Were Catholics involved in the expanded Bible

Tuesday November 19, 1996

Jews and Judaism in the New Catechism of the Catholic Church

- An interjection -

Extended documentation


I. Foreword 5

II. Documentation Jews and Judaism in the New Catechism of the Catholic Church - An Interjection 6

III. Opinions
Eugene Fisher Not playing off Jewish tradition and New Testament against each other 13

James L. Heft A joint challenge through the secular world 23

Alan Mittleman Dialectical Yes and No to Israel 30

Michael Signer Positive comments from the Popes not taken into account 32

I. Foreword

"When the Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks directly to Judaism, it must be recognized that it does not fall short of the statements of the Council about the Jews and about the relationship of the Church to Judaism ... On other important points it falls short of expectations back that must be asked of him today. " The "Jews and Christians" discussion group issued this testimony to the 1992 World Catechism for its representation of Jews and Judaism. The "interjection" on the catechism, published on January 29, 1996, met with a strong response from two Jewish and two Catholic scholars from the United States who responded to our invitation. Despite fundamental agreement with their dialogue partners in Germany, the American authors set different accents, they enrich and correct our "interjection". Above all, we are grateful to them that they put the evaluation of the Roman document into the larger context: What is the situation in Rome, in the United States and in Germany with the further development of Christian-Jewish relations and their theological deepening thirty years after the groundbreaking one Council declaration "Nostra aetate"?

We thank our American dialogue partners and the translator Johanna Schmid from Augsburg.

Prof. Dr. Hanspeter Heinz, Augsburg Chairman of the discussion group

II. Documentation

Jews and Judaism in the New Catechism of the Catholic Church

- An interjection -

In 1992 the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" (KKK) was published. The discussion group "Jews and Christians" at the Central Committee of German Catholics looked through the catechism from the point of view of the extent to which the efforts for a new view of Judaism were reflected here.

The KKK is part of a centuries-old catechism tradition of the Church. In the catechisms, Christians have always found a brief summary of Christian doctrine for their time. In catechisms, priests and lay people have formed their basic understanding of Christian life. In the community, school and family, catechisms were of great pastoral importance.

We see today that the treatment of Israel and Judaism in many of the catechisms that appeared before the Second Vatican Council was inadequate. The catechisms had anti-Jewish tendencies, made unjustified accusations against Jews, distorted the Jewish teaching tradition and Jewish life in the Bible and did not recognize the independence of post-biblical Judaism. They formed an important pillar of the Christian contempt for Judaism, which has had such fatal consequences.

In the declaration "Nostra aetate" of the Second Vatican Council of October 28, 1965, the church redefined its relationship to Judaism. She remembered that she was spiritually connected to Judaism. Since then, the church has been on the way to better understanding Judaism and to redefining its own relationship to Judaism. Important steps on this path since then have been the "Guidelines and Instructions for the Implementation of the Council Declaration 'Nostra aetate', Article 4", which were published on December 1, 1974 by the Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism. The "Instructions for a correct representation of Jews and Judaism in the sermon and in the catechesis of the Catholic Church", which were published by the same Vatican commission on April 26, 1985, go in the same direction. Pope John Paul II has re-valued Judaism in many speeches and on the occasion of visits to Jewish communities on his pastoral trips.

The new "Catechism of the Catholic Church" may differ from its predecessors in content and form, in intention and target group. But he, too, wants to be a "reliable norm for the teaching of the faith" and, in addition, a "reliable authentic reference text for the exposition of Catholic doctrine and in a special way for the formation of local catechisms" (John Paul II in the introductory Apostolic Constitution). Therefore its importance for the Church of the present should not be underestimated. In the current discussion about the KKK, positive aspects, but also weaknesses, were pointed out. We too have to present a differentiated statement on our topic.

If the KKK speaks directly about Judaism, it must be recognized that the KKK does not fall behind the statements of the Council about the Jews and about the relationship of the Church to Judaism. It is clearly stated that Jesus was a Jew and positively valued the Torah (423, 577). The Pharisees and their relationship to them are presented in a differentiated manner (579, 595). In the section "The Relationship of the Church to the Jewish People" (839) the KKK expressly quotes the Council and mentions the irrevocability of the election of Israel (121, 839). Above all, it is clearly stated that the Jews are not collectively responsible for the death of Jesus (597). Occasionally the importance of today's Jewish life for a better understanding of the Christian liturgy is even pointed out (1096). - These and other statements are a hopeful sign of the seriousness with which the church wants to renew its relationship to Judaism.

In other important points, however, the KKK falls short of the expectations that must be placed on it today. There is no adequate positive portrayal of Judaism as the elder sister of Christianity. There is no mention of love for God and neighbor as the center of Jewish existence, of the appreciation of the Torah, of the sanctification of the divine name, and of the sanctification of everyday life, even in post-biblical Judaism. Furthermore, the KKK lacks an effort to show what is Jewish in Christianity; but when reference is made to the Jewish in Christianity, it happens in such a way that the Jewish loses its intrinsic value or becomes a preliminary stage of Christianity. The words of Pope John Paul II during a visit to the great synagogue in Rome on April 13th, 1986 seem to have been forgotten: "For us, the Jewish religion is not something external, but in a certain way belongs to the interior of our religion. We are therefore part of it Relationships like no other religion. "

The living connection between Church and Judaism could have been shown in all four parts of the KKK (creed, mysteries, ethics, prayer). It is true that the central statements of all four parts are developed from the "Old Testament", the Jewish Bible, as an indispensable basis for Christian faith and life, although the details are very different. But these statements are not presented, insofar as and where they are, as joint statements of faith by Jews and Christians. To name just a few examples, there is no reference to the fact that faith in the one God (200), who is gracious and merciful (210, 211), is also the faith of today's Judaism, in the sections on the doctrine of God. as is exemplary done in the Catholic Adult Catechism of 1985 published by the German Bishops' Conference (63, 75). One looks in vain for a correspondingly clear indication in the statements about the Decalogue and the commandment of love (2055). The relationship between the Our Father (2765) and the Eucharist on the one hand and today's Jewish prayers and celebrations on the other hand is hardly indicated.

The KKK obviously finds it difficult to recognize post-Biblical Judaism as an independent salvation-historical entity alongside the Church and especially as the people of the covenant that God has never denied. This becomes apparent less where he expressly speaks of Judaism than in the passages where he speaks of the Church as if Judaism did not exist, although it was required from the point of view of the matter.

When the KKK discusses the relationship between Israel / Judaism on the one hand and the Church on the other, its language often becomes oscillating and its theology contradicting itself. There are passages that come close to the view rejected by the council, according to which the church, the "new", true people of God, has taken the place of the "old" people of God (674, 761-763). It is true that the New Testament emphasizes that Israel's calling is irrevocable (839), but in other passages the impression arises that the covenant with Israel has been broken and replaced by the new, eternal covenant of God in the church (762). The way in which the coming of the glorified Messiah is made dependent on Jesus being recognized by all of Israel, over whom "hardening" lies (Rom the absence of the end times imposed (674).

In three areas in particular, the KKK does not succeed in comprehensively realizing the church's will for renewal. There are deficits here that were also found in earlier catechisms:

1. The relationship between the two testaments of the one Christian Bible appears in an indistinct twilight. On the one hand, the revelatory value of the "Old Testament" is affirmed several times (121-123, 129). On the other hand, it is always put into perspective. This is mainly due to the fact that the Old Testament, with the help of the "typological" method of interpretation, contrary to the affirmation of its intrinsic value (121) predominantly appears as an imperfect preliminary form ("Typos"), which only finds its perfection in the New Testament. According to this "typology", what God says in the Old Testament is entirely oriented towards the New Testament and is only here given its finality (140). This can be seen, for example, in the way in which some important topics are presented, which are briefly listed here: The prophetic promises of love have been fulfilled in the new and eternal covenant (2787); the execution of Jesus heralds the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem (586); the wording of the old Jewish law is "disciplinarian" (Gal 3:24) to bring Israel to Christ (708); the law is the preparation for the gospel; it provides the New Testament with "types" to illustrate the new life according to the Spirit (1964); Jewish exile is in the shadow of the cross, and the "holy remnant" that returns from exile is an image of the Church (710). Theological reflection is lacking in the words of Augustine 'The New Testament is veiled in the old, the old revealed in the new' (129, 2763). - This type of typology must necessarily lead to the Hebrew Bible appearing as an imperfect preliminary form to the New Testament. The typology holds the two wills together in the KKK. There is thus the danger that the history of biblical Israel and the memory of this history that is constitutive in Judaism will be dissolved. That is why the typology as used here can be a milder form of the disinheritance of Israel, to which the church has long since taken leave in other pronouncements.

2. Church anti-Judaism, which has its roots in the separation of the early Church from Judaism and the resulting anti-Jewish polemics in the New Testament and which was widely spread in the Church through some of the predecessors of the KKK, is not addressed. Such an omission is difficult to understand today. A catechism after the Shoah should have pointed to the history of guilt in the earlier catechisms, named its effects and drawn the necessary conclusions from it.

3. The KKK misses the chance to present the renewed relationship between Jews and Christians as a sign of hope in the midst of a seemingly unredeemed world and as a challenge to work separately and together for the coming of the kingdom of God.

In summary, the declaration of our discussion group from 1988 "After 50 years - how do we talk about guilt, suffering and reconciliation?" Be reminded: "There can only be healing of our wounds if too many steps can follow one another in the first steps, with one another in the process of grief work and reconciliation and thus also reconciled in the future. Healing can only occur when we work together Waiting for the kingdom of God, working for it and thus 'serving the Lord shoulder to shoulder' (Zef 3,9). "

III. Opinions

Eugene J. Fisher
Do not play off Jewish tradition and the New Testament against each other

First I would like to confirm the importance of the statement made by the discussion group that the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" does not fall behind the statements of Vatican II. The catechism is a document that could not have been drawn up before the council. Its purpose is not to develop Catholic-Jewish relations (or any other theological area), but rather to deepen the teaching of the council. With this goal perspective he refers to teaching documents of the church, e.g. to the two documents of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism from 1974 and 1985, which are quoted in the "interjection", also to statements of Pope John Paul II represents the framework within which the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" must be interpreted and understood.

In this context one must admit that the new catechism not only spends a few lines in order to expose the traditional misinterpretation of the collective guilt of the Jews for the death of Jesus, but also a catechetical appreciation of article 4 of the creed "suffered under Pontius Pilate crucified, died ... "extensively developed. Numbers 574-598 provide a detailed account of why the catechist cannot collectively find "the Jews" guilty of the death of Jesus. The thesis of the collective guilt of the Jews reached its climax in the Roman catechism; this became known from Jules Isaac's work on the "Doctrine of Contempt" - now a classic. Theologically speaking, all sinners are "authors and executors of all punishments (...) which Christ suffered", especially we Christians who sin, although we know that it is so (598). The misinterpretation of collective guilt was correctly identified by Prof. Isaac and "Nostra Aetate" as the centerpiece of the centuries-old hateful polemics against Judaism. It is refuted and rejected in detail here.

Furthermore, several points of criticism of the discussion group on the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" are grouped around the application of a typological understanding of Scripture and a theology of the fulfillment of the Hebrew Bible in the New Testament. The criticism of the "interjection" hits the nail on the head, namely that here an opportunity was missed to take flight forward in a complex of theological difficulties, which in the "Notes" of the Apostolic See of 1985 very fittingly "is a sign that that the problem is not solved "were mentioned. But if the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" does not solve the problem, I do not think it should be seen as an obstacle in the creative path of so many leading Christian and Jewish theologians who have studied it. Typology and the doctrine of fulfillment in themselves are not the problem. Typology exists in the Jewish tradition and even in the Hebrew Bible, and fulfillment is a necessary theological proposition of the New Testament and Christian liturgy.

In my opinion, the problem actually consists in the fear that an understanding of the Hebrew Bible based on typology or fulfillment will inevitably exclude other modes of interpretation, such as the historical-critical, the rabbinical or even the mystical. The "Catechism of the Catholic Church" expresses clearly in the sense of the "Notes" of 1985 and in the sense of "Dei Verbum" that it does not do exactly that. The validity of this principle is not canceled by the fact that the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" does not give it a concrete form in its use of the scriptures. We Christians can and must learn, according to the words of the "Notes" from 1985, "to take in the traditions of Jewish reading (and their current understanding of the Bible, E.F.) in a differentiated and profitable manner". In my opinion it would be a mistake to read the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" to the effect that it closes a door on this crucial point of the dialogue and prevents the integration of the results of the dialogue into Catholic education and training.

I would therefore critically question some of the formulations of the "interjection", e.g. the accusation that the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" sees biblical Judaism as models for the events of the New Testament and "that the Jewish element loses its intrinsic value or becomes a preliminary stage of Christianity" . Or elsewhere: "This type of typology must necessarily lead to the Hebrew Bible appearing as an imperfect preliminary form to the New Testament".This could only happen if the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" were the only available source for practice. But this is not the case. The statements of Pope John Paul II, the Apostolic See and the Bishops' Conferences around the world are and remain official Church teaching. The "Catechism of the Catholic Church" does not intend to replace the normative teaching of the Church, but rather to deepen it and adapt it to different cultural situations. Understanding the new catechism as a kind of Codex Iuris Canonici of Catholic teaching or even as a modern Summa Theologica does not do it justice.

I would like to urge the reader to develop a new understanding of the category of fulfillment that preserves the kerygma of the Gospels without at the same time succumbing to the well-known danger of reducing fulfillment to substitution. According to the discussion group, the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" clearly condemns the substitution theory and honors the irrevocable election of the Jews as God's people. How can this be articulated theologically and taught catechetically? While the catechism does not answer these great questions of our time, it does not obstruct the ongoing efforts of theologians and biblical scholars.

A short example should suffice here. The "interjection" makes two critical references to section 674 of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" and shows that here it "places responsibility on the Jews for the dawn or failure of the end times". Frankly, I found this section particularly puzzling. While the reference to Rom 11: 20-26 initially supports this thesis, it is counteracted by the final reference to Rom 11:12, 25. According to Paul, the responsibility is not blamed on the Jews, but on the Gentiles: "The entry of the 'full number of Jews' into the messianic kingdom following the 'full number of the Gentiles' will give the people of God the possibility of the 'full measure of Christ' to be realized in which 'God will be all in all'. " How you interpret this paragraph depends on your overall understanding of Romans. The catechist will therefore have to face Paul's eschatological riddle.

In conclusion, I would like to recommend to the readers of this opinion the key catechetical principles which I believe derive from the "Catechism of the Catholic Church", fundamental catechetical principles of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" with regard to the presentation of Judaism.

It seems obvious that the catechism wants to break with the most important elements of the "doctrine of contempt" which the Jews saw as a people punished and cursed by God for their alleged collective guilt for the death of Jesus ("murder of God") and the Jewish faith and that too Word of God in the Hebrew Bible (the "old law") constantly vilified. This express intention to break with the polemics of the past is evident in the statements and new formulations throughout the catechism. This actually represents his horizon of understanding:

1. The ecclesiastical understanding of the people of God, the Jews, is expressed grammatically in the present tense, not in the past. "Israel is the priestly people of God, over whom 'the name of the Lord is called' (Deut. 28:10). It is the people of those 'to whom God spoke first', the people of the 'elder brothers' in the faith of Abraham "(63).

2. In whatever way individual persons may have been involved historically: The Jews are not collectively responsible for the death of Jesus (597). That the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" insists on this principle and its numerous effects for the doctrinal presentation of the New Testament is demonstrated by the detailed treatment of the subject under Article 4 of the Creed "suffered under Pontius Pilate, crucified ..." (571- 630) implemented. Under this comprehensive heading, which deliberately rejects the traditional "doctrine of contempt", the catechism addresses the relationship of Jesus to the faith of his people (Israel, Law and Temple: 574-586); I'll come back to that later.

3. God's covenant with the Jews is "irrevocable" (839-840, 2173). The New Covenant has neither repealed nor replaced the "First Covenant" (522). The catechism becomes clear: "The old covenant has never been revoked" (121). This refers to an extraordinary address by Pope John Paul II to representatives of the Jews in Mainz, where he boldly compared the current dialogue between Church and Judaism with the relationship between the Old and New Testaments: "The first dimension of this dialogue, namely the encounter between the people of God of the old covenant never denied by God (cf. Rom I1, 29) and that of the new covenant, is at the same time a dialogue within our church, as it were between the first and second part of her Bible "(November 17, 1980).

4. The Hebrew Bible must be presented "as the true word of God" with its own enduring integrity and dignity. As the Catechism says: "The idea of ​​giving up the Old Testament because the New has made it obsolete (Marcionism) has always been firmly rejected by the Church" (123). Therefore the "unity of God's plan" (140) should be emphasized. This is how the "guidelines" of 1974 presented it: The Hebrew Bible and the Jewish tradition must not be played off against the New Testament, so that the former appear as a religion of retributive justice, of fear and striving for the law, without the ideal of God and Charity (Dtn 6,5; Lev 19,18: Hos 11, Mt 22).

5. While Christians validly see in the Hebrew Bible "pre-forms of what God then accomplished in the fullness of time in the person of his incarnate Word" (128), typology and fulfillment are not the only valid ways of interpreting the Hebrew Bible. "This typological reading brings to light the inexhaustible meaning of the Old Testament. It must not let us forget that it retains its own revelatory value, which our Lord himself has granted it" (129). This paragraph of the catechism reflects Chapter I of the 1985 "Instructions for a Correct Representation of Jews and Judaism in the Preaching and Catechesis of the Catholic Church", which deals extensively with "the relationship between the wills". The "hints" require catechists to "take up the traditions of Jewish reading (in ancient as well as modern times, E.F.) in a differentiated and profitable manner". The task of integrating the results of the dialogue with Judaism into educational work has only just begun in our country. Likewise, the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" follows tradition in differentiating a multiple sense of scripture: the literal (the one raised by historical-critical exegesis) and the spiritual sense (allegorical, moral and anagogical), the last three being based on the first (115-119).

6. The "Catechism of the Catholic Church" emphasizes in two sections (839-840) the essentials about "the relationship of the Church to the Jewish people". The first section reflects "Nostra Aetate", the papal speech in 1986 in the synagogue of Rome and the intercession for the Jewish people from the renewed Good Friday liturgy of the Roman Missal: "By allowing the Church, the people of God in the New Covenant, to enter into its own mystery In depth, she discovers its connection with the Jewish people, 'to whom our Lord God spoke first'. In contrast to the other non-Christian religions, the Jewish faith is already the answer to the revelation of God in the old covenant ". As in the Council document, Romans 9: 4-5 and 11:29 are quoted afterwards. Here the unique relationship becomes clear, which the Council called the lasting "spiritual bond" between Church and Judaism and for which the Pope called the Jews our "older brothers" in the faith - grammatically in the present tense and not as a past occurrence, which itself exhausted in the time of the New Testament (see also 63). The validity not only of the "Old Covenant", but also of the current Jewish faith and its practice as a "believing answer to the revelation of God" is recognized.

7. Those responsible for the preaching must look beyond the past and the present when they speak of "fulfillment" and inculcate their teaching with eschatological urgency. "If one looks to the future, the people of God of the old covenant and the new people of God strive towards similar goals: the arrival (or the second coming) of the Messiah." In the context of a precise knowledge of the differences between Jews and Christians (and also within the two religious communities) with regard to the hope of the Messiah, the fulfillment theology of the catechism can be more liberating and challenging than exclusive and substituting, as can the section of the "Notes" of 1985 says, to which the catechism refers at this point: "Listening attentively to the same God who spoke, hanging on the same word, we have an equal memory and a common hope to witness in Him who is Lord of history So we should exercise our responsibility to prepare the world for the coming of the Messiah by working together for social justice and ... international reconciliation. To this end, the commandment of charity urges us, Jews and Christians, to share a common hope Kingdom of God and the great inheritance of the prophets. " These statements by the Commission of the Holy See represent numerous similar papal statements in recent years.

8. With reference to the address of Pope John Paul II to the Synod of Bishops in Rome (March 6, 1982) and the "Notes" of 1985, the Catechism declares: "A better knowledge of the faith and religious life of the Jewish people like them are still known and lived today, can lead to a better understanding of certain aspects of the Christian liturgy "(1096). The same section goes on to show the Jewish roots of Christian liturgy: the proclamation of the word of God, the answer to this word as prayer of praise and intercession for the living and the dead, the form of the word worship and the divine office, central prayers such as the Lord's Prayer, the great feasts of the Church and the liturgical year itself, especially the Passover, which "both celebrate": "the Jews the historical Passover, which is oriented towards the future; the Christians that which came to fulfillment in the death and resurrection of Christ, if still always Pasha waiting for the final consummation ". Again the eschatological reservation calls (already - not yet) Jews and Christians into a dialogue of mutual reconciliation, mutual expectation and cooperation in order to prepare the world for the kingdom of God, a task which the Jews call "tikkun olam" - renewal of the world . Again: In order that the spiritual wealth of the Jewish liturgical tradition can be tapped into in practice as a source for a deeper understanding not only of Jesus, but also of post-biblical Christian liturgical development, detailed research must be carried out on the Jewish sources and the corresponding religious practice over the centuries to be provided at all levels of Catholic teaching and education.

Dr. Eugene J. Fisher is Deputy Head of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Issues at the American Bishops' Conference and is particularly responsible for Christian-Jewish dialogue.

James L. booklet
Common challenge through the secular world


As a Catholic theologian, I have been heading a Catholic university for seven years, which has been involved in Jewish-Catholic dialogue for twenty years. I am personally involved in this dialogue; I have published some essays on it. My intention here is twofold: first, to think about the "heckling," and second, to do so as an American.

Before I begin, I would like to make some general observations about the publication and reception of the Catechism in the United States. As many know, the catechism was originally written in French, approved by the Pope in June 1992, and then soon translated into Italian and Spanish. After a number of controversies, mainly on the subject of "inclusive language" - a special problem in English-speaking countries as well as in academic circles in general - its official English text was published in autumn 1994.

The opinions of American theologians on earlier drafts of this catechism were often negative. A whole issue (March 3, 1990) of the Jesuit weekly "America" ​​contained essays by five theologians and a bishop. At least two voluminous collections of articles have been published on the "Catechism of the Catholic Church".

When the approved version came out, there was widespread criticism in the press about the lack of inclusive language. Nevertheless, more positive reviews that touched the essentials gradually appeared. Thousands of copies of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" have been sold. Universities held symposia on the subject. In many places, the dioceses organized training courses for religion teachers to familiarize them with the content. Some representatives of the left remained critical; Right-wing officials wanted to use the new catechism as a textbook for religious education in high schools and colleges. In the end, many saw it as it was intended: as a compendium, a reference work for official Catholic teaching.

The "interjection"

I was impressed by the level-headed and differentiated position taken by the discussion group on the subject of how Jews and Judaism are treated in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church". The literature on the subject in the United States covers almost the same points, but with less succinctness than the "interjection". Significantly, there is consensus on the successful points of the presentation in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church": It does not fall behind the statements of Vatican II, speaks clearly of the irrevocability of the covenant between God and the Jews, provides a positive picture of the Jewish identity of Jesus and the Pharisee and categorically rejects the idea of ​​collective guilt of the Jews for the death of Jesus. As far as I can see, there is also general consensus that the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" tries to include the Vatican documents in addition to the doctrinal statements of Vatican II about the Jews

To take up the Commission on Religious Relations with Judaism of 1974 and 1985, but without going beyond them and without resolving some of the remaining difficulties. Dr. Eugene Fisher, head of the Commission for Christian-Jewish Relations of the American Bishops' Conference, published several articles which summarize the reception of the catechism statements about Judaism on the part of the "theological center".

The "interjection" reveals many weaknesses in the treatment of the subject of Judaism in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church", especially insofar as a typological understanding of Scripture can give the impression that Israel has lost its right to exist since the new Israel, the Church, came into being be.

In English we then speak of the theory of "supersessionism" - substitution theory - that is, the doctrine that says that Judaism no longer had any right to exist after the time of Jesus. The critics of the catechism see this substitution theory contained in statements such as: "The New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament" and: "The Church replaces the Jews as God's people".

Undoubtedly, the typological understanding of writing has a downside. The church fathers often used the typology, and historically this actually fueled the "doctrine of contempt", which was then shown in various fires that were really fatal for the Jews throughout the history of Christianity and in the massive conflagration of the Shoah reached its peak. According to the reference of the discussion group, the roots of the theory of substitution can be traced back to the "ecclesiastical anti-Judaism" of the genuine statements of the New Testament, especially the Gospel of John.

The consequences of such a typology could be corrected in part by focusing on the beliefs that unite Christians and Jews: belief in the one God who is gracious and merciful, in one God who forgives his people. Furthermore, a positive image of contemporary Judaism, which recognizes Judaism as a living religious tradition, would help mitigate the negative power of typology. Finally, the well-founded suggestion that the church's special relationship with Judaism is constitutive of its own identity would make it clear that the time of Judaism is not over but continues.

Two final thoughts that came to me while reading. Both relate to the latter of the three shortcomings in the new "Catechism of the Catholic Church". I agree that the Catechism could have had a very positive impact if it had shown that Jews and Christians face a common challenge, especially today, and especially in the Western world.Both meet this challenge within their affluent communities and in relation to an unbelieving public. This was strongly expressed by the Chief Rabbi of England, Dr. Jonathan Sacks, set out. In a speech in London in September 1995 on the first evening of Selichot, the day of penance that precedes the Jewish New Year, Sacks stated that the return to the Promised Land brought about by Zionism was followed by a crisis of faith: "We were a hundred years ago believing but without a country. Today we have a country, but what has happened to our faith? " He continued: "We know why in the 15th century the Jews in Spain left their communities or in the 19th century those in Germany and Russia left their homeland. They feared for their lives. Today Jews are free, recognized and successful; beyond that." we have a home. Possibly the greatest danger to the survival of the Jewish people - God forbid it - will turn out not to be the National Socialist regime and the Soviet rule, but rather our own indifference. " Sacks continued to lament "the loss of Jewish values ​​in our lives" and "the gap between the religious minority and the secular majority, with both groups becoming more extreme every year." The answer he gave to all of the Jewish people was to "go home to God" (The Tablet, September 23, 1995).

The same is true for most Catholics in the west. Never before have so many Catholics been so wealthy. And never before has the risk of losing one's faith been greater. In this regard, Catholics and Jews face a profound common problem: that of real faith in the face of a world largely uninterested in religion. The "Catechism of the Catholic Church" could have made such an observation; then he would have posed the same challenge to Catholics and Jews.

"We talk about guilt, suffering and reconciliation" - the second observation has to do with this difficulty. The Judeo-Christian dialogue in the United States deals little with this existential fear, which has been particularly ingrained in the soul of German Christians for the past sixty years. With us the discussion on the Catholic side is often dominated by different theological issues, on the Jewish side by different political-religious issues. While our response to the subject of Judaism in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" was quite similar to that of the "interjection," the existential relationship between Jews and Christians in the United States is less shaped by the events of the past sixty years. This was how Catholics and Jews grew closer when, in the late 1920s, Catholic Al Smith's campaign in America's presidential election met with strong anti-Catholic sentiment; At that time, both groups formed an organization to combat racist and religious prejudice, the "National Conference of Christians and Jews", now "The National Conference". This organization continues to monitor the situation and is perceived as a political force across the country.


Another committed participant in the Judeo-Christian dialogue is Br. John Pawlikowski, Professor of Social Ethics at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He recently wrote about the three phases that the Judeo-Christian dialogue has gone through in the States. He describes the first phase as the "cleaning phase". Starting from the teaching of Vatican II about the Jews, the study of doctrinal texts that were used in Catholic handbooks removed the passages that clearly represented the doctrine of substitution. The second phase - in some cases even before Vatican II - has to do with new approaches in Christian exegesis, which gave the Hebrew Bible (the "Old Testament") an independent value. This movement among scholars has enabled Christians like never before to appreciate the Jewish identity of Jesus and the Judaism of his time. The third phase, Pawlikowski continues, is only now beginning. It is an effort to fundamentally rethink the relationship between Church and Judaism. Progress in this third phase will, in my opinion, help us to apply a typological understanding of Scripture without falling into the danger of the doctrine of substitution, of seeing Jesus in the Christian creed as the fulfillment of the statements of the biblical prophets, without at the same time weakening the unique meaning of these prophecies for Judaism. Then it will be possible to confess Jesus as the "Savior of the world" and yet to appreciate the lasting validity and necessity of the existence of the great, living tradition of Judaism.

James L. Heft is a religious priest, professor of history of theology, and chancellor at Dayton University, Ohio.

Alan Mittleman
Dialectical yes and no to Israel

The "interjection" of the discussion group "Jews and Christians" analyzes precisely that the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" of 1992 could not develop a coherently positive study of Judaism. The Jewish reader of the catechism cannot avoid two conflicting tendencies The catechism wants to join the ranks of the previous documents with their honest appraisal of Judaism, ie the catechism wants to distance itself from anti-Semitism, break down prejudices and promote a positive evaluation of the spiritual richness of the Jewish tradition as well as its relationship to the church Getting Catholics to recognize Jews as believers On the other hand, the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" fails to convey a theology that justifies this basic ethical position. Ethical and theological impulses do not match.

In this regard, the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" is a narrower version of the 1985 "Notes". Like the author, many Jewish critics of this document noted at the time that the "references" are based on a typological hermeneutic and therefore undermine a credible appraisal of Judaism; in this way they support the substitution theory, however qualified and nuanced it may be. If the inner, divinely intended reference point of the Hebrew Bible is the New Testament, as the "Notes" and the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" teach, then the rabbinical interpretation of the Torah goes - the absolute heart of Judaism! - Missing the essentials. It is precisely at this point that the document's ethos of restoring an unbiased image of the Pharisees is undermined by a theology that rejects their Jewish position as untenable.

The Catholic scientist Hans Hermann Henrix remarked on the "Notes" from 1985 that they contained a "Christological dialectic of yes and no to Israel". Henrix addresses the incoherence to which I have pointed out and evaluates it as a principle of interpretation in the sense that the Church's answer to Israel must necessarily be dialectical. The most optimistic is: "So you will perhaps be able to speak of a yes that encompasses the no; it is not a yes without the no, but the no remains integrated in the yes." In my opinion, this assessment seems equally applicable to the "Catechism of the Catholic Church".

But if it is true that incoherence, dialectics and ambivalence are more structural than accidental features of church theology, the question arises on what basis the authors of the "interjection" then base their criticism of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church". If it can go on at certain points, how far can it go at the last? Can (or should) the Church see the Jews as they want to see themselves? Is this the ideal that theology is supposed to postulate? Or does the church have to insist on its dialectic of yes and no vis-à-vis Israel in order to remain church? These are the radical questions posed by "netzach yisrael" - the eternity of Israel - but which the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" only vaguely addresses.

Alan Mittleman is a rabbi, professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and currently its dean.

Michael A. Signer
Positive opinions of the Popes are not taken into account

As a Jew, I only write about the "interjection" of the discussion group with some hesitation. The "Catechism of the Catholic Church" is a Catholic document and as such is intended for Catholics. According to the preface by Pope John Paul II, the catechism should serve as a normative framework for the catechesis of the individual local Churches. How is a rabbi supposed to attempt a critical position on such a document, which is supported by such a high authority?

A good starting point is the fact that the new catechism aroused intense and heated discussions among Catholics both during its development phase and after its publication. Many statements have appeared in America. You have thoroughly analyzed the method and content of the catechism. The catechism could actually be credited with the fact that it initiated very serious discussions about the essential contents of Catholicism and that it will eventually lead to a new flowering of theological literature. An American scholar suggested that the new catechism would encourage the laity to be aware of what they actually believe. As a Jew, I am encouraged by any document that arouses serious discussion of religious beliefs and thereby arouses people to incorporate them into their lives.

It also seems to me that the "interjection" promotes the Judeo-Christian dialogue, which has entered a completely new phase since "Nostra Aetate". This new phase, just thirty years old, allows Jews and Christians to see each other as partners within a family - which would have been inconceivable before 1965. In my opinion it is painful that these fruitful discussions could only begin long after the creative dialogue between Protestant Christianity and Judaism in Germany. How would Rabbi Leo Baeck, Franz Rosenzweig or Martin Buber have reacted to the changes within the Catholic Church after the Shoah? From their literary heritage, I think I can deduce that the "interjection" would have met with great acceptance among them. I also know that my esteemed teacher, Rabbi Jakob Petuchowski, would have the feeling that his years of teaching in Germany and his intensive contacts with German Catholic theologians have paid off.

The discussion group praises the fact that the catechism maintains the most important theological development of Vatican II: the Jews are once and for all not guilty of the death of Christ. No. 597 of the Catechism emphasizes this both in the heading and in the text. Equally important from a Jewish perspective is No. 598, where the advanced theological thesis is advanced that Christians contributed to Christ's death through their own sins. This section is important because it leaves no ambiguity as to the significance of sin for the crucifixion of Christ and because it takes Judaism completely out of the line of fire of the theology of the cross.

Another positive phenomenon of the catechism is the presentation of the life of Jesus in the context of Judaism (574-576). The catechism emphasizes the uniqueness of Jesus within the Judaism of his time. This leads to an interesting dialectical tension of the positive and negative evaluation of Judaism of the time of Jesus: nos. 577-582 contain a negative view of the Jewish law of the turn of the ages, and at the same time nos. 583-586 show a positive evaluation of the Jerusalem temple.

The Church will certainly be expected to represent the uniqueness of Jesus in relation to other religious groups of his time. Nevertheless, in the light of the extremely differentiated literature available from Jewish and Christian exegetes, it is surprising that the Torah and Jewish observance of the Torah are presented in such a negative light. This will make it difficult for Christians to understand Judaism as the "way of the Torah". Rabbi Leon Klenicki specifically pointed out the use of the term "law" in the catechism, which in his opinion should have been understood according to the Hebrew "halacha", i.e. "instruction towards God".

The spirit of the doctrinal statements of Vatican II on Judaism can also be found in No. 839, which repeats the first sentence from "Nostra Aetate". The following sentence is an original statement of the catechism and strengthens the positive evaluation of Judaism in view of the non-Christian religions: "In contrast to the other non-Christian religions, the Jewish faith is already an answer to the revelation in the old covenant." Judaism, as Pope John Paul II emphasized in many speeches, occupies a unique place among the non-Christian religions: it is part of the common orientation towards God, which finds its own structure in the covenant. 839 with two quotations from Romans that emphasize the unique position of Judaism.

These positive statements are painfully but seriously contradicted by No. 840, which adds an eschatological dimension to the previous section. "When looking to the future, the people of God of the old covenant and the new people of God strive towards similar goals: arrival (or the Second Coming) of the Messiah. On the one hand, the coming of the dead and risen Messiah, who is recognized as Lord and Son of God, is expected; on the other hand, the coming of the Messiah, whose features are hidden, is expected at the end of time remain - an expectation that is of course accompanied by the drama of ignorance or misunderstanding of Jesus Christ. "

Two elements of this section deserve special attention as they fall behind the teaching of Vatican II on Judaism. The term "God's people of the old covenant" is chosen to characterize the Jews and "the new people of God" to describe the Christians. Some theologians will argue that the term "people of God of the old covenant" is a positive expression of the church's respect for the old covenant, which has never been revoked. Nevertheless, this expression takes on a rather negative tone when placed in the context of the "new people of God", as if the "new" replaced the "old". The second disturbing part of this section is the last sentence that describes the Jews in their eschatological expectation of Messiah. As a Jew, I consider the description of the classic Jewish Messiah expectation in the Catechism, "the features of which will remain hidden until the end of time", to be correct. Nevertheless, this sentence, which regards the Jewish expectation of the eschaton as "accompanied by the drama of ignorance or misunderstanding of Jesus Christ", sounds offensive and insulting. The positive evaluation of Judaism is betrayed when Jewish life in the world is described as less complete. To what extent does this differ from the medieval understanding of the Jews as "perfidi", which at least denotes a serious shortcoming? The opinion of the discussion group also emphasizes the fluctuating and contradicting eschatology in the catechism, especially in its reference to no. 762. Here the impression arises that the covenant with Israel has actually been broken and replaced by the church; so also No. 674, where responsibility for the dawn or delay of the end times is attributed to the Jews.

In this sense, the evaluation of the catechism by the discussion group, namely that "the 'Catechism of the Catholic Church' falls short of the expectations that must be placed on it today", also expresses my disappointment. I strongly support the "interjection" criticism of the catechism regarding the lack of a positive portrayal of Judaism. No effort has been made to clarify the beliefs common to Judaism and Christianity. In the catechism one looks in vain for a positive reference to rabbinical Judaism of the post-biblical period, which has been the actual Jewish religion since the time of the Church. Fr. Gerard Sloyan, an American exegete, argued that "the Christian religious community in fact denies the Jews any right to exist because they perceive them only as a phenomenon of history and not as one of the present." It seems as if the authors of the catechism took note of the many positive opinions of the Popes of John XXIII. until John Paul II had not taken into account the documents of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism, especially the "Instructions for a correct representation of Jews and Judaism in the sermon and catechesis of the Catholic Church" from 1985. Theologians like Dr. Eugene Fisher and Sr. Mary Boys SJNM have referred to the lack of reception of the "Notes" in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Sr. Boys speaks of the irony "that one could read the earlier document (the 1985" Notes ", M.S.) as a question of the new Catechism." I find it strange that the Catechism does not mention any of the positive statements of Bishops' Conferences in the United States, Europe or Latin America on Judaism.It is a pity that the thirty years of productive cooperation between Christians and Jews had so little influence on the catechism!

The "interjection" emphasizes another important criticism of the new catechism: the treatment of the relationship between the two testaments of the Christian Bible. While on the one hand the independent value of the Old Testament is appreciated in nos. 121-123, on the other hand the Old Testament is described as "completed" only by the New Testament. According to No. 1963, this is even the hermeneutical principle of the entire catechism: "According to Christian tradition, the holy, spiritual and good law is still imperfect". Another formulation of the same thought is given in No. 1967: "The law of the gospel 'fulfills', refines, transcends, and perfects the old law". After all, the law is a "taskmaster" to lead the people to Christ (708). This statement is of course based on Gal 3:24; but it may be difficult to teach Christians or convince Jews that the Catholic Church values ​​Judaism when the basis of Jewish revelation is described as "imperfect". Historically, this may be a perfectly accurate description of the Christian understanding of the law as divine revelation. Still, I wonder why the Catechism has to touch on such a strongly apologetic subject on which the Church seems to feel put on the defensive.

The critique of the relationship between the two testaments raises serious questions from the discussion group and American theologians about the use of the typological understanding of Scripture as a hermeneutical principle of the catechism. After the "Notes" appeared in 1985, many Jewish theologians expressed concern about this. Christian theologians also shared these doubts about the representation of the typology in the "Notes". The "Catechism of the Catholic Church" would confirm their initial impressions. If the Old Testament is "imperfect" then it only serves as a shadow of the reality that is breaking through in the New Testament. This typology use appears in the Letter to the Hebrews and in post-apostolic writings such as the Letter to Barnabas, the Didache and the Traditio Apostolica. The black side of the typological interpretation of the early Church is evident in the Paschal homily of Meliton of Sardis. The positive statements about Judaism in the catechism represent a protective shield against such a negative image of the Old Testament. Nevertheless, the probability is high that uncritical readers will quickly turn over the chapters on the Hebrew Bible and continue reading in the chapter on the Church. The danger of Marcionism is therefore always present when reading those passages in the Catechism that focus on the sacraments and the life of the Church.

It is tragic that the readers of the new catechism are not introduced to the exemplary, differentiated understanding of typology in the opinion of the Pontifical Biblical Commission of 1994: "Above all, however, the Church reads the Old Testament in the light of Easter events - death and resurrection of Jesus Christ This leads to something fundamentally new and gives the Holy Scriptures a decisive and definitive meaning with sovereign authority (Dei Verbum, 4). This new definition of meaning belongs entirely to the Christian faith. Nevertheless, it may therefore use the older, canonical interpretation, the Christian Easter faith preceded, do not deny any meaning. For every phase of salvation history must also be respected in its intrinsic value. To empty the meaning of the Old Testament would mean cutting off the historical roots of the New Testament. "

As a Jew, I would never expect Christians to neglect their own reading of the Hebrew Bible in the light of the kerygma of the Gospels. Nevertheless, what the Pontifical Biblical Commission emphasizes applies: "Each phase of salvation history must also be respected in its intrinsic value." When the catechism uses simple correspondences between events in the Christian Bible as a basic typological pattern, it empties the Christian tradition of part of its rich heritage. Sr. Boys also argued: "The 'Catechism of the Catholic Church' takes a typology, which is actually a mode of liturgy and poetry, and turns it into prose and conveyance of information." When poetry is transformed into prose, it loses the power to transform the human mind.

When I think about the "Catechism of the Catholic Church", I trust that my Catholic colleagues in Europe, North America and Latin America, who were so intensely involved in the dialogue, will interpret it meaningfully. They turned to Jews for help in a better understanding of Judaism, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the people who live God's Word in the world. My concern is with the Catholics, whose only reference to Judaism will be the "Catechism of the Catholic Church". What attitude will the many Catholics, who will never meet a Jew in the most remote corners of Africa and Asia, adopt towards Judaism? Will they learn from Catholics who have already had experience with Judaism? Or will they simply read the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" with all its tensions and contradictions that the "interjection" exposed? My hope is that the Church in Africa and Asia will learn from the experience of those who have participated in dialogue with Jews. I pray that Catholics who have learned from the actions and speeches of the Pope, from statements of the episcopal conferences, and from the theological literature about Jews and Judaism, will pass on these experiences in word and deed. On this it depends whether the Church of the third millennium repeats the sins of the past two thousand years.

Michael A. Signer is a rabbi and professor in the Department of Catholic Theology at Notre Dame University, Indiana.