Page 5, 30th March 1973

30th March 1973
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Page 5, 30th March 1973 — The Jewish-Christian fence

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The Jewish-Christian fence

the article of March 16 by Peter Nolan on my fellow Jewish convert Dr. Rosenberg (of whom I have often heard many splendid things), was very interesting and factually truthful, but a trifle "negative".

Dr. Rosenberg surely did not allow himself to be hurt by a couple of

stupid women; he knows too well that there are plenty of those, of both sexes. on both sides of the ChristianJewish fence!

I am one of those referred to in the article who changed my ancient Hebraic name (by lopping off two letters). and my less ancient address when 1 became a Catholic some 20 years ago. As 1 sec it, the Church is both Catholic and catholic. With the small "C" it embraces all sorts and con

ditions of men and women, including far more Jewish converts than most people think there are; with the capital "C" it is Judaism, fulfilled in the Messiah, and practised by all those of every nation baptised into the Kingdom of Christ.

Universalist in outlook. cosmopolitan and supra-national in structure and composition, opposed to excessive legalism but seeking rather obedience to the moral law

through love, Other-worldly in the

"Jerusalem" to which it looks for its faithful to be gathered, and rejoicing in a Chist and King who has come; it must, in some senses at least, find itself in opposition to that other smaller "Israel" (and I do not refer to the modern State of that name) which is particularist, inward-looking, preoccupied with legal minutae about food and other observances, looking to an earthly "Jerusalem", and unaware that the Messiah has indeed come.

God will. in time. doubtless reconcile the two opposites; man must accept the fact of the division. We must. of course, love them, both because it would be unnatural for us to do otherwise. and because we realise that the fossilisation of Orthodox Judaism over the past

1,900 years probably fulfils an essen

tial function for the Church, not least as a living "source-reference book",

and as a temptation to be "highminded" towards them, which it must overcome to achieve spiritual fullness.

Moreover, they are a living memorial to the fact that God's

promises are "without. repentance";

for he has most wonderfully preserved them in the teeth of every contrary evolutionary pressure, and will. doubtless. fulfil the prophecy and convert them "When thc fullness of the Nations shall be complete.'

It is possible that part of the "fullness" will be a greater awareness of Christendom's Jewish heritage, and a greater ability by some (by no means all, or even a majority) to follow the precept of "Loving one's enemies"; but we most nevertheless: recognise the ideological conflict without pursuing it with cudgels!

In the light of that ever-present tension between the two which is possibly a necessary condition of the dynamic growth of the newer Israel, 1 am not convinced that the course adopted by myself and so many other Jewish converts of mergingimperceptibly into that Israel in which there is really "Neither Jew nor Greek" (in a particularist or racialist sense) is

We have the Jewish Psalms. the Jewish Bible, both Old and New Testaments, the Jewish -Kiddush" in the preparation for the Mass, "The House of Aaron" in the Catholic priesthood. the Jewish King and Messiah, and the "Shechinah' His presence among us in the Eucharist; but we share them with countless millions of people who have had to learn to assimilate them into their own liturgical practices and customs. and to "throw-off' the old paganman in themselves and reject utterly the gods of the pagan forest.

Well, sometimes they have gone back to them like we did of old! But look at the Mother Teresas that there are among them ; and the least Christi an "Christian" at least acknowledges the Jewish Messiah, while the most learned Jews ignore Him a most unintelligent procedure!

We have everything, let us rejoice in that and not keep looking backwards! We can conduct a quiet dialogue with both sides where this is possible or desirable; but we'll take part in the Great Debate in "The Court Above" -Leshonoh haaboyoh beyRusholuyim ("Next Year in

Jerusalem!") A. P. Hill 43 Court Way, Twickenham. MiddleSex.

As a'reaular reader of the Catholic Herald for many years, 1 would like to comment on the letter of Mrs. H. W. Cotter (March 9) and the replies published in your issue of March 16.

I do not intend to reply in detail to Mrs. Cotter's questions, as I treat her letter with the contempt it

deserves. But the questions raised do require to be answered.

Anyone interested can do no better than to study A History of AntiSemiiism by Leon Poliakov a classic of its kind. Here will be found first-class scholarship on all the issues raised.

To understand how Mrs. Cotter's mind works, and why, and to attempt to evaluate how a Christian can hold such violent anti-Jewish views. one should read Anti-Semitism and the Christian Mind by A. T. Davis a fascinating study.

' It is fantastic how some antiJewish • Christians, including Catholics. resent the Jewish origins of the Christian Faith, and the fact that Jesus was a Jew. Those who are anti• Jewish accuse the Jew as the "Christ killer" because they dislike the concept of the Jew as the "Christ giver." In this connection it is well worth reading Redeeming the Time by Jacques Maritain. particularly the chapter on "The Mystery of Israel."

I was interested in the letter by Miss Teresa Martin (March 16), who stated that Martin Luther was not in

terested in converting Jews. This in fact is not true. Luther, in 1523, wrote a hook entitled That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew, for the express purpose of converting Jews to Christianity. In this respect he failed. Some 19 years later he wrote another book, Concerning the Jews and their Lies a . foul. piece of virulent antiSemitism. This book had a profound effect on later German and' Jewish literature.

I have no doubt that from Luther to Hitler there is a direct line of communication. A study of the antiJewish elements in the German Protestant theology of the 19th century is most revealing. It paved the way for the political anti-Semitism of the German mind and the Nazi regime. We who are Jews are fully aware of the history of Catholic antiSemitism. and it is time for us to be also aware of the Protestant contribution to anti-Semitism which emerged after the Reformation. In his book German Catholics and Hitier's War, Gordon C. Zahn raises this

Mlle extremely well.

Lastly, may I express, as a Jew, my thanks and appreciation to all your correspondents who have come to the defence of the Jewish people. I am most grateful to them. Let us all pray. Jew and Christian, in faith and grace and with hope, that the time will come when Jew and Christian will unite in the bond that binds us together the love of God and the hive of our fellow men. Because are we not brothers'?

David Cohen 3 Dundalk House, Clark Street, London, E.1.

I was pleased to read Peter Nolan's article of March 16 about Jewish converts and Dr. David Rosenberg.

I have always thought, and said. that the fact Jesus was born into a Jewish family, and remained throughout his life a devout practising Jew. did most of his teaching in or on the steps of the synagogues, and died saying a Jewish daily prayer, has never really been acknowledged; and because of this the full glory of the Kingdom of Heaven has never been realised. • I feel strongly that when Jesus said: "I come not to break the law but to amend it,he did not visualise "Jews" and "Christians," but all mankind blending together to fulfil God's love and Kingdom on earth.

His apostles were Jewish. and they failed to see this. For the first 100 years or more after the Crucifixion the believers in Jesus still followed his teaching within the synagogue, and were known as "Nazarenes." How marvellous it would have been if there were no "Jews," no "Christians," but followers of God through the teaching off. the Son, blessed and strengthened through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I am always comforted from time to time to read about the meetings now taking place between Christians and Jews which I believe are attended by Cardinal Heenan and the Chief Rabbi. I wish they could he more widespread. I did ask if it would be possible to start such a venture in Reading. but was told it would be most unlikely as there was no bad feeling against the Jews in Reading. and such meetings only took place where there was. had great difficulty in accepting this answer.

The to Dr. Rosenberg: "1 shall fetch a priest if you say any more" and "Jesus was only Jewish on his mother's side" remind me of an outing to Coventry Cathedral and the remark of a practising Christian woman who, with horror on her face. when seeine Graham Sutherland's

tapestry. said: "But he looks just like a Jew/ My friend said: "He was a Jew." She replied very coldly: "But there was no need to make him look like one." Pamela F. Gibbs "Ravensmere," Basingstoke Road, Spencers Wood, Reading.


As a Jewish Catholic (baptised Christmas 1948) I read Peter Nolan's

article of March 16 on Dr. Rosenberg, and the correspondence relating to the persecution of the Jews, with considerable interest.

From my own experience I would say that really virulent anti-Semitism, at least in this country at the present time. is very rare among Christians. I have no doubt there are such people, but rm thankful to say I've never met any. However, some anti-Jewish feeling does linger on in the vast majority of people even if. in the present climate of opinion. they are often ashamed of them and do their best to suppress them.

Anti-Semitism can never be wholly ,destroyed until it is brought out into the open and its causes examined and understood. There seems little doubt that these go back to the Crucifixion. In spite of all that fins been done by the Church in recent years to remedy the situation. most Christians still associate "the Jews" with the murder of Christ.

We must examine the Gospels with great care to understand what took place. Hatred, greed, envy. spiritual blindness, nationalism, desire for a worldly kingdom. all played their part in the events leading up to the Crucifixion.

There is' nothing specifically Jewish in all this. It could have happened anywhere, and probably would have. Plato forecast that a perfectly good man would be killed wherever he was born. Is not Christ persecuted and killed in His members in all countries?

Certainly all Catholics know, in theory at any rate, that Christ died fot their sins. But the only final cure for anti Sernitism is really to see all the things that caused His death in ourselves. rooted in our sinful human nature. Only in such a way can we free ourselves of hatred and prejudice towards others.

Of course there are many other causes of anti-Semitism. The economic role the Jews have been forced to play. the need for a scapegoat in times of distress. the projection of anger and frustration. etc.

Also, it must be added, people growing up feeling themselves members of a hated minority are sometimes badly damaged. so giving further excuses to anti-Semitic people. Yet even in this secular age the religious issue remains basic, even if people are not always fully conscious of their feelings.

It's not just a question of being fair to a group of people who have suffered a great deal. but also of helping towards the Second Coming of Christ. St. Paul teaches that this will not take place until the Jewish people are converted. How can this happen unless there is a fully sane climate of opinion?

In the meantime, Jews in the Church, although in some ways in a painful and alienated situation, are also a pledge of things to come. I hope the Jew. mentioned by Peter Nolan. who changed his name is very untypical. I am very pleased that I can be seen to be El Jew. It adds to my value as a witness to the truth. I am sure all Jewish Christians would wish to join with St. Paul in regarding any sacrifice made as utter ly trivial in comparison to the great gain of knowing Christ.

2 Queen Anne's Grove. LewisLondon, W.4. Mendel


May I. through the columns of your paper, thank all those of your readers who have worked for the success of the Nationwide Petition for Public Decency, and ask whether any signatures not yet returned to the address below could be sent by the end of the month?

It is impossible for us to write personally to each supporter. but we would like to invite all who care about the quality of the cultural. ethical and moral standards of our nation to join in the presentation of the signatures at No 10 Downing Street on April 17 and the public meeting which will follow at the Central Hall, Westminster.

We would be very happy to give fUrther particulars on receipt of a stamped addressed envelope.

(Mrs.) Mary Whitehouse,

• Triangle Farm House, Far Forest, near Kidderminster. Worcestershire.

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