Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Vatican Speaks

"Israel can't use the biblical concept of a promised land or a chosen people to justify new settlements in Jerusalem or territorial claims, a Vatican synod on the Middle East said on Saturday. In its concluding message, bishops from the Middle East also said they hoped for a two-state solution for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and called for peaceful conditions that would stop a Christian exodus from the region."
So now we have it on the authority of the Vatican that Judaism's Old Testament attesting to the historical antecedents of Israel's authenticity as a Jewish-heritage geography in the Middle East is to be set aside. In favour of the reality that the Holy Roman Catholic Church recognizes that the Creator invested heritage within His son, Jesus Christ, negating any claims that preceded his appearance as Saviour.

On the other hand, is that logical? Why does the New Testament supersede the Old Testament? That, in fact, is what Islam claims, that the Koran is the more updated manifestation of God's word than either of its predecessors. Using the logic of the Vatican, the Roman Catholic Church should humbly be acceding to Islam, setting aside the New Testament alongside the Old Testament, and accepting the Koran as the word of God.

And as an inescapable extension of that logic, set aside Christianity itself in favour of the step-child of both Judaism and Christianity, the last of the three representatives of the "Abrahamic" religions. This is the theory that Islamists are advancing, those Islamic scholars who favour the thought of Judaism and Christianity finally recognizing the legitimate superiority and inheritance of Islam.

Why then is there any sense of legitimacy in the writing of the New Testament? It might also be well to recall - as a real dose of recent history - that under Muslim rule Jerusalem's Christians were not quite as free to practise their religion as they are now, under Israeli administration. Nor are Christians free to practise Christianity in Muslim-dominated countries of the Middle East; they are, indeed, becoming a vanishing species beset by Muslim hostility.

Yet the Bishops from the Middle East repeat the absurdity that once peace between Israel and the Palestinians results in a two-state solution, the hostility and violence that Christians face in the Middle East will end. Muslims will suddenly accept and love the diminishing number of Christians among them. This fictive rubbish is repeated ad infinitum simply because the Christians are largely of Arab origin, betraying their bias against Judaism.

It is extremely sad that the Vatican is so anxious to please and collaborate with its far-flung family irrespective of the inane, political and disruptive statements that emanate from some of its members, that it remains prepared to sacrifice its always-tenuous relations with Jews and Israel. Despite that Arab Christians are under siege by Arab Muslims, it is still and always the Jews that are at fault.

As for the Roman Catholic Church and its relations with Israel and with Jews; the troubled past does not reflect wrong on Israel's part, or on the part of the Diaspora, but indeed, on the anti-Semitic past of the Catholic Church itself. Which does not appear to be able to shake itself loose of its lack of wisdom in adhering to this very particular heritage obsession.

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