Nostra Aetate and Ephesians 2

JPII w RabbiThe text below is derived in large part from the transcript of one my recent videos, along with additional content taken from a follow-up blog post.

I offer this complete treatment here for the benefit of those who as yet are unable to see that the Second Vatican Council, contrary to the insistence of the post-conciliar popes, cannot be considered an integral part of the tradition of the Church.

In fact, as the treatment below demonstrates beyond any doubt whatsoever, the Council is guilty of contradicting the Faith that comes to us from the Apostles.

Please consider passing this along to any such person of good will who might, with the aid of God’s grace, have their eyes opened.

As for those who are unwilling to see; those we cannot help.

Nostra Aetate and Ephesians 2

In St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, he writes:

Remember that at one time you Gentiles were separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. (Eph. 2:11-16)

Who is the “us” to whom St. Paul refers when he says that Christ made us both one?

Clearly, he’s speaking of believing Jews, like himself, and the Gentile believers in Christ; he’s affirming that both are now one people, in one body, through the Cross.

And how does this happen?

Through Baptism, of course.

As such, St. Paul wrote to the Galatians:

For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free; male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:27-28)

Indeed, Baptism is precisely how those once separated from God and one another become one people in Christ.

As for those who reject Christ and refuse to enter that “one body” through the waters of Baptism, such persons cannot somehow be one people of God with the believers in Christ in that body.

This is just common sense, of course.

Even so, Our Blessed Lord removed all doubt on this point when He said:

He who rejects me rejects him who sent me. (Luke 10:16)

The unbelieving Jews who reject Christ (just as the Gentiles who reject Him), therefore, are not reconciled to God with the children of the Church, in one body, through the cross, to draw from the words of St. Paul.

This is Catholicism 101, and yet, the Council Fathers of Vatican II, in the document Nostra Aetate, undermine even this most basic of teachings.

Before we get to the specific conciliar text in question, we must first be clear about the intention of this document and what it is proposing to teach.

Nostra Aetate means “in our time;” it comes from the first line of the document which reads:

In our time, when day by day mankind is being drawn closer together, and the ties between different peoples are becoming stronger, the Church examines more closely her relationship to non-Christian religions. (NA 1)

So, in other words, when the Council speaks therein about Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Jews, it’s very specifically addressing the Church’s relationship with these peoples such as it is “in our time.”

Once again; this is obvious enough.

In the article concerning the Jews, Nostra Aetate – Article 4, the Council states its specific purpose, saying:

As the sacred synod searches into the mystery of the Church, it remembers the bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham’s stock.

Don’t gloss over this!

The Council is making it clear that what follows in the text addresses the relationship between two distinct groups; the people of the new covenant (i.e., the Baptized) on the one hand, and the Jews (a group that they identify as “Abraham’s stock”) on the other.

Clearly, both groups are not numbered among the baptized.

“Abraham’s stock,” of course, refers to those Jews in our time who persist to behave as if the “law of ordinances” has yet to be “abolished” by Christ in His flesh, to quote St. Paul once more.

To be very certain, if indeed the Council is about to address, in the treatment to follow, only those numbered among the baptized (be they either Gentile or Jew), then all concerned would be “the people of the New Covenant;” i.e., there would be but one group of which to speak!

This much, once more, is quite obvious, but it’s very important to bear this in mind as we now consider what the Council goes on to say of the relationship between the children of the Church and the Jews in our time; i.e., those who as yet still reject Christ and refuse the offer of Baptism.

The Council states:

Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross, Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles, making both one in Himself.

Now, ask yourself, is it true that Christ, by His Cross, reconciled the Jews in our time with the Gentiles, “making both one in Himself?”

Well, of course not.

The only way this can happen, is how?

Through Baptism, wherein there is neither Jew nor Greek, etc…

The Jews in our time are quite pleased to be defined by their rejection of Christ! They look upon His Cross as mere folly. They steadfastly refuse Baptism.

The Jews “in our time” of which Nostra Aetate speaks, therefore, can in no way be confused with Jewish believers in Christ, like St. Paul, who wrote to the Ephesians about how they have become one with the Gentile believers in Christ in His Cross.

And yet, in setting forth the utterly illogical notion that “the people of the New Covenant” are somehow one in Christ with those who reject Him, guess what the Council Fathers use as a reference in support of this baseless innovation:

You guessed it; the very passage from Ephesians 2 that we just reviewed!

Nothing could be more painful to acknowledge; the Council misappropriated Sacred Scripture to promote a novelty that is irreconcilable, not just with common sense, but with the very words of Jesus Christ who said, “He who rejects me rejects Him who sent me…”

Some well-intentioned, naïve souls might parse the Council’s words in an effort to demonstrate that this portion of the document really does mean, in spite of its clearly stated purpose, to speak only of those among “Abraham’s stock” who are baptized, just as St. Paul did, and that is why Ephesians 2 is referenced.

Even though this theory defies logic in the extreme, rather than dismiss the idea out of hand, let’s take a look at how the conciliar proposition set forth in Nostra Aetate has been officially applied and implemented since the Council.

Now, please note; I very deliberately did not say that we must look to see how Nostra Aetate has been interpreted since the Council.

We’re not seeking an interpretation, properly speaking.

Why not?

Simply because what the Council actually said is quite clear.

We must avoid the temptation to overlook the actual text in an effort to shoehorn a faithful “interpretation” that runs contrary to the statements made by the Council itself.

That said, looking to see how the conciliar proposition has been applied in the life of the Church through her official organs will either confirm, or challenge, the conclusions I’ve drawn here.

You see, if indeed the Council is guilty of little more than just a bit of clumsiness, we should find the official voice of the Church echoing the words of Christ, and saying much the same things that St. Peter said on the day of Pentecost; addressing the Jewish people as those who have rejected their God and urging them to Baptism.

If, on the other hand, the Council really did put forth an egregious error that proposes to say that the Jews “in our time” are one with the people of the New Covenant in spite of their having rejected Jesus Christ and His Cross, well, we should find the official voices of the Church echoing that idea instead.

So, which is it?

I think you know the answer already, but bear with me…

In 2012, Cardinal Kurt Koch, who heads the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, gave an address on the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate in which he called the decree “the foundation document” and the “Magna Charta” of the dialogue of the Roman Catholic Church with Judaism.

This address can hardly be dismissed as lacking substance, coming as it does from the man hand chosen by the pope to represent the Church in her relations with the Jews, and who has received the affirmation, as of this writing, of two popes; Benedict XVI and Francis.

His words are, therefore, without any question whatsoever, an accurate representation of the official meaning and application of the conciliar text in question.

In reference to the very portion of Nostra Aetate under discussion here, Cardinal Koch stated:

The concept of two parallel paths of salvation would in the least call into question or even endanger the fundamental understanding of the Second Vatican Council that Jews and Christians do not belong to two different peoples of God, but that they form one people of God.

Did you get that?

Cardinal Koch plainly acknowledged and confirmed precisely what has been laid out so carefully here; Vatican Council II set forth a “fundamental understanding” that the Jews of today who reject Jesus Christ, along with Christians, “form one people of God.”

This in spite of the fact Jesus Christ Himself said that He who rejects Him rejects God!

Cardinal Koch went on to say:

It does not necessarily follow that the Jews are excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God.

This, my friends, is where Nostra Aetate leads when one simply accepts Vatican Council II as an integral part of the tradition of the Church (a proposition insisted upon repeatedly by all of the post-conciliar popes as the price for “full communion”); it leads to a position wherein faith in Jesus Christ isn’t necessary for “God’s salvation,” (as if there is any other).

The magnitude of this seismic shift away from what the Church has always and everywhere held to be true (i.e., immutable doctrine) is not lost on Cardinal Koch; on the contrary, he celebrates it, saying:

…one can without doubt dare to assert that Nostra Aetate is to be reckoned among those Council texts which have in a convincing manner been able to effect a fundamental re–orientation of the Catholic Church following the Council.

A fundamental re-orientation

Every Catholic school child beyond the age of reason should know that such a thing is antithetical to Catholic truth!

Cardinal Koch continued his assault on the Catholic faith:

Such a claim [that Jews are ‘excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ’] would find no support in the soteriological understanding of St Paul, who in the Letter to the Romans definitively negates the question he himself has posed, whether God has repudiated his own people: “For the grace and call that God grants are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29).

Once again, Sacred Scripture is being misappropriated to suit the innovation.

The question concerning the standing of the Jews vis-à-vis “God’s salvation” has never, properly speaking, been about whether or not God has repudiated His own people.

Of course God’s call is irrevocable; at least until such time as one departs from this life. So too is the offer of grace necessary to answer that call.

Oh, yea, then there’s that; the necessity of responding to God’s call – a truth that no one in the sacred hierarchy of today, taking Vatican Council II as their queue, seems willing to preach.

Where, oh where, are the intrepid evangelists of old who, like St. Peter, did not shy away from letting the Jews know, for their own good, that it is they who “repudiated” their own God?

Undaunted, Cardinal Koch takes up the weapon of phony Biblical citations once more as he continues:

That the Jews are participants in God’s salvation is theologically unquestionable, but how that can be possible without confessing Christ explicitly, is and remains an unfathomable divine mystery. It is therefore no accident that Paul’s soteriological reflections in Romans 9–11…

The sheer hubris of these people is positively stunning!

In his Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul states the exact opposite of what Cardinal Koch would have him say, making it plain that the Jews who reject Christ are “broken off” from the people of promise:

They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you [Gentile believers] stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off. And even the others, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. (Romans 11:20-23)

St. Paul’s words are clear; God did not spare the unbelieving Jews; they have been “cut off,” and “persisting in their unbelief” will effectively prevent their being “grafted in” once more.

It is important to note that the false doctrine being preached by Cardinal Koch is not entirely his own; he’s simply providing the official application of the tenets set forth in Nostra Aetate.

It is beyond any shred of reasonable doubt that the Council did in fact err in its treatment of the relationship between the Church and the Jews, in our time.

This, unfortunately, is but one of any number of conciliar texts that have brought about a massive loss of Catholic faith among clergy, religious and laity alike.

As such, I implore you, choose this day in whose words you will believe:

Will you believe the Second Vatican Council, or the Lord Jesus Christ; the conciliar “fundamental re-orientation,” or the immutable Catholic faith?

It’s not a very difficult choice, is it?

Indeed, the most difficult challenge for many is coming to terms with the simple fact that it cannot be both.

May the grace of Almighty God assist you in choosing well.

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