Based on some private conversations I’ve had regarding the content of the post, Nostra Aetate and Ephesians 2, it is apparent that additional clarity is necessary concerning St. Paul’s statement:
Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Roman 11:25-27)
A false, and unfortunately common, interpretation of this text leads one to believe that the unbelief of the Jews is little more than a Divine strategy for the benefit of the Gentiles; with the unfortunate punchline being that in spite of their unbelief the Jews will be saved.
Apparently, this thought has wide appeal (even among putative popes!), but that leaves one to ask what we are to make of the Lord’s own words, “He who rejects me rejects Him who sent me?” (Luke 10:16)
Are we to believe that one can at once reject Christ and yet embrace His offer of salvation?
Of course not; the Lord’s words are very clear.
So, what then shall we make of St. Paul’s assurance, “And so all Israel should be saved?”
In order to truly understand what St. Paul is saying, we must ask ourselves, who exactly is this “all Israel” of whom St. Paul is speaking?
For the answer, we need only refer back to a statement made a handful of paragraphs earlier when St. Paul made it clear that “all Israel” is not synonymous with the descendants of Abraham, or to use the Council’s language, “Abraham’s stock.”
For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but “Through Isaac shall your descendants be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants. (Romans 9:6-8)
This having been established, it is clear that when St. Paul says that “all Israel will be saved,” he is not referring to those among “Abraham’s stock” (his descendants in the flesh) who reject Christ and the New Covenant; rather, he is speaking of Abraham’s spiritual descendants through faith.
That St. Paul is referring to the “people of the New Covenant” (to quote Nostra Aetate once more) is further clarified when one makes note of his allusion to the Hebrew Scriptures in verse 27:
…and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.
The Old Covenant was powerless to take away the sins of the people, only the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, can do that. Reject Him and your sins remain; i.e., you are not to be numbered among the saved.
Again, folks, this is Catholicism 101.
Therefore, it is manifestly obvious that “all Israel” (Romans 11:26) refers to the members of the Church, “the children of God,” be they from among the Gentiles, or from among the Jews (like St. Paul himself), but in all cases, he is speaking of the followers of Christ.
Adding to the confusion for many is the Church’s traditional understanding that a large scale conversion of the Jews will take place in the last days.
In other words, there is a convolution of ideas taking place wherein the anticipated conversion of Israel in the latter days is treated as some sort of grandfather clause that allows the Jews of today to thumb their nose at Christ the King even as they are somehow assured a place in His everlasting Kingdom.
Among the confused is Josef Ratzinger, who citing the authority of a German nun, Hildegard Brem, wrote in his book, Jesus of Nazareth:
In the light of Romans 11:25, the Church must not concern herself with the conversion of the Jews, since she must wait for the time fixed for this by God, ‘until the full number of the Gentiles come in.’
Ratzinger concludes, therefore:
Israel is in the hands of God, who will save it ‘as a whole’ at the proper time.
This utterly preposterous notion makes a fool of Our Lord who said (and it obviously bears repeating) “He who rejects me rejects Him who sent me.”
It also stands in direct opposition to the words of St. Paul who plainly admonished the unbelieving Jews:
And the Jews, seeing the multitudes, were filled with envy and contradicted those things which were said by Paul, blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas said boldly: To you it behooved us first to speak the word of God: but because you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold we turn to the Gentiles. (Acts 13:45-46)
Clearly, St. Paul was not under the impression that the unbelieving Jews were going to be saved “as a whole;” on the contrary, he plainly let them know that they had judged themselves “unworthy of eternal life” for having rejected Christ.
Even within the very same chapter of Romans that Josef Ratzinger misappropriates, St. Paul speaks of the unbelieving Jews as those who had been cut off by their unbelief and stand in need of being grafted in again (cf Romans 11:22-23).
One is hard pressed to overlook the diabolical nature of the conciliar approach to the Jews.
It’s as though the Evil One is saying to Our Lord, “So, these ‘chosen ones’ over which you wept are still dear to you? I will lead your own people to abandon them!”
Recalling the impassioned preaching of St. Peter on the day of Pentecost, when he exhorted the Jews to baptism that they may be saved, one notes that the champions of Vatican II – the same who applaud the grave errors enshrined in the document Nostra Aetate – speak very well when they refer to the Council as “a New Pentecost,” as indeed something entirely new was thus born; a faith unrecognizable as having any connection with the faith of the Holy Catholic Church.
APPROACHING HARDENED HEARTS
“Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ.”
“It is always wonderful and impressive to contemplate the action of God’s grace, and to see how sweet and strong- and at the same time how simple and human- are the means He employs to guide a man to the path designed for him from the beginning.
God alone acts, utilising and rewarding the prayers sent up, the sacrifices and sufferings accepted and sometimes voluntarily sought and offered up for the conversion of a soul.
He alone takes possession of the soul and claims it for His service.”
“Let us not think that by our personal action we can hasten the coming of God’s Kingdom in souls.
Nevertheless, let us make this appeal to Him with the humble conviction that He alone will do what must be done, and will bring life to the souls for which we act and pray.”
Louie has shown the sleight of hand that VII church has used to misdirect the Catholic Church into abandoning its long held tradition: Let’s take a peek at another early Saint:
St Justin Martyr Dialogue with Trypho the Jew CHXI .–THE LAW ABROGATED; THE NEW TESTAMENT PROMISED AND GIVEN BY GOD.
Now, law placed against law has abrogated that which is before it, and a
covenant which comes after in like manner has put an end to the previous
one; and an eternal and final law–namely, Christ–has been given to us,
and the covenant is trustworthy, after which there shall be no law, no
commandment, no ordinance. Have you not read this which Isaiah says:
‘Hearken unto Me, hearken unto Me, my people; and, ye kings, give ear unto
Me: for a law shall go forth from Me, and My judgment shah be for a light
to the nations. My righteousness approaches swiftly, and My salvation shall
go forth, and nations shall trust in Mine arm?'(1) And by Jeremiah,
concerning this same new covenant, He thus speaks: ‘Behold, the days come,
saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant which I made
with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them
out of the land of Egypt'(2)). If, therefore, God proclaimed a new covenant
which was to be instituted, and this for a light of the nations, we see and
are persuaded that men approach God, leaving their idols and other
unrighteousness, through the name of Him who was crucified, Jesus Christ,
and abide by their confession even unto death, and maintain piety.
Moreover, by the works and by the attendant miracles, it is possible for
all to understand that He is the new law, and the new covenant, and the
expectation of those who out of every people wait for the good things of
God. For the true spiritual Israel, and descendants of Judah, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham (who in uncircumcision was approved of and blessed by God on account of his faith, and called the father of many nations), are we who have been led to God through this crucified Christ, as shall be
demonstrated while we proceed. …
Rocky: And now….
Bullwinkle: Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!
Rocky: Again? That trick never works.
Bullwinkle: Nuthin up ma sleeve…Presto!
Bullwinkle: No doubt about it, I gotta get another hat.
Is VaticanII church wiser than Bullwinkle? Doubt it.
Michael F Poulin
Louie writes: “rather, [St. Paul] is speaking of Abraham’s spiritual descendants through faith.
The Catholic Encyclopedia expands on this idea in its article on “Abraham”, which includes the following observations (emphases added):
“[A]s the New Testament traces the descent of Jesus Christ from Abraham, so it does of all the Jews; though as a rule, when this is done, it is accompanied with a note of warning, lest the Jews should imagine that they are entitled to place confidence in the fact of their carnal descent from Abraham, without anything further. Thus (Luke 3:8) John the Baptist says: ‘Do not begin to say: We have Abraham for our father, for I say to you God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham.’…. It is not carnal descent from Abraham to which importance is attached; rather, it is to practising the virtues attributed to Abraham in Genesis. Thus in John 8, the Jews, to whom Our Lord was speaking, boast (33): ‘We are the seed of Abraham’, and Jesus replies (39): ‘If ye be the children of Abraham, do the works of Abraham’. St. Paul, too, shows that he is a son of Abraham and glories in that fact as in 2 Corinthians 11:22, when he exclaims: ‘They are the seed of Abraham, so am I’. And again (Romans 11:50): ‘I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham’, and he addresses the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:26) as ‘sons of the race of Abraham’. But, following the teaching of Jesus Christ St. Paul does not attach too much importance to carnal descent from Abraham; for he says (Galatians 3:29): ‘If you be Christ’s, then you are the seed of Abraham’, and again (Romans 9:6): ‘All are not Israelites who are of Israel; neither are all they who are the seed of Abraham, children’.”
“And Isaias crieth out concerning Israel: If the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.” (Romans 9, v27).
Thank you for shining the light of reason on this subject. What a breath of fresh air! Reason is what opens the windows to let the fresh air in, the true aggiornamento!. Not Hegel’s Reason, or World-Spirit, that uses and abuses men for its own end…not the confusing documents of Vatican II open to multiple and contradictory interpretations….., but the Christian Logos that reminds us…calls each and every person to become adopted children of God, instruments of his Providence, yes, but by adoption, co-labourers in his vineyard, the cause, content and ends of joy and blessedness.
This reasoning is truly doing theology on one’s knees.
I found this quote of St. Thomas surfing the web — I hope he wrote it—-:
Reason in man is rather like God in the world.
Thank you Louis.
Your words really hit home:
“It’s as though the Evil One is saying to Our Lord, “So, these ‘chosen ones’ over which you wept are still dear to you? I will lead your own Vicar to abandon them!”
–Due especially to extended family and friends who so often seem “lost”- we’ve come to understand more fully why Our Lord said to the women he met on the way to Calvary, “Weep not for me but for your children”.
That’s why this topic of erroneous teachings about the need for conversion and Baptism, fills us with such passion and desire to get the Truth to people who don’t yet know it. So thank you for emphasizing this.
St. John Vianney spoke of once having a conversation with the devil, who bragged to him that he could imitate him in almost everything the Saint could do, but for one thing–his humility. It’s no coincidence this is the virtue most extolled in our Blessed Mother, whom Scripture designates as the one who will crush Satan and is traditionally depicted with him lying helplessly pinned under her foot. It’s also no coincidence she’s asked us to pray the Rosary daily, for the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart and the conversion of all souls-including, we’re sure the Jewish race through whom she came into this world.
“Through Isaac shall your descendants be named.”
– Doesn’t this state It is only Isaac’s descendants who will be regarded leaving out Ishmael, Midian, Zimran, Jokshan, Ishbak, Medan and Shuah?
Time of the Gentiles…….St. Bernard teaches, “We are told by the Apostle that when the time is ripe all Israel shall be saved. But those who die beforehand [that is, those who do not convert] will remain in death.”
Seems to me the “Time of the Gentiles” is darn near complete. Give it a couple years.
I don’t know why this is so hard to figure out. Jesus said the kingdom would be taken away from the Jews and given to another people. Paul then defines in detail who those other people are.
I agree with your analysis and insights. Notwithstanding, I often wonder about the cry of Jesus as He was being put to death:
“And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
I cannot believe that Our Heavenly Father would refuse Jesus’ cry in extremis.
For whom was Jesus asking forgiveness for the act of crucifying Him? The soldiers, the Jews, the chief priests?
The Father doesn’t refuse Our Lord’s prayer. Grace is always being given so that sinners realize “what they do” and then repent, ask for and receive forgiveness. If individuals refuse that grace, they refuse the very forgiveness obtained by Christ on the cross.
Or LESS! Same thought occurs to us, regularly. Helps keep us hopeful that the Triumph of Our Lady’s Heart is very near. We are, after all in a time of great tribulation, as anyone can see.
Thank you for the quote of St. Bernard. Where is the charity when the Catholic Church abandons Her mission under the false belief that God will take care of His “chosen” people in His way and in His time. The covenant with the Jews was broken when Our Lord said “I give you a new and eternal covenant”. After the Crucifixion of Our Lord, the veil in the Temple covering the Holy of Holies was rent in half. It was no longer needed. There is a new Holy of Holies. The Sanctuaries of our Catholic Churches which have preserved the true Mass.
Psalm 21 (Douey Rheims bible) begins with other words Jesus’ said from the Cross: “My God, My God, why has thou forsaken Me” , then describes the Crucifixion (“They have dug My hands and feet..numbered all My bones…divided My garments among them…for My vesture they cast lots..”etc..” It goes on to certify (as you mentioned) that God hears His prayers, and then concludes with a prophecy of the future time when (v28) “All the ends of the earth shall remember, and shall be converted to the Lord: And all the kindreds of the Gentiles shall adore in his sight.  For the kingdom is the Lord’s; and he shall have dominion over the nations.”
From this we can see that conversion to the Lord, is required for salvation, and that apparently was not the visible outcome with most of those who wanted Jesus dead at the time, according to historical records, and there may well be a time to come when most if not all of the Jews are converted. But that will still be by free-will choice, and because they become convinced of the Truth, that Jesus was their promised Messiah.
— Forgiveness is something that as Christians, we freely give from our hearts even to people who continue to hate us–(such as we sometimes witness when Christian families of murder victims attend the sentencing and assure the murderer he is forgiven by them) Occasionally they are humbly thanked, but often they are met with coldness or even violent outbursts that seem to come right out of hell. Their forgiveness remains independent of either of those, as they imitate the example of Love which Our Lord gave us that day.
St Francis de Sales’ dedication to converting a newly protestant region back to the True Faith was all out. Compunction – the personal or public action of the Church seeking with urgency, the conversion of souls is preaching the Gospel. The basics of the Faith.
PS. Fr Leseur (Elizabeth’s widower) had a powerful conversion at the Lourdes Grotto. He susequently was a great influence on Bishop Sheen, who could hardly be accused of the Calvinist predestination implied by the above quotes.
Much needed analysis. Contextualising St Paul’s teaching is crucial. “Clearly, St. Paul was not under the impression that the unbelieving Jews were going to be saved “as a whole;” on the contrary, he plainly let them know that they had judged themselves “unworthy of eternal life” for having rejected Christ.” This is such an important message and a great shame that Benedict obscured the roots of Truth with a ‘pretty’ plastic overlay.
PS. as for “a New Pentecost” – this Novus Pentecost would be more approriately called the ‘anti-pentecost’.
Pope St. Pius X speaks with Theodor Herzl on supporting the Zionist movement into Palestine:
“We cannot give approval to this movement. We cannot prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem—but we could never sanction it. The soil of Jerusalem, if it was not always sacred, has been sanctified by the life of Jesus Christ. As the head of the Church I cannot tell you anything different. The Jews have not recognized our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people.”
“Yes, but we, and I as the head of the Church, cannot do this [support the Zionist movement]. There are two possibilities. Either the Jews will cling to their faith and continue to await the Messiah who, for us, has already appeared. In that case they will be denying the divinity of Jesus and we cannot help them. Or else they will go there without any religion, and then we can be even less favorable to them.
“The Jewish religion was the foundation of our own; but it was superseded by the teachings of Christ, and we cannot concede it any further validity. The Jews, who ought to have been the first to acknowledge Jesus Christ, have not done so to this day.”
Read the whole thing. It is a breath of fresh air.