Jews perplexed by change to Catholic catechism

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c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) In catechisms, as in prisons, there are no insignificant sentences. Every word of these handbooks is meant to clearly express the fundamentals of the faith. The Catholic Church, especially, places great emphasis on its catechism to help pass doctrine from one generation to the next. So when 200 U.S. […]

  • Archbishop Wuerl summarizes well the ambiguity in the passage that was recently amended by the bishops. Despite any short-term consternation about the change, in the long run authentic inter-religious dialogue is better served when such ambiguity is avoided.My difficulty with this particular story is that it makes it sound like Robert Sungenis “led the charge” in pushing for a change in the Catechism, and that he was the first person to criticize the Catechism, which in its prior form he considered not only ambiguous, but heretical. In reality, responsible Catholics have been interacting with Church authorities since the Catechism’s draft stage regarding the problematic wording of this sentence.From my own experience as a Catholic leader, the recent grandstanding of Robert Sungenis–done to save face given other problems he’s had with his bishop–had no effect on the process. If anything, it would have served as a deterrent to the bishops, who would not want to give credibility to an apologist with a reputation for disseminating anti-Semitic propaganda. Catholics can and must affirm that all salvation comes through Christ through the ministry of His one true Church, but such affirmation does not a require a harsh, condemnatory approach that alienates rather than welcomes our Jewish brethren.

  • I think there is some misunderstanding as to what Robert Sungenis is saying. Basically, he is saying the Mosaic covenant is superseded. The spiritual dimension of the Abrahamic covenenant is still in place as the New Covenant with Jesus Christ, as John Paul II explained in his 1982 Sydney speech, and reaffirmed many times when he referred to the “covenant never revoked” (i.e., the Abrahamic as explained in 1982). Traditionally, the Mosaic covenant has been seen as superceded. This is the essence of Sungenis’ argument.And it is Robert Sungenis who led the charge. I wrote on Leon Supernant’s blog that this was so, and he “moderated” the comment. My understanding is the same happened to Fr. Brian Harrison. Leon likes to have his say, but not let others do the same.

  • The fact is that good, responsible Catholics like Suprenant and Catholics United for the Faith had been in contact with the USCCB about this sentence in the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults before Robert Sungenis ever got wind of it. He was not the first to raise this issue. Period. The attempt some are making to exaggerate the role Sungenis played in effecting this improvement seems to be little more than a thinly-veiled attempt to establish guilt by association. The change to the USCCA had nothing to do with the kind of offensive, anti-Jewish rhetoric that Sungenis publishes and everything to do with Catholic orthodoxy. Jewish Catholics like those at the Association of Hebrew Catholics ( ) and author Roy Schoeman ( ) have long opposed the dual covenant error as well. Many other responsible Catholics, such as Karl Keating ( ) and Dr. Scott Hahn ( ) have also made their opposition clear. And as this article correctly conveys, the Church has unequivocally repudiated Sungenis’ offensive, anti-Jewish views. He has been rebuked by lay Catholics and by his own bishop. ( and ) Additionally, Archbishop Burke – who was recently elevated to the Church’s highest canonical court – intervened a few months ago to stop Sungenis from making a presentation in his diocese (St. Louis, MO). Months ago, several of us who have opposed Sungenis’s anti-Jewish extremism were perhaps more prescient than we would have liked:”Sungenis has made some good points about the dual covenant error. But as much as Sungenis supporters might try, it is simply impossible to divorce him from all of his ugly baggage, which now includes his slander of and public rebellion against Bishop Rhoades. These serious problems, combined with his continuing lack of humility, wisdom and discernment make it extremely imprudent to publicly enlist Sungenis’ aid in this legitimate cause. His presence only serves to discredit and undermine it.” (March, 2008: By Sungenis Alone:, Sungenis’s few supporters seem to find themselves with strange allies: those who dislike the Church and proponents of the dual covenant error. All three groups would certainly benefit were Sungenis to be singled out for attention in relation to the change in the U.S. Catechism for Adults– albeit for extremely different reasons.Leon Suprenant was right. Genuine dialogue is not served by ambiguity. Neither is it served by the use of such illegitimate tactics as guilt by association (

  • Ken

    Abe Foxman asked: “When did the Catholic Church decide that our (Jews) covenant was finished?”How about when Jesus Christ said so at the Last Supper?Every time a priest says Mass this very point is emphasized during the consecration of wine into blood:HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI, NOVI ET AETERNI TESTAMENTI: MYSTERIUM FIDEI, QUI PRO VOBIS ET PRO MULTIS EFFUNDETUR IN REMISSIONEM PECCATORUM.Foxman may want to read an epistle: