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Benedict XVI Opposes St. John Chrysostom

Mark Stabinski

On September 29, Benedict XVI sent his best wishes to chief rabbi of Rome Riccardo di Segni for three Jewish festivities that fall in the months of September and October. These are the festivities of Rosh Hashanah 5772 (New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).

This an English translation of the text of his telegram:
“May we all feel an increasing desire to promote justice and peace in a world that has such need of authentic witnesses of the truth. May God, in his goodness, protect the Jewish community and allow us to deepen the friendship between us, both in Rome and throughout the world." (original here)
Pope Benedict visits the Synagogue of Rome

Benedict greets reporters
as he enters the Synagogue of Rome
This practice of congratulating the Jews on their festival days has become common practice since Vatican II. Based on the Declaration Nostra aetate, the Conciliar Church disregards the hatred the Jews have always had for our Holy Religion and show an eagerness to “deepen our friendship with them.”

In this message, Benedict XVI implies that graces come through the apostate Synagogue, opposing Church teaching that grace comes only through the Catholic Church or oriented to her.

How can we reconcile this position with the teaching of the Church, expressed for instance by the Father and Doctor of the Church St John Chrysostom? In a homily he preached something very different about the festivals of the Jews. Instead of congratulating the Jews, he warned the Catholics to stay far away from them and their synagogues. Here I transcribe the words of the great Saint:

"The festivals of the pitiful and miserable Jews are soon to march upon us one after the other and in quick succession: the feast of Trumpets, the feast of Tabernacles, the fasts. There are many in our ranks who say they think as we do. Yet some of these are going to watch the festivals and others will join the Jews in keeping their feasts and observing their fasts. I wish to drive this perverse custom from the Church right now. ...

St John Chrysostom of St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. John Chrysostom at St. Patrick's Cathedral
“But do not be surprised that I called the Jews pitiable. They really are pitiable and miserable. When so many blessings from Heaven came into their hands, they thrust them aside and were at great pains to reject those blessings. The morning Sun of Justice arose for them, but they thrust aside its rays and still sit in darkness. We, who were nurtured by darkness, drew the light to ourselves and were freed from the gloom of their [the Jews] error.

“They were the branches of that holy root, but those branches were broken. We had no share in the root, but we did reap the fruit of godliness. From their childhood, they read the Prophets, but they crucified Him whom the Prophets had foretold. We did not hear the divine prophecies, but we did worship Him of whom they prophesied.

“And so they are pitiful because they rejected the blessings which were sent to them, while others seized hold of these blessing and drew them to themselves.”

Instead of considering these festivals as a source of blessings and grace, St. John Chrysostom affirmed categorically the synagogue has become the dwelling of demons. Finally, he clearly stated that Jews do not love God, because they do not recognize Jesus Christ:

“But the synagogue is not only a brothel and a theater; it also is a den of robbers and a lodging for wild beasts.

Benedict XVI entering the Park East Synagogue of New York

Benedict entering the Synagogue in New York
“Jeremiah said: ‘Your house has become for me the den of a hyena.’ He does not simply say ‘of wild beast’, but ‘of a filthy wild beast’, and again: ‘I have abandoned my house, I have cast off my inheritance.’ But when God forsakes a people, what hope of salvation is left? When God forsakes a place, that place becomes the dwelling of demons.

“But at any rate the Jews say that they, too, adore God. God forbid that I say that. No Jew adores God! Who says so? It is the Son of God who says it: ‘If you were to know My Father, you would also know Me. But you neither know Me nor do you know My Father." Could I produce a witness more trustworthy than the Son of God?

“If, then, the Jews fail to know the Father, if they crucified the Son, if they thrust off the help of the Spirit, who should not make bold to declare plainly that the synagogue is a dwelling of demons? God is not worshipped there. Heaven forbid! From now on it remains a place of idolatry.”

St. John Chrysostom goes on to severely chastise those people who pay the synagogue honor as a holy place, calling Heaven and earth to witness against them.

One can only wonder what the great Father and Doctor of the Church would say to the present Pontiff who visits synagogues and sends congratulations to the Jews on their festival days…

Posted October 10, 2011

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