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Rabbi says Pope’s homilies could threaten Catholic-Jewish relations

March 13, 2017

An Italian rabbi has raised a protest against the topic of a conference to be held by the Italian Bibilical Association: “Israel, people of a jealous God. Consistencies and ambiguities of an elitist religion.”

Rabbi Giuseppe Laras said that the conference topic—which had been approved by the Italian bishops’ conference—reflected the influence of Marcionism. (Marcionism, a heresy that arose in the 2nd century, rejected the Old Testament and claimed that the stern God of the Hebrews was not the merciful God of the New Testament.)

Rabbi Laras went on to lament that Pope Francis has frequently emphasized the same ideas. He suggested that the Pope’s frequent denunciations of “Pharisees” and “doctors of the law” could cause a step backward in relations between the Catholic Church and Jews.

“I know very well that the official documents of the Catholic Church are thought to have reached points of no return,” the rabbi said. “What a shame that they should be contradicted on a daily basis by the homilies of the Pontiff.”

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Show 7 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: vjenkins78814 - Mar. 19, 2017 1:32 PM ET USA

    And here, I thought the Holy Father would be remembering that he has many Jewish friends in Argentina and elsewhere.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Mar. 15, 2017 5:32 PM ET USA

    Looks as if the Pope's insults have come back to bite him.

  • Posted by: grateful1 - Mar. 14, 2017 7:37 PM ET USA

    The point made by "feedback" is exactly right. Perhaps Cardinal Burke can discreetly take the good rabbi aside and dispel the misunderstanding.

  • Posted by: filioque - Mar. 14, 2017 6:22 PM ET USA

    Many of us remember being told in the aftermath of Vatican II that we had been burdened with a faulty idea of an Old Testament God who was unrelentingly just, but now we knew a God of mercy. Both are caricatures, of course, but apparently Pope Francis doesn't know that.

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Mar. 14, 2017 3:17 PM ET USA

    The good rabbi is not the only one disconcerted...

  • Posted by: feedback - Mar. 14, 2017 9:04 AM ET USA

    This is actually funny misunderstanding. It's not the modern Jewish rabbis that ever come to a Catholic's mind when Pope Francis denounces the "Pharisees" and "doctors of the law." Those terms are reserved for use against "rigid" Catholics, and especially the pesky Canon lawyers. And one particular Cardinal comes to mind.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Mar. 13, 2017 11:11 PM ET USA

    Pope Francis' imprecise talk can have far reaching repercusions both within and without the church.