth called by the same title as the Jews. This is what certain Jews had understood and greeted with joy such as those who had followed Jesus. Others rejected it. The eldest did not wish to share with the prodigal.
The good news of the New Covenant is, as St Paul says, ‘That there is no more neither Jew, nor Greek, but you are all one in Jesus Christ’. And it must be said that if the election of a particular people was something other than a provisional economy by virtue of a universal call through which all peoples are invited, if it were coextensive with all history, it would be intolerable. All humanity was originally called by God: these are the peoples that are today gathered in the Church. It is therefore wrong to continue to speak about a particular election of the Jewish people. To do so would be the best way of resurrecting anti-Semitism. (10)
The role of the elected people is henceforth attributed to the Church and her alone:
The cult of the temple is abolished forever, a blatant sign of the change in the relationship between God and the people He had formerly chosen. Just as the election of Israel made by God on account of the coming of the Messiah has passed to the Church, so too has the priesthood. (11)
And by this fact, the new Israel is the Church:
After the coming of the Messiah, the very nature of the people of God transformed itself. Jesus instituted the new people of God, drawn from the old, but with the addition of the pagans who will be grafted onto the old Israel. The new Israel, is the Church, and the unfaithful Israel is not part of it. (12)
God’s promise to the first chosen people had been of the temporal order: a country where they could live with the assurance of prosperity and independence: but it was only the figure of the true promise which was of another order: the spiritual liberation of humanity. This promise was accomplished in Christ and the people of God became a spiritual and universal reality. (13)
The replacement of the Old Covenant by the New
This is clearly attested to by St Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews:
But now he (our high priest) hath obtained a better ministry, by how much also he is a mediator of a better testament which is established or better promises.
For, if that former had been faultless, there should not indeed a place have been sought for a second.
For, finding fault with them, he saith; ‘Behold, the days shall come, saith the Lord; and I will perfect, unto the house of Israel and unto the house of Juda, a new testament; not according to the testament which I made to their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my testament; and I regarded them not, saith the Lord’.
(…) Now in saying a new, he hath made the former old; and that which decayeth and groweth old is near its end. (14)
From the commentary by Dom Paul Delatte on this passage (15) we have extracted the following conclusion:
A short conclusion will suffice: in calling the Christian covenant new, the prophet (Jeremiah) has only been able to do so on condition that the preceding Covenant is excluded as old and outdated, and that Christianity abrogates to the great advantage of humanity. Indeed, an institution, denounced more than six centuries ago as precarious and old, is in the condition of decrepit things which can only disappear and vanish; and if we do not speak badly of it, it is to accord with the expression of St Augustine, to bury the Synagogue with honour. (16)
In her book, Jalons pour une théologie chrétienne d’Israël (Milestones for a Christian theology of Israel), Denise Judant explains how this substitution of New Israel (the Church composed of Jews, Christians and Pagans who have become Christians) for the Old Israel (the Jewish people) must be understood. She quotes St Peter’s first epistle:
To you therefore that believe he is honour, but to them that believe not, the stone which the builders rejected, the same is made the head of the corner [cornerstone]; 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.
But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people; that you may declare his virtues, who both called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; who in time past were not a people; but are now the people of God. (I Peter 2:7-10)
And here is her commentary:
The ‘incredulous’ Jews have therefore been stripped of their former prerogatives. (…) The ‘incredulous’ Jews (who had been called to build the Kingdom of God) have been rejected; With the pagans who have become Christians, the ‘believing’ Jews (Christians), now form ‘a people of God’. Also, they have the rights to the very expressions which characterise the elected people of the Old Testament. (Exodus 19:5ss)
Perhaps we have not sufficiently taken account of the importance of the image of the cornerstone for the nascent Christian theology. We have found it used by Paul, Peter and John. Of course Christ is the cornerstone, the foundation of the building – the part which ‘holds’ it up. But why do we have this image of the cornerstone? Because it unites the two different walls, in this case the Jews and the Pagans. Such is the thinking of Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians, and it is fundamental. The building which has Christ as its foundation, the Church, comprises both Jews and Pagans by its very definition. The Church replaces the Jewish people as ‘people of God’, as partners in the Covenant, it is true, but this Church is formed of Jews and Pagans. (17)
The substitution of one Covenant for another corresponds to the replacement of the cult of the Temple by a new cult.
The destruction of the Temple was to occur and mark in a visible manner of some type the passage from one economy to the other. If the sacrifice of Christ alone is valid before God, it is the same with the priesthood. In addition ‘He (Christ) taketh away the first that he may establish that which followeth (Hebrews 10:9) (18)
The Acceptance of the New Covenant by Israel
Israel (understood in the physical sense – the descendants of Jacob) has accepted the New Covenant through its most eminent representatives: the elderly Simeon (whom we will discuss below), the prophetess Anna, St John the Baptist, the Virgin Mary, St Joseph, the Apostles, the disciples – but the most eminent of these in both time and perfection is undoubtedly the Virgin Mary:
What we learn from the New Testament is that the coming of the Messiah divided Israel into two parts: one which recognised the Messiah and accepted to follow his teaching, and another – the majority of the Jewish people who rejected him. It is therefore false to state that all of Israel rejected the Messiah.
On the contrary, and on this point we do not seem to have been sufficiently enlightened, the fiat of the Blessed Virgin is the acceptance of Israel. In Mary, daughter of Israel, the people of God arrived by grace at the summit of human perfection, and said ‘Yes’. (19)
Every Jew is called to this New Covenant
Every Jew is therefore called to this covenant, to this salvation and in a very particular manner, different from the manner in which a Gentile is called, since he is called not only as an individual, but also by virtue of his national quality, because it was to his nation that the first part of the revelation was specifically addressed. (20)
‘The gifts and calling of God are without repentance’
The replacement for the Jews of the Old Covenant by the infinitely superior New Covenant does not contradict the scriptural formula, ‘For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.’ And it is wrong that this formula is used by those who wish at all costs to keep the Old Covenant running in parallel with the New Covenant and who attribute a salvific character to it.
To a gift of God without repentance their must be a corresponding response. It has not been established that this must be on the part of Israel. It is always possible, always expected from God. Here is the commentary on this point by Denise Judant:
It is an out and out misrepresentation to compare, as some do, a so-called fidelity of the Jews to a so-called infidelity of Christians; for Paul it is the Jews who are unfaithful. But God remains faithful. If the Jews have been ‘elected’ through the Patriarchs, it was not to remain a separated people, since on the contrary the Covenant was from its very origin open to a universalist perspective; they have been elected in view of Christ and of the election of grace. Out of the Covenant, the Jews remain called to return there: such is the interpretation of ‘Romans II:28-29’ (20) There is a unanimous consensus on this point in the Patristic tradition. It is true that this interpretation prevents us thinking that the Jewish people as such remain called to a particular destiny. But it appears to us the only one conforming to St Paul’s view. (23)
The supreme consecration of the Old Covenant – the elder Simeon
The fourth joyful mystery of the Rosary makes us meditate upon this point:
Simeon, who the Spirit of God guided to the Temple to meet the God-Child, is the living figure and personal representation of the Old Law, or rather of all that holy antiquity of which the life of the Patriarchs is an introduction. He is the last offshoot of this tree, 40 centuries old of which Adam is the root; he is its pinnacle and crowning glory; he contains its sap; he is the sign and the fruit of its maturity. It is necessary that all this great movement of natural and supernatural life, of social and religious life which, dating from the creation, had taken its course in the earthly paradise, had arrived at the term assigned it by Divine Wisdom. All must reach out to Christ, embrace Him, incorporate themselves in Him so as to be bound through Him to God. All things have been directed towards the promised Messiah, all that, on earth, had really progressed, was directed towards Him. From the time he appeared in the world, the ‘encounter’ must have taken place and the meeting occurred. But this was true above all of that head of humanity which constituted the elected people, the family of Abraham, the Jewish nation constituted ‘Finis legis Christus: ‘The end of the law is Christ’; (24) its end, in this sense that it was the aim, the success, the consummation, its end also in the sense that it went to abolish the passing form, to make flower and to fructify, in a new climate and under a much more perfect form, this substance of divine light and life which was the basis and which God Himself had laid down. It followed that Jesus, in the arms of Holy Simeon is the union of the two Covenants; and if not yet the passage of the Old to the New, at least the supreme consecration of the Old. All the promises were accomplished, all the guarantees complete; the law and the prophets gave witness to Christ, and the Christ, on his part, gives witness to the law and to the prophets. It is obvious from now on that there is only one religion. It has different phases and shows itself successively in different conditions; but it remains unique, always true, always holy, always glorious to God and salvific for men. It has only one end which is the adorable Trinity, and a single foundation which is the Christ, the Word of God incarnate. All is made clear, all is in order, all is in place; the past is indissolubly bound to the future; antiquity has had its say and done its work; the modern epoch is going to begin; thus sings the Latin poet, it is here that ‘the great era of the centuries has dawned’. (25) One understands from henceforth that this ‘encounter’ is of capital importance. (26)
The rejection of the New Covenant by the Synagogue
The Synagogue (27) rejected the New Covenant and remained attached to the Old which had become obsolete. It set itself to fight the Church and will not cease to do so until the Antichrist. This was prefigured in Scripture in numerous passages (Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob) (28) and in particular in the celebrated judgement of Solomon, the significance of which is as follows:
One of the two women who appealed to his justice, having smothered her child while sleeping envied her rival whose son is living. She figures the Synagogue which has smothered faith in Jesus in the people of Israel and wishes to prevent the Church from bringing souls to the resurrection of Christ through baptism and penance. (29)
The conversion of the Jews according to Scripture
After having indicated the true interpretation of the passage of Chapter II of the Epistle to the Romans, ‘The gifts and the calling of God are without repentance’ (Romans., II, 29.) Denise Judant adds:
Is this to say that Chapter II of the Epistle to the Romans does not open any perspective on the destiny of ‘Israel according to the flesh’? This interpretation would be as inexact as that which determines that destiny with certainty. Paul fervently ‘hopes’, but without certainty, that Jews will convert and that they will be as numerous as possible.
In summary, he affirms neither that the Jews will be converted en masse, nor that this event will take place at the end of the world. All that St Paul said is that the salvation of the Jews and the Pagans is a mystery, a mystery bound to that of Christ Himself. If the Jews of the Old Testament believed themselves to be the sole beneficiaries of ‘election’ without admitting the Pagans, the latter allowed now in the Covenant, must be careful not to think that it is reserved for them: the Jews remained called to enter it and called in very particular manner, by virtue of their primitive election which remains in this sense, but in this sense only.
This conception of the future of the Jews appears to us to be more in keeping with the Pauline text and to the whole of the New Testament. According to Luke, disciple of Paul, there is a distinction at the very interior of the Jewish people, between the Christian Jews and others. For Luke, the incredulous Jewish people is now among the ranks of nations. Luke’s opinion allows us to understand better that of his master, Paul.
The mystery of the concurrent call of the Jews and the Pagans appears to us moreover to come out from the reconciliation between the epistle of St Paul to the Romans (I:30-31) with the first epistle of St Peter (2, 10)(…)
Peter shows that the Pagans enter ‘now’ in the Covenant, thanks to the mercy of God towards them. He only speaks of the ‘incredulity’ of the Jews. As for Paul, he cannot give up seeing his ‘brothers’ outside this mercy, and he hopes, that they will attain it themselves too, not much later, but immediately. (…) The people of God is the collection of those who God in His mercy, gathers into His Covenant, and does so for the whole period of history until the Parousia. 30) And it is by its fraction which became Christians that the Jewish people continue to belong to the people of God, from the time of St Paul until the end of the times. (31)
The Covenant proposed by God to men has had two successive forms called the Old and the New. Between the two forms, one notes, at the same time, a continuity on certain points and a rupture in others:
The Old Covenant with the Jewish people was a temporary covenant having as its purpose the coming
of the Messiah;
As soon as the Messiah came, the Old Covenant disappeared, replaced by the New. The Old existed
no more as it was no longer able to fulfil a salvific role;
The Jewish people as such no longer have a particular salvific mission, or covenant with God which
was reserved for them: ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor freeman,
there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’ (32)
The Church is the new Israel;
The Synagogue, rejecting the New Covenant, has remained attached to the Old which became
obsolete. Since the time of Our Lord, it has never ceased to oppose itself to the Church;
By the fact of their original election, the Jews are called in a very particular manner, to enter into the
End of Part One. Part Two will follow.
 Action Familiale et Scolaire, http://afs.e-catho.com Promulgated on
 We know that, according to traditional doctrine, the Old Covenant has been replaced by the New. This doctrinal point is often called ‘the theology of substitution’ by those who oppose it.
 This subject has already been addressed in brochures and articles in Action Familiale et Scolaire (AFS) : The Mystery of Israel and the attempt to judaise Catholicism' (1986), by Daniel Granville; The Old and the New Covenants, AFS No. 138, Oct 1997; Reflections on an act of Repentance, AFS No. 134, Dec. 1997; Are there two true religions, Today? AFS No. 166, April 2003.
 Mgr. Gay , Élévations sur la vie et la doctrine de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ (Reflections on the life and doctrine of Our Lord Jesus Christ’(31st reflection).
 Let us remember that Israel (in the physical sense used here) signifies the descendance from Jacob, otherwise called the Jewish people.
 Ansgar Santogrossi, L’Évangile prêche à l’Israël, p. 8
 J.D. Granville, op. cit., p.29.
 Denise Judant, Judaïsme et Christianisme, p.104. On attempts to reconstruct the temple at
see the article, ‘L’avenir
de ’ in AFS No. 153. Jerusalem
 Denise Judant, Les deux Israël, p.89
 Ibid., p.110. When one describes the Church by the expression ‘New Israel’ one uses the word
spiritual and not in a physical sense. Israel
, Hebrews 8:6-13. Our emphasis. The text in italics is a
quotation from the prophet Jeremiah 31: 31-34 (CTS Douay version). St
 In his book ‘The Epistles of
replaced in the historical milieu by the Acts of the Apostles’. St Paul
 Denise Judant, Jalons pour une théologie chrétienne d’Israël, p.51
 Denise Judant, Jalons pour une théologie chrétienne d’Israël, p.64
 Denise Judant, Les deux Israels, p.76
22] cf. Denise Judant, Judaïsme et Christianisme, p.263-271.
 Denise Judant, Jalons pour une théologie chrétienne d’Israël,p.83
 Romans 10:4, ‘For the end of the law is Christ; unto justice to everyone that believeth.’
 ‘Magnus…saeclorum nascitur ordo’. Virgil, Eglog. IV. Mgr. Gay, Élévations sur la vie et la doctrine de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, 20th reflection.
 The Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Judaism gives the following definition for the word ‘synagogue’: ‘The central religious institution of Judaism; the place intended for public prayer and other religious and community activities’. We have taken the word in its first sense: ‘The central religious institution of Judaism’ otherwise known as organised Judaism (The expression ‘organised Judaism’ is used by G,M, Riegner in his book ‘Ne jamais désespérer [Never be driven to despair] which we will discuss below [See footnote 33 and the quotation from G.M. Riegner p.28).
 On this subject see the book by Fr Julio Meinville, Les juifs dans le mystère de l’histoire, in particular p. 17-21 (Published by Editions Sainte Jeanne d’Arc,
Villegnon). [Note David Klinghoffer’s
inversion of the prefiguration of Esau
and Jacob, stating as he does that the Church is prefigured by Esau rather than
Jacob. Ed. Apropos.] Les
 Commentary in the Missal of Dom. Lefebvre (1940) for the Monday of the 4th week of Lent.
 The second coming of Christ – the glorious coming. Denise Judant, ‘Jalons pour une théologie chrétienne d’Israël, p.83-84.
 Gal. 3:28