Earlier this month, the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Jews issued a solemn renunciation: “the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific mission work directed towards Jews.”
I have no idea how world Jewish leaders, both religious and lay reacted to this statement, basically telling us that the Catholic Church no longer has conversion of Jews on their agenda, nor do I care. There is one rabbi however, of a Traditional Congregation in Dallas Texas, who is indignant. And that’s putting it mildly.
Have they no sense of shame or embarrassment to advertise “We are no longer in the Conversion Business” as far as actively seeking out Jews? Do they not realize how repugnant they present themselves? Perhaps it’s time to analyze how they got into the “business” in the first place:
Insecurity. If one is totally secure in one’s belief, if one is convinced that his belief system is the best in the world, then why seek validation from someone with a different belief? If your belief works for you, gezunterheit! Believe in it with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might (sorry about that, my Judaism keeps creeping in). But please leave my heart, my soul, my being out of it.
Have you ever been to a restaurant where someone orders, let’s say kishke. While eating the kishke, this person is carrying on with how fabulous the kishke is, to the point that he’s beginning to turn your kishkes. Wait, it gets worse! Now the kishke eater is insisting that you have to taste some of the kishke as well! The kishke eater just won’t take “no” for an answer. Now, it just so happens, that you detest kishke. Where I come from, there is one word to describe the kishke eater: OBNOXIOUS.
Is it any different with the Catholic Church shoving the Trinity and all else that goes along with it down the throats of Jews over the centuries? And now, the kishke eater issues a proclamation that he is no longer going to be obnoxious. Sorry, but if you are like me, then you’ve become fed up long ago.
Slate, an online magazine was so amused by what came out of the Vatican, that they ran a headline “Jews Can Go to Heaven”. Slate may be onto something. The Catholic Church, with its age old sanctimonious attitude that they are the sole arbiters of which souls can enter heaven, has suddenly proclaimed Jew Day. How very patronizing! I don’t know about you, but I’m not aware of any Jew fearing being turned away from heaven by some celestial Catholic bouncer.
It’s bad enough that over the centuries, Catholics with the imprimatur of their church, behaved in such ungodly ways. If the Church can’t bring itself to apologize for its leaders and followers forcibly converting Jews or murdering those Jews who refused to be converted, fine! If they want to act as though it never happened, I promise that I won’t throw it up to them. But to tell us that we Jews can now get into heaven…
A modicum of seichel and good taste would have had the Vatican look ahead and not back. If their conscience is truly troubling them, then there’s countless religious volumes as well as other religious artifacts that belong to us that has “mysteriously” found its way into the Vatican. Returning these holy books and items to their rightful owner (even Jesus saw theft as being reprehensible) would be far more meaningful than telling us that they are no longer in the Conversion business, forced or otherwise.