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|The Mystery of the Jewish People in History, By Rev. Frs. Michael Crowdy & Kenneth Novak|
Originally printed in the April 1997 issue of The Angelus magazine.
Posté ici, le 12 août 2007
[Les mises en couleurs de certains passages sont de notre site]
It cannot be denied that the subject of the Jewish people is both very difficult and very fascinating.
Difficult, because the Jewish people is present in all history both divine and human. There is no period of history about which one can write without mentioning them. Says the Jewish author of Jesus Told by the Wandering Jew (Editions Fleg, p.177):
"There are two mysteries of history. Jesus is a mystery as Israel is a mystery! And when you put these two mysteries together, do I have to tell what results? A third mystery, more mysterious by itself than the two others!"
And fascinating, because who can concern himself with the Jewish people without a feeling of admiration or pity, or of both at the same time? The Jewish people brought Christ into the world, yet before Pilate it repudiated Him; the people without a nation of their own and yet unable to live together among others.
The Jewish people is still more fascinating because of its many strengths. It is to its credit as achievers that the Jewish people holds positions in governments, in international and party politics, in the direction of national economies, in the complex mechanisms of money, in the media and leisure, and in the influence over lifestyle and public opinion. For two thousand years it has applied itself with unique tenacity.
And when one thinks of this people, who live in the midst of all the nations, through the most varied changes of fortune but always and everywhere intact and incorruptible one reflects that this people’s lineage is the greatest upon earth!
The Jewish people justly claims the greatest of lineages, because it has six thousand years of indestructible history. The greatest of lineages, because it was in it that Christ, the Son of the living God, took flesh. This is a people which, though a minority, is here and everywhere, as it has been for 20 centuries of Christian history. What is its origin? How and why does it continue? What is its destiny in history? What attitude should one adopt towards it? These are the questions this article hopes to explain.
This article claims to be an explanation of the Jew a theological explanation which in this case is the only possible one. Theology is the science of the mysteries of God. These mysteries are the inscrutable judgments of the Most High which are known to us when He deigns to manifest them to us. Without these manifestations we would have no inkling of them.
Catholic theology teaches that the Jewish people is the object of a very special vocation from God. Only in the light of theology can one explain the Jew. Neither merely psychology nor the biological sciences, nor even purely historical studies can explain the Jewish people. This people is a topic of universal and eternal scope which by its very nature requires a universal and eternal explanation that is valid for today, for yesterday and forever. The Jewish people must be considered by an explanation which is eternal, like God; that is to say, a theological explanation.
What emerges from this explanation is not meant in any way to justify either semitic or antisemitic activity. These two terms tend to trivialize a situation that is deeper and more universal. Catholic theology, while throwing light on the mystery of the Jewish people, will indicate the relations between Jews and Christians, who must live apart until the mercy of God disposes their reconciliation.
The Jewish People According to Catholic Theology
The Jewish people is not like the other peoples, who are born today and fade tomorrow, creating admirable civilizations limited to a point in time and space. We remember the great empires of Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans: their glory was the glory of a day.
The Jewish people, a tiny enclave at the crossroads of East and West, was made tiny for its purpose of bearing the mystery of God through the centuries. And to bear this mystery graven in its flesh it was not to create a civilization, because that is a human thing. What was necessary for it was the divine.
The Jewish people is the theological people which God created for Himself. Moses tells us in Genesis how, two thousand years before Jesus Christ, the Lord God called the patriarch Abraham, living at Ur of the Chaldees, in Mesopotamia, and told him:
Go forth out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and out of thy father’s house, and come into the land which I shall show thee.
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and magnify thy name: and thou shalt be blessed.
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed (Gen. 12).
So the Jewish people, the sons of Abraham, have their origin in God, because it is He who has chosen them out of the rest of mankind and it is He that promises His blessing in such a way that in them all the kindred of the earth shall be blessed. Israel, then, is great with a theological greatness. But does this greatness consist purely in its bodily descent in the flesh from Abraham, the patriarch from whose body it was formed, or does it rest on the faith Abraham had in God’s Promise of a Redeemer?
This is an extremely important question. If the blessings of God are for Abraham’s bodily descendants only, then the Jewish people would be chosen and blessed among all the nations of the earth only for the fact of being sons of Abraham. But if the blessings are reserved to faith in the divine Promise, then simple descent by lineage is valueless. It is necessary to be a descendant of Abraham by faith in the Promise, that is to say, a spiritual descent based on faith.
Ishmael and Isaac
What, then, is the basis of Israel’s greatness in the light of God’s plan? To make it clear, God gave Abraham two sons. The one called Ishmael was by his slave-woman, Hagar, and his birth was in the ordinary course of nature. The other was given him, against all hope, by his wife Sarah in her old age, in accordance with the Promise of God. He was called Isaac.
It was to Isaac and his descendants that God confirmed the Pact made with Abraham. He also bestowed a blessing on Ishmael, but a purely material one, promising to make him the head of a great people. From Ishmael descend the present Arabs, who are in such bitter opposition of the entry of Jews into Palestine. That is because Abraham was persuaded by Sarah and commanded by God to show Hagar and Ishmael the door (Gen. 21).
What is signified by these two sons of Abraham? St. Paul, the great apostle of the divine mysteries, tells that two nations are prefigured in Ishmael and Isaac (Gal. 4).
Ishmael, the first to be born and the natural offspring of the slave, Hagar, represents the Synagogue of the Jews, which glories in its descent from the flesh of Abraham. But Isaac, born miraculously of the sterile Sarah according to a Promise of God, represents the Church which, like Isaac, is born by faith in the Promise of Christ.
So it is not lineal descent from Abraham which brings salvation, but spiritual union with Christ through faith. The Jewish people which began with Abraham will be able to attain to its salvation not by the fact of its material descent from Abraham, but in believing in Christ and assimilating itself to Him in faith.
All who are united in Christ form the blessed inheritance of Abraham and the patriarchs, and are the object of God’s Promises. The Catholic Church is Sarah made fruitful by the divine power. It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh, on the other hand, is worth nothing, as Jesus Christ was to say:
"It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life." (Jn. 6:64)
Could it happen that this people, or a part of it united to Abraham by bodily descent should believe that this same genealogical link alone is what gives justification and salvation? Yes, it could happen, and it did. St. Paul comments that, to show it in advance, God so disposed that...:
"...Abraham had two sons; the one by the bondwoman and the other by the free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman, was born according to the flesh: but he of the free woman was by Promise." (Gal. 4:22,23)
All this was said by way of allegory in order to signify that the simple fact of fleshly union with Abraham is represented by Ishmael, the slave’s son; and the imitation of Abraham, by faith in Jesus Christ, is represented by Isaac, the son of the Promise.
And one must also make a distinction between those who are true Israelites because they imitate Abraham’s faith in God by believing in Jesus Christ (those represented by Isaac), and the Israelites who descend from Abraham in the flesh without imitating his faith (who are prefigured by Ishmael).
Ishmael persecuted Isaac. St. Paul, commenting on this, adds:
But as then he that was born according to the flesh persecuted him that was after the spirit: so also it is now (Gal. 4:29).
Here we see expressed the theological necessity by which Ishmael persecuted Isaac, the Synagogue persecutes the Catholic Church, and the Jews who are united to Abraham by only a union of the flesh persecute the Christians who are the true Israelites, united to Christ by faith.
The same mystery is revealed to us by the two sons granted by the Lord for the patriarch Isaac Esau and Jacob. Let us turn to Genesis (ch. 25):
v.21: And Isaac besought the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and He heard him, and made Rebecca to conceive.
v.22: But the children struggled in her womb: and she said: If it were to be so with me, what need was there to conceive? And she went to consult the Lord.
v.23: And He answering said: Two nations are in thy womb, and two peoples shall be divided out of thy womb, and one people shall overcome the other, and the elder shall serve the younger.
v.24: And when her time was come to be delivered, behold twins were found in her womb.
v.25: He that came forth first was red, and hairy like a skin: and his name was called Esau. Immediately the other coming forth, held his brother’s foot in his hand, and therefore he was called Jacob.
In his Epistle to the Romans, in which he reveals the mystery of the Jewish people, St. Paul shows how Esau, the elder according to the flesh, is the Jewish people united to Abraham by a simple blood-tie, while the younger brother Jacob is the Catholic Church (formed of Jews and Gentiles) which, because it is united by faith to Christ, is preferred above Esau. In this way were fulfilled the words of Scripture (when God reproached the Jews for their ingratitude and lack of pure sacrifice, and called the Gentiles to offer up to Him in every place an acceptable sacrifice):
"I have loved you, saith the Lord: and you have said: Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau brother to Jacob, saith the Lord, and I have loved Jacob, but have hated Esau? and I have made his mountains a wilderness, and given his inheritance to the dragons of the desert." (Mal. 1:2,3)
As it is written: "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." (Rom. 9:13)
So it is that the Church overcomes the Synagogue, although the Synagogue, like Esau...
"...always hated Jacob...and he said in his heart...I will kill my brother Jacob." (Gen. 27:41)
The Greatness of the Jewish People
We have referred to these figures from among the Patriarchs as interpreted by the Catholic Church to show that at the very origins of the Jewish people there is foreshadowed both its greatness and complexity.
The Jewish people has a theological lineage, chosen, consecrated, and sanctified for the purpose of identifying and bringing to us the bodily reality of our Divine Lord Jesus Christ who had to come, and whom the Gentiles expected. This is what is awe-inspiring in the Jewish people: its flesh is sanctified and marked to bring us Him "Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life."
But precisely why is this flesh holy? Why is it of Abraham’s lineage? Why must it bring to us the Christ? In other words, is it Christ who sanctifies the Jewish lineage, or the Jewish lineage that sanctifies Christ?
The fact is that Christ, as Isaiah had foretold (Rom. 9:32) had been placed as a stumbling block, a stone of scandal among his people. If, with the humility of Abraham, this people believed in Christ as sanctifying their lineage, then it was called to be the root and the stem of that flourishing Olive Tree which was to be the Church of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church. On the other hand, if it was to reject Christ, confident in its pride of race, then it destined itself to be the root and stock of a wild vine which would produce bitter fruits.
In the former case, this people will be Isaac, Jacob, and Abel; in the latter, it is called to play the part of Ishmael, Esau, and Cain.
But this chosen line will always take precedence over all the other races of men. If it accepts Christ, it will be the principal and best part of the Catholic Church, the root and trunk of that Olive Tree that produces fruit for eternal life, as the Apostle Paul teaches. If it rejects Christ, it will be chief in the kingdom of iniquity. The great Apostle, St. Paul, who was proud to know himself an Israelite, emphasizes the Jewish pre-eminence for good or ill when he says:
"Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek " (Rom. 2:9)
What advantage then hath the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much every way. First indeed, because the words of God were committed to them (Rom. 3:1,2).
The Jew then is first in the order of goodness, in the mystery of grace. The trunk of the tree that is the Catholic Church is Jewish. The Patriarchs are Jews; the Prophets are Jewish, John the Baptist is Jewish; St. Joseph is Jewish; the Mother of God is Jewish; and our Blessed Savior in whom all nations of the earth are blessed is Jewish. The Apostles are Jewish; the Evangelists are Jewish; and the first of the Martyrs, St. Stephen, is Jewish.
What a people, this theological people that is the trunk of the tree of the Church! In the presence of this Olive Tree, what worth have the Gentile peoples who are only poor wild olives? What worth has the learning of the Greeks or the power of pagan Rome? Mere foolishness, says St. Paul, because these nations did nothing to bring salvation such as the Jewish nation did. If the Gentile nations–starting with the Greeks–wish to enter the way of salvation they must do so by charity, profiting by the general rejection of Jewish people in order to be grafted in. That is why St. Paul says the fall of a part of the Jewish people has become the opportunity of salvation for the Gentiles:
"And if some of the branches be broken, and thou, being a wild olive, art ingrafted in them, and art made partaker of the root, and of the fatness of the olive tree, boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee." (Rom. 11:17,18)
But Israel’s greatness, which was predestined to be in Christ, needs to be matched by a corresponding fidelity to Christ. What unhappy consequences visit this people if it repudiates the One Who is its salvation! Judas Iscariot, Annas, and Caiphas were Jewish. It was the Jewish chief priests who persuaded the people to call for the crucifixion of the Savior and who cried out, "His blood be upon us and our children!" (Mt. 27:25) Jews stoned St. Stephen; Jews martyred St. James and laid traps for the apostles. The greatest crime of all time the death of the God-Man was perpetrated by this forlorn people.
What is the root of the errors of the Jews? It is that "a part of this people" believed that the promises given to the Jewish people on account of Christ (who was due to be born from among them) were made to His flesh, to His lineage. However, the Jewish people, instead of acknowledging that it was the chosen people because of Christ, rather believed that it was Christ who had something to boast about on account of His genealogical lineage.
Thus, it was not Christ, but the flesh of Abraham, that was the source of glory. And the Pharisees, the veritable incarnation of this spirit of iniquity, declared proudly as a reason for not accepting Christ: "We have Abraham for our father."
So their sin consisted in making carnal (i.e., material) the promises of God. In that way they attributed substantial value to what was only a foreshadowing. They expected salvation from what was only a sign of that salvation.
As for the Messiah, the One awaited, who was to bring grace and truth to the world, they made of Him a political, earthly ruler, who would assure and perpetuate the greatness of Israel over all the nations.
The Carnalization of the Jewish People
It will be instructive to distinguish the different stages in the process of the carnalization of the Jews. We have coined this word carnalization by which we mean to indicate the Jewish people’s historical material-mindedness.
The Sacred Scriptures record that the Israelite people had always a nature dominated by great pride and avarice. Moses himself distinctly warned the Israelites:
"Know therefore that the Lord thy God giveth thee not possession of this excellent land for thy justices [righteousness], for thou art a very stiff-necked [stubborn] people " (Deut. 9:6)
"And again the Lord said to me: I see that this people is stiff-necked: Let me alone that I may destroy them, and abolish their name from under heaven, and set thee over a nation, that is greater and stronger than this." (Deut. 9:13.14)
In the period of the Kings, the people’s dishonesty and materialism became particularly evident. They abandoned themselves to a thousand perversities and idolatries to such a degree that they were the first to be broken up and led into captivity in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar, six centuries before Christ. This hard captivity lasted seventy years. At the end of it the Jewish people, returning to Palestine, reformed themselves on new and firm foundations given by Ezra, whom the Jews considered as great a lawgiver as Moses. In fact, Judaism, as it was at the time of Christ and as it has remained until the present day, springs from the reorganization of the people under Ezra.
To generalize, it must be said that the Jews are a people bound to a book, the book above all others, the Law the Torah. In reality, the Torah is composed of the first five books of the Sacred Scriptures [the Pentateuch], written by Moses as inspired by the Holy Ghost. But the Jews only accept as the Word of God (superior to that of Moses himself) the Torah together with the interpretations the rabbis have handed down by oral tradition. These interpretations have been collected and in some way petrified in a voluminous book called the Talmud. The Talmud is the civil and religious code of the Jewish people.
The Jews are a people created by the mentality of the rabbis, especially of the Pharisee rabbis. The Pharisee vividly displays the carnality of the Jews. We are not using the word carnal with the meaning that they have a special leaning to sins of impurity, but with the meaning Jesus Christ gave this word when He anathematized the tendency to give a literal, inferior, earthly interpretation to what in the mind of God has a superior and heavenly meaning.
The Pharisees, instead of following in the steps of prophets like Isaiah and Ezekiel who had preached a worship of God in spirit, compunction of heart, a reform of conduct, and charity to all men, worked to train the people in a literal following of petty observances and a feeling of pride in the fact of lineal descent from the patriarch Abraham. "They answered Him: We are the seed of Abraham..." (Jn. 8:33) as if it was the flesh of Abraham itself that brought justification.
The Pharisees had drawn up a host of rules on purification, ablutions, washing and immersion of hands, of the body, of cups and cloths, so as to preserve the purity of the people. They obliged any of their faithful who had touched a non-Jew in the street or in the market to wash himself. They considered the violation of these ritual prescriptions a grave sin.
Nothing shows better the carnalized Judaic mentality than the terrible "Woes" declared by the Jew, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the last days of His life on earth, when He denounced the hypocritical religion, purity, and piety of the Pharisees (Mt. 23). Against religious hypocrisy, He said:
v.13: Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men, for you yourselves do not enter it; and those that are going in, you suffer not to enter.
v.15: Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you go round about the sea and the land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, you make him a child of hell twofold more than yourselves.
v.16: Woe to you blind guides....
v.23: Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you tithe mint, and anise, and cummin, and have left the weightier things of the law; judgment, and mercy, and faith....
v.24: Blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel.
v.27: Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchers, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men’s bones, and of all filthiness.
He denounced simulated worship and piety towards ancestors when He said:
vv.29-32: Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; that build the sepulchers of the prophets, and adorn the monuments of the just, and say: If we had been in the days of our Fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore you are witnesses against yourselves, that you are the sons of them that killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
vv.33-35: You serpents, generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell? Therefore behold I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you will put to death and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city: that upon you may come all the just blood that hath been shed upon the earth, from the blood of Abel the just, even unto the blood of Zacharias the son of Barachias, whom you killed between the temple and the altar.
No one in all the course of history has pronounced more terrible anathemas than those of the Son of God against the perfidious carnality of His own people.
The Sin of the Jews
On the 14th of the month of Nisan in the year 33, the Jewish people, assembled before the praetorium of Pilate the Governor, and urged by the priests demanded the death of the Promised One:
"When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out saying, Crucify Him, crucify Him. Pilate saith to them: Take Him you, and crucify Him: for I find no cause in Him. The Jews answered him: We have a law; and according to the law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God." (Jn. 19:6,7)
The rabbis had said beforehand in a secret council against Jesus:
"If we let Him alone so, all will believe in Him; and the Romans will come, and take away our place and nation. But one of them, named Caiphas, being the high priest that year, said to them: You know nothing. Neither do you consider that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not." (Jn. 11:48-50)
Then these Jews, in the name of their Law, their Torah, and to serve the material interests of their nation and race, demanded the blood of Him who had been promised them as their blessing. They stirred up the Gentiles against Jesus. Using them to carry out their plans, they crucified the One who was to be raised up as a "sign of contradiction". (Lk. 2:34)
God will not exterminate the carnalized Judaism. When the Jews turn toward the Lord, and say to him as did Cain...:
"...My iniquity is greater than that I may deserve pardon. Behold thou dost cast me out this day from the face of the earth, and I shall be hidden from thy face, and I shall be a vagabond and a fugitive on the earth: every one, therefore that findeth me, shall kill me." (Gen. 4:13-14)
...Then the Lord will say to them, as He did to Cain:
"And the Lord said to him: No, it shall not be so: but whosoever shall kill Cain, shall be punished sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, that whosoever found him should not kill him." (Gen. 4:15)
And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any one who came upon him should kill him. And ever since, this people marked by God’s seal must wander through the world. And, what will they be doing? Bearing in their flesh witness to Christ in the mystery of iniquity. Jesus Christ chose the flesh of His own race to, willingly or unwillingly, proclaim that it is He who is blessed for ever and ever. Jewish flesh proclaims it because Christ comes from that genealogy. One cannot remember Christ without remembering the Jews, and one cannot remember them without remembering Christ.
The Jewish people, once a mystery of goodness, is now changed into a mystery of iniquity. It is no longer Isaac, but Ishmael. No longer Jacob, but Esau. No longer Abel, but Cain.
Others have won from it the birthright. To others have been granted the blessings of the Promise. Those others are all of us who make up the Church of Jesus Christ–converted Jews at first and later the Gentile converts.
The Church of Christ is the true Isaac, the true Jacob, the true Abel. Christ has sanctified Jews and Gentiles to form a new creation, the Catholic Church, which adores the Father in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:23).
Faced with the Church, which is Isaac, Jacob and Abel, what will the Synagogue do? It will play the part of Ishmael, of Esau, and of Cain. What did Ishmael do to Isaac? He mocked him and persecuted him (Gen. 21:9). What did Esau do against Jacob? Genesis tells us:
"Esau therefore always hated Jacob for the blessing wherewith his father had blessed him: and he said in his heart: The days will come of the mourning of my father and I will kill my brother Jacob." (Gen. 27:41)
That is the part that now falls to the Synagogue, to the Jew who will not recognize Christ as He revealed Himself and convert: he will set out to persecute the Church, as the Apostle Paul observes. In this way, just as in the kingdom of goodness the Jewish people had and still has the first place (for history is all present together in God’s eyes), so also the first place in the kingdom of evil must go to it. The other peoples, if wishing to do the work of evil, follow the example of the carnalized, unrepentant Jewish people. If the Gentiles want to be carnal, they must judaize. Thus it was with perfect theological precision that the Fathers of the Church gave the name of Judaizers to Gentiles who taught heresy.
There is a theological opposition that is to say, one arranged by God which exists throughout Christian history between the Synagogue and the Church, between Christians and Jews, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau. What is indispensable at this point is to put down the theological conclusions in the light of which history must be interpreted.
First Conclusion: The Jewish people, whose destiny was to bring Christ to us, found Christ a stumbling block. A part of them believed in Him, and built on Him to form the roots and the trunk of that Olive Tree which is the Catholic Church. The other part fell, denying Him and invoking their carnal pride of race and nation. That part of Israel was rejected, and called upon itself the blood of Christ as a curse. It is this part that forms Judaism proper, which is the heir and the continuation of the rabbis who rejected Christ.
Second Conclusion: Judaism is inimical to all nations in general, and in a special manner to Christian nations. It plays the part of Ishmael who persecuted Isaac, of Esau who sought to kill Jacob, and of Cain who put Abel to death. St. Paul, the converted Jew, says:
"For you brethren, are become followers of the churches of God which are in Judea, in Christ Jesus: for you also have suffered the same things from your own countrymen, even as they have from the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus, and the prophets, and have persecuted us, and please not God, and are adversaries to all men." (I Thess. 2:14,15)
Take note of St. Paul’s terrible and very important fact, written under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That is to say, the adversarial relationship of the Jewish people is not a local enmity, or one based on blood, or on conflicting interests. It is an enmity disposed by God. The Jewish people, if it has not converted to Christianity, will, even if it does not wish to, seek to ruin Christianity, as Jesus Christ said when speaking to the Pharisees:
"You are of your father the devil, and the desire of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof." (Jn. 8:44)
Third Conclusion: If the unrepentant Jewish people are disposed by God to be a theological enemy, the status of this opposition must be universal, inevitable, and terrible.
Universal, because it must extend to all nations. Wherever Christendom extends, the Jewish people goes, too. There is no way of avoiding this, because it is theological.
Christendom and Jewry are destined inevitably to meet everywhere without reconciliation or mixing. It represents in history the eternal struggle of Lucifer against God, of darkness against the Light, of the flesh against the spirit. It represents in time the spiritual accomplishing and the fleshly accomplishing of the Scriptures. The Letter must be everywhere to be the servant of the Spirit. It is with this understanding St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that the Jewish people is the servant of the Church.
It is a terrible enmity, because it is theological. There is a mystery of iniquity in the Jewish people, as we are taught by St. Jerome and St. Justin, echoing Jesus Christ and the preaching of the Apostles. Jesus Christ anathematized them, calling them hypocrites and liars because the Pharisees practiced enmity under pretense of doing good. They only perpetuate what they did once to Christ.
Fourth Conclusion: Ever since Christ was lifted up on Mount Calvary, the world has been subjected to two truly opposite forces: the Jewish force and the Christian.
In the world as it is, there can be only two truly basic modes, two poles of attraction: the Christian and the Jewish. Only two religions: Christian and Jewish. All that is not of Christ and for Christ is done in favor of Judaism. It follows from that, that the de-Christianizing of the world runs parallel to its Judaizing.
Why are only these two modes possible? Because they are the only ones willed by God, they are the only theological ones. God has divided the world between Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Cain and Abel, and Christ and the Anti-Christ. All human energies must serve one front or the other.
That is why the Gentile peoples, we to whom the vocation to the Catholic Church is freely offered, have only two roads ahead to us: to Christianize ourselves or to Judaize ourselves, to be part of the Olive Tree of the Church or of the sterile Vine of Judaism, to be sons of Sarah the free woman, or else of Hagar the bondwoman.
If the Gentile people wishes to be free and great, it has no other solution than to humbly adhere to the Catholic Church. It can have no other greatness than the incomparable greatness of the Christian nations of the Middle Ages, which forged saints and heroes, raised the cathedrals, educated the peoples by the examples of the saints, gave them an understanding of beauty by Gregorian Chant and the frescoes of Fra Angelico and Giotto, and elevated their understanding with the Summa Theologica of the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas.
If the Gentile people now considers this genuine greatness of the medieval age as gloomy or obscurantist, and wishes to be great with the material greatness of Babylon, then it can have it: but only as a servant of Judaism. In the domain of the material, it is the Jewish people who have the superiority. History tells us (Werner Sombart) that the renowned greatness of English and American Capitalism is only a Judaic creation. While Capitalism fulfills its promises and is unquestionably of incomparable material greatness, it compromises the work of millions of Christians for the benefit of a much smaller number of the Jewish people.
Fifth Conclusion: The only protection of the Gentile people against enslaving itself to the material superiority of the Jewish people is the Catholic life. This is because Jesus Christ alone is the Savior of all mankind. Note that the Middle Ages did not succumb to material mastery for centuries.
Cautious of its theological disposition, the Catholic Church applied wise laws to the Jewish people, and was vigilant against their perversion of Catholics. The Catholic Church, however, has never hated the Jewish people. On the contrary, it has always prayed and asked prayers for its spiritual well-being, and defended them against harassment and unjust persecution. This has not gone unrecognized by the Jewish people itself. So, for instance, when in France (1807) the Jewish Sanhedrin met publicly for the first time in centuries, it rendered public homage to the benevolence of the Popes in a document that one can still read today:
"The Israelite Deputies of the Empire of France and of the Kingdom of Italy, at the Hebrew Synod decreed on the 30th May ult., inspired with gratitude for the successive benefits that the Christian clergy has bestowed in past centuries on the Israelites of different European States, and full of gratitude for the welcome which diverse Popes in different epochs have given to Israelites of various countries when barbarism, prejudice and ignorance combined to persecute the Jews and expel them from society, declare as follows:
That the expression of these sentiments shall be recorded in the minutes of today so as to remain forever an authentic witness to the gratitude of the Israelites of this assembly for the benefits which the generations preceding us have received from ecclesiastics of different European countries." (From Collection of the Acts of the Assembly of the Israelites of France and the Kingdom of Italy by Diogene Tama.)
Sixth Conclusion: Under pain of sin, Catholics cannot hate the Jewish people, cannot persecute them or prevent them to live, nor disturb them in their private practice of their laws and customs. But, they must nevertheless preserve themselves from the danger they represent. Catholics are not to enter into commercial, social, nor political relations which are bound hypocritically to seek the ruin of Christendom. Jews must not live together with Christians because this is what their own Jewish laws ordain and also because their errors and material superiority have virulent consequences among other peoples. If the other peoples reject these precautions, they will invite upon themselves these consequences, namely, to serve the Jewish people to whom belongs superiority in the kingdom of the material.
Seventh Conclusion: In the wandering and pitiable life of the Jewish people one must discover the Christian mystery. This is magnificently demonstrated by the converted Jew, Fr. Joseph Lehmann, in his book "L’entrée des Israélites dans la société française" (p. 3). The Jews were responsible directly and/or indirectly for covering the Just One with insults, throwing over His shoulders a cloak of contempt, putting on His head a crown of thorns and into His hands a reed. With striking, spitting, insults, and injury they lavished on Him every sort of humiliation. They spared Him no shame. Finally, He was sold for the slave’s price of 30 pieces of silver.
Ever since, similar insults have been visited upon the Jewish people as a chastisement and penalty for its deed. Moses himself warned:
"And thou shalt be lost, as a proverb and a byword to all people, among whom the Lord shall bring thee in [will lead you away]." (Deut. 28:37)
How long must this terrible enmity between Jews and Christians last ? Until God in His mercy brings about the conversion and reconciliation of the Jewish people. St. Paul teaches us that the day will come when Israel will recognize Him whom he has denied:
"For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, (lest you should be wise in your own conceits), that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in. And so all Israel should be saved, as it is written: There shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." (Rom. 11:25,26)
When the moment arrives (which is in the hands of God), then Esau will be reconciled with Jacob, that is to say, the Jews will become Catholics, and the words of the prophet Ezekiel, five centuries before Christ, will be fulfilled:
"...Thus saith the Lord God: Behold I will take the children of Israel from among the midst of the nations whither they are gone: and I will gather them on every side, and will bring them to their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king over them all: and they shall no more be two nations, neither shall they be divided any more into two kingdoms. Nor shall they be defiled any more with their idols, nor with their abominations, nor with all their iniquities: and I will save them out of all the places in which they have sinned, and I will cleanse them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God." (Ezek. 37:21-23)
Then all will be one in Christ because the Jewish people will convert from its Judaism and the Christians will be Christians in earnest, and peace will become a reality as the fruit of justice and charity, in Him Who promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is Jesus Christ, the Blessing of all the ages.
The Jewish and Christian Peoples
The relations of Christians and Jews cannot be governed by the common law of Christians, but only by an exceptional legislation which takes count of the theological status of the Jewish people. The Catholic Church’s teaching is that they should neither be eliminated from among us (as antisemitism seeks) nor given equality of rights, which leads to their superiority (as is advocated by liberalism or philosemitism).
The Catholic Church has always had the habit of praying for the Jewish people, which was the depository of the Divine Promises up to the coming of Jesus Christ, in spite of this people’s blindness. More than that, it has done so on account of that very blindness. Ruled by the same charity, the Apostolic See has protected this people against unjust vexations, and just as it reproves all hatred between peoples, so it condemns hatred against the people formerly chosen by God, that hatred that ordinarily goes by the name of Antisemitism (from the Decree of the Holy Office, 25 March, 1928).
The Jewish people must live among Christians as a blind witness to the Christian truth, like a spur to keep us faithful. The Catholic Church teaches that it must not be exterminated (for the Jewish people bears the mark of Cain given it by God so no one would kill it) nor frequented (for God warns of its danger). As once they treated Christ, ever since, to persecute Christianity is their theological preoccupation.
"Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he, that was born according to the flesh [i.e., Ishmael], persecuted him that was after the spirit [i.e., Isaac]; so also it is now." (Gal. 4:28,29)
This theological law is stronger than all human plans and expedients. The Jewish people realizes this law. The law contained in the Talmud, which governs Jews, orders enmity with Christians.
The celebrated rabbi, Paulus L.B. Drach, who converted to the Catholic Church, authored a valuable work on the Talmud, "De l’harmonie entre l’église et la synagogue" (éd. Paul Melier, Paris 1844). The Talmud is the corpus of Jewish doctrine, to which the most authentic teachers of Israel in different periods have contributed. It is the complete civil and religious code of the Synagogue. Its object is to explain the Law of Moses in conformity with verbal tradition, and includes discussions of doctors. Although the Christian reader will sometimes be repelled, for one reason or another, he will get valuable information to help explain obscure passages in the New Testament. From the time of the Captivity in Babylon (586 BC), the authority of the rabbis took the place of that of Moses and the Prophets. Rules for the temporal development of the people got more important than rules for religious betterment.
The Talmud got particularly virulent after Christianity appeared. Insolent and sacrilegious infamies against Christ and Christians were written into it, which is why copies were burnt by order of Christian rulers and popes. Hence, a Jewish synod in Poland in 1631 ordered all in the Talmud that related to Christ and Christians to be suppressed, saying:
"...when you publish a new edition of these books, leave blank the pages referring to Jesus of Nazareth, making a circle like an O; and every rabbi or other teacher will take care not to teach these passages except verbally. In this way, learned Christians will have nothing to reproach us with on this, and we will live in peace."
We have already discussed the spiritual greatness of the nation from which Christ came. Israel is so great in whatever he does that it is unable to perpetrate evil except also in a great, a terrible way. We will discuss four of these ways. He is a consecrated lineage which, if he saves us in Christ, ruins us in the Antichrist. Yet, Christians cannot hate him, only lament him. Jewish writers like Bernard Lazare recognize this, the Jewish people forged as it is by the spirit of the rabbis.
The rabbis had separated Israel from the community of nations; they had made the people a wild solitary people, rebellious against all law, hostile to all fraternity, shut against every beautiful, noble and generous ideal; a miserable little nation made bitter by isolation, made brutish by a narrow education, demoralized and corrupted by an unjustifiable pride (L’Antisémitisme, v.1, p. 57).
1. The Jewish people persecute Christendom.
St. Paul denounces it for persecution:
"...for you also have suffered the same things from your own countrymen, even as they have from the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus, and the prophets, and have persecuted us, and please not God, and are adversaries to all men; prohibiting us to speak to the Gentiles, that they may be saved, to fill up their sins always: for the wrath of God is come upon them to the end." (I Thess. 3:14b-16)
See also St. Justin in his Dialogue with the Jew Tryphon (XVI, 133). St. Basil affirms that the Jewish and pagan people were formerly at enmity, but joined together against Christians, as is confirmed by Tertullian, Origen, and Gregory Nazianzen. See Leclerc, Les Martyres (Paris, 1905, v.1, p.103); and the article of J. Vernet, "Juifs et Chretiens" in Dictionnaire d’apologétique.
Since the 12th century these persecutions became rare because of the Church’s vigilance. But we find them allied to heretics repeatedly: Cathars, Vaudois, Hussites. As the Jew Darmesteter himself said (Les prophètes d’Israel), all revolutionaries in spirit go to the Jews for arguments.
2. The Jewish people conspire against the Christian State.
Some facts: In Spain (694) the Jews conspired with the Jews in Africa to let the Arabs into Spain; in 711 they allied with the Arabs; in 952 they handed over Barcelona. In 854, Bordeaux was delivered to the Normans by the Jews; at the end of the 12th century they made common cause with the Mongols against the Christians of Hungary.
3. The Jewish people win control of property by usury. [The main vice of the Gentile people is its sensuality. To satisfy this, it spends itself into debt and must seek moneylenders.Ed.] The Jewish people were forbidden to lend at interest among themselves.
"Thou shalt not lend to thy brother money to usury, nor corn, nor any other thing: but to the stranger [i.e., foreigner]. To thy brother thou shalt lend that which he wanteth, without usury:..."(Deut. 23:19,20)
St. Thomas Aquinas says (II-IIae, Q. 78, A. 1) God permitted them to lend usuriously to foreigners, not as though it were lawful, but in order to avoid the greater evil, that is, through the avarice to which they were prone (Is. 56:11) that they should take usury from their own Jewish people who worshipped the true God.
Jansen, the great historian of the Reformation wrote:
"The Jews not only monopolized money-changing; the real source of their wealth was usury... they gradually became the bankers and financiers for all classes."
Jansen cites that in 1338, Emperor Louis of Bavaria allowed the Jews to charge interest rates as high as 32½% upon the citizens of Frankfurt, Germany; 43% for foreigners in the city. At Ratisbon, Augsburg, and Vienna, the legally permitted interest was as high as 86%. One of Jansen’s contemporaries wrote:
"The Jewish usurers now install themselves in fixed places in even the smallest towns; when they advance five florins they take security representing six times the value of what is lent; then they claim interest and compound interest, so that the poor man is deprived of all he had (Erasmus of Erbach" 1487)
The superiority of the Jewish moneylenders and the extravagant wastefulness of the Gentiles is exemplified by the fact that when Philip Augustus expelled the Jewish people from France in the 12th century, they owned a third of the land, and had so gotten hold of the money, that when they left, it was difficult to find any anywhere.
4. Jews are known to kill Christians.
Already St. Justin (3rd century) said so. The Talmud allows it. History confirms it. It is certain that lives of Christians have been taken: St. William of York, 12 years old (1144); St. Richard of Paris (1179); St. Dominic de Val, crucified at Saragossa, Spain (1250); Bl. Henry of Munich (1345); Bl. Simeon (1475); the controversial martyrdoms of Fr. Thomas of Cangiano and his aide (1840) in Damascus.
As grisly as they are, these four accusations can be documented in every period and country where Jews live with Christians. In earlier times the Jews could only act directly against Christians who were well-cautioned about them. But now that Christians are de-Christianized, the Jews pursue their aggression with the help of the Christians themselves.
Judgments of Popes Regarding the Jewish People
There are at least 15 papal documents warning the Catholic Church against the dangers presented by the Jewish people. Catholic theology has always recognized that the Jewish people are a sacred people. In one sense, the Jewish people is the Father of the Church, because the oracles of God were given to it; and however perverse a father may be, he is owed protection and respect. Antisemitism is condemned because it is persecution of the Jewish people without taking account of their sacred character nor the rights that come from this. An excerpt from one of the papal documents regarding the Jewish people tidily summarizes the Catholic teaching:
"They are the living witnesses of the true Faith. The Christian must not exterminate or oppress them....We must not molest them in the exercise of the privileges accorded them... As they seek our help, we accept and take them under our protection; and following our predecessors Callixtus, Eugenius, Alexander, Clement and Celestine, we forbid the forcing of baptism on a Jew, also harming them in any way or taking their goods, etc., or violating their cemeteries and digging up corpses to find money. The punishment for disobedience to these dispositions is excommunication." (From the Constitution Licet Perfidia Judaeorum, Pope Innocent III, 1199)
Nevertheless, though the Jewish people must be protected, it was recognized it was dangerous enough to be isolated into its own neighborhoods. Was this an offense against its natural human rights? No, for this people refuses to assimilate itself into the country that gives it hospitality, and lives by Talmudic laws contrary to the common good. The policy of the Catholic Church is to extend liberty to the Jewish people to develop and live within its legitimate laws while guarding Catholics, however, against its domination.
The Church’s Wisdom
The Catholic Church perceives the deep desire of the Jewish people to impose its material superiority and the guilt of Catholics who seek this people to get material gain. The enslaving of Christians and Christian nations began by the fault of Christians.
If Christians wish to remain free, let them avoid entanglements with the Jewish people. It dominates in every branch of commerce and finance, in philosophy and the universities. Its action is felt in the consequences of the French Revolution, in the socialization of socialist countries, and in the slavery of Communism. If the Gentile people wishes for a civilization based on economic greatness and the comfortable life, with everything set at the epitome of organization and technical development–then it can have it, with the Jewish people as master and the all the rest as slaves.
Since Christ came into the world, a civilization where Mammon is king is only possible under the Jewish people because, as said previously, the gift of dominance has been given it in all that is of the flesh, the world.
Theology rules history. History has a meaning, a theological one; because God knows how to profit from all the successes and failures of men to realize His plan.
God gave two enemies to the nations that flourished under the Church’s guidance in the Middle Ages: an internal one, the spirit of rebellion against the spiritual in order that worldly greatness be achieved; and an external one, the Jewish people, who live among the Christians to be a goad and a spur. Christendom under holy kings and popes knew how to guard against these dangers. Christendom perceived in a truly theological manner the Jewish people’s domination of the material world and so isolated this sacred but perfidious people.
But in the Renaissance and Protestant Reformation, carnal instincts rebelled, and by a theological necessity stronger than men’s calculations, the emancipation of the Jewish people necessarily followed: an emancipation that under Capitalism and Communism turned into domination.
Fault is not to be charged to the Jewish people for the evils that have come upon society. It is realizing the program which, in God’s plan, is its task to bring to completion. The fault is on the Catholics, unfaithful to their great vocation, who have sought with its help a material, carnal, worldly greatness–which ends in rivers of Christian blood.
The Jewish People and the De-Christianized Peoples
The true defense of Christendom is not police measures, but Jesus Christ. Woe to the world if it forgets Him! At the end of the Middle Ages, the Gentile people committed great sins, especially the clergy. Thus weakened, this people succumbed to the brain and hand of Judaization through the Renaissance, the French Revolution, and Communism. Judaism would give mental ammunition to the rebels, e.g., Renaissance skeptics and 18th-century libertines. Werner Sombart, the authoritative historian of Capitalism who is neither Catholic nor antisemite, shows in his book, Les juifs et la vie économique, how some Protestant sects, especially the Puritans, are Judaic. Close relations formed between Judaism and some of the Reformation sects and a great keenness for Hebrew studies swept Europe. In England alone, for instance, a sect named the "Levellers" called themselves Jews and wished to make the Torah the English code of law, Cromwell was urged to imitate the Sanhedrin by numbering 70 members in the Council of State, and it was proposed (1629) in Parliament to change the Sunday worship to Saturday.
Whatever influence Judaism had in the Renaissance and Reformation, it certainly profited. The Jewish author, Bernard Lazare, says:
"The Jewish spirit triumphed with Protestantism." (L’Antisémitisme, x.I, p.225)
From the breach thus opened in the structure of Christendom, the Jewish people hope to exercise their astuteness to realize their ancient dream of a world empire. Having rejected Christ, it awaits the messiah promised in the Talmud who will "give to the Jews the scepter of the world."
To penetrate Christendom, the masses must be captivated and rebellion fomented against its two pillars Pope and King. The formula prepared by Judaism for their destruction: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. This formula was introduced first to the malcontents making up the membership of the Freemasonic lodges. The lodges proclaim inoffensive programs about the improvement of humanity, but the real aim is to "destroy all that the Catholic Church has done in the world" (Etudes sur la franc-maçonnerie américaine, A. Preuss).
There are solid proofs of their deadly activity in the public record, especially in confiscated Masonic documents and the public claims of the Masons themselves. The Jewish author Isaac Wise reported:
"Masonry is a Jewish institution, whose history, regulations, duties, recommendations and explanations are Jewish to the end." (The Israelite, August, 1855)
Under the deceitful slogan of the Rights of Man, Christian society has become ripe for conquest. Firstly, by Capitalism, all wealth falls to centralized control. Secondly, by Liberalism and Socialism, the understanding of nations is perverted and their heart corrupted. Thirdly, by Communism, all opposition is eliminated and the remaining people are submitted to a yoke from which they cannot escape.
The essence of the capitalist regime in force since the French Revolution which has produced the material greatness of the modern world is the regime of financial wealth as the prime mover of all economic affairs. The financial power concentrated in the banks assures the development of all commercial, industrial, and agricultural activity. By means of credit and lending at interest, finance capital mobilizes great wealth, which in turn increases that same finance capital. The banks enrich themselves rapidly by lending at interest. By being loaned, money acquires a magnetic power. Lending at interest, in a regime with monetary stability, tends to create two well-defined classes. The lending, capitalist class necessarily goes on getting richer, because the money cannot help increasing. The working class must work both for itself and for the lender. The moment comes when the work done does not cover what is due to the lender, and then it goes into debt.
Another way by which bankers enrich themselves is the numerous operations of loans and repayment of loans. It is a real creation of money for the use of the banker. Credit is money, and in creating it, they become wealthy.
It is public knowledge that the Jewish sector, relatively small compared to the Gentile sector which devotes itself to the creation of wealth, controls especially the financial power that is exercised through banks. Wise Solomon observes for us under the power of the Holy Ghost:
"By slothfulness a building shall be brought down, and through the weakness of hands, the house shall drop through. For laughter they make bread, and wine that the living may feast: and all things obey money." (Eccl. 10:18,19 [emphasis added])
The gifted Jewish bankers have created a controlled economy whose ultimate end is the multiplication of money. Even money-strapped governments become their obedient clients. Governments could break their financial bonds except that, despite many other circumstances, these bankers are also national or international at will and can bring pressure to bear from nearly any point. International Judaism has created international capitalism to gain international wealth. Werner Sombart’s voluminous work (Les juifs et la vie économique, Payot, Paris, 1923 [translated from the German]) shows how Judaism has created Capitalism and could not be otherwise explained without it.
Demo-liberal Corruption and Socialism
Beyond its financial influence, Judaic thinking comes to dominate the cultural and educational fields. The pattern repeats: Jews get into posts of influence, and submit society to a high degree of corruption in ways of thinking and acting, which leads to a reaction of public opinion against them.
But demo-liberalism is only a stage. The next step is socialism, whose seminal thinkers, from Marx to Leon Blum, were of the Jewish people. The construction of both Capitalism and Socialism, two opposing forces, is to further divide and conquer. Capitalism robs Christians of what they have. Socialism poisons those who have not, and so starts the Class War. Catholicism, however, which constructed Christendom, is confined to sacristies and convents.
The people are Judaized: the rich with Liberalism, the poor with Socialism. It thinks and acts in the manner of Judaism. Thinking itself free, it thinks with the Judaized mind of the media.
"The great ideal of Judaism is that the whole world should be imbued with Jewish teaching, and that in a universal fraternity of nations an enlarged Judaism all separate races and religious should disappear.... By their activity in literature and science, by expressing their dominant passion in every branch of public activity, they are gradually pouring into Jewish molds all non-Jewish systems and ideas." (Jewish World newspaper, Feb. 9, 1863)
It is a matter of public historical record that Communism was financed by Jewish money. Jacob Schiff and his banking partners, Felix and Max Warburg, financed revolutionary propaganda among Russian prisoners of war in different countries and helped Trotsky. Schiff publicly declared (1917) that the revolution had succeeded thanks to his help.
A Jewish review declared that Communism had achieved "the emancipation of Jews and the triumph of Judaism," because it had "been created, realized by Jews" (Vu, April, 1932).
Capitalism is only a transition stage toward the egalitarian leveling of Communism. That Communism was created by Judaism does not mean it has the control of it as it once had, especially since 1947 when the alliance broke into two blocks. In Russia now there is a general anti-Judaism feeling and though Judaism still promotes Communism, it prefers to see it realized in another manner.
Will the Jewish people succeed in its ambitions? To what extent? God knows. He has His plans, and knows how to combine human acts to further them. The amalgamation of the Jewish and Gentile peoples has been catastrophic; but God has allowed it, so something good will come of it.
One of the goods will be that Catholic nations will expiate for their centuries of infidelities. These nations who, headed by France, should have been the heralds of Christ to the peoples of East and West have instead been heralds of sin. As the Jewish people were punished in 70 AD, so the Gentile people. For the Christian peoples, yesterday it was Russia; tomorrow, the world. A global chastisement is due for both Jew and Gentile alike, for both have offended God for centuries and need purifying. Afterwards then will appear men of sanctity, full of the genuine Catholic faith and charity of the martyrs. A weak and hypocritical Catholicism will no longer be possible. Only after this purification will be possible the reconciliation of Jacob and Esau, Christian and Jew. St Paul teaches that when the knowledge of the Catholic Faith shall have reached all nations, Israel will convert en masse. In the shared pain of a common chastisement, all will understand that we are brothers in Him who was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; in Whom all nations of the earth are blessed. There will be an outpouring of the Spirit of God in the coming collision of the forces of evil against the few who will resist. He will inflame hearts through the flames of material punishment. He will enter them and teach them to meet together in Him who is "meek and humble of heart." Because we all have been ruined by pride and materialism, and must be saved in the humility of Christ.
The Mystery of History and Eschatology
The Jewish people are of exceptional importance in human history. Other peoples have been dominant, but only for a time. To begin to understand the mystery of the Jewish people in history, let us make some theological considerations about history.
History begins with the Creation. Here the initiative was with God. God continues to act on humanity, to continue what He made good at the start. He can give direction and meaning to otherwise absurd acts of men. Man, however, has the initiative in doing evil.
Looking at things from a human viewpoint, one can see two histories, one written by the intervention of God, and the other, by man. In the divine history of God, Christ is the center. Profane history is the history of successive civilizations. In the profane history of civilizations, it seems that man’s will prevails. In it, however, one sees a strong dose of fatality, by which Divine Providence directs the progress of human affairs for purposes it does not reveal.
In reality there is only one history, that written by God with the cooperation of all His creatures. It is a magnificent drama. The Creation. The disorder introduced by human sin. The profit of God from this fault. The Incarnation. The conflict with Evil. The Resurrection. Christ Risen is at the center, and with Him, His chosen ones. When the Mystical Body of Christ is complete, all history will end. Profane history, written by man and his passions, is only a secondary element in God’s great unique history.
The key to this one history is given by St. Paul:
"...for all are yours; and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s." (I Cor. 3:22a,23)
The world is for the benefit of the faithful, to teach them something, to serve them. The faithful are for Christ, and Christ as Man is ordained to God.
As St. Thomas Aquinas says, the movement of history as made by men does not have its end in itself, but outside itself, that is, the filling-up of the number of the elect which will bring the movement of all history to a close (De Potentia 3,10 ad 4).
God knows how to make men’s perverse designs serve His purpose exactly. (St. Thomas Aquinas gives the example of Joseph and his brothers.) Profane history is what St. Augustine thinks of under the phrase "City of Man," as distinct from the "City of God." The Bible gives us the profane history up to Abram. After that, God is in control. It is divine history. It seems as though God abandoned the City of Man to its own devices. We could even venture to say that the life of the Gentile nations fell under "the Prince of this world": not because they were bad in themselves, but because Satan had gotten possession of them since Man yielded to his suggestion.
St. John seems to indicate the logic of the great laws of civilizations:
The desire of power over other nations: "the pride of life";
Unbounded enrichment, with poverty for the weaker: "the concupiscence of the eyes";
Sexual rivalries and jealousies: concupiscence of the flesh.
St. John juxtaposes divine and profane history.
© Rev. Frs. Michael Crowdy & Kenneth Novak
Mis en ligne le 26 février 2009, par