Jewish authorities ask for ‘clarification’ of Pope Francis’ speech

Jewish authorities in Israel asked Pope Francis for clarification on account of some statements made by him during the liturgy of a mass held on August 11, reports the Catholic website “Il Sismografo” on Wednesday (25).

According to the portal, a letter reached the Vatican “in the last days” to Cardinal Kurk Koch, president of the Council for Christian Unity and also of the Commission on Religious Relations with Judaism. The document was signed by Rabbi Rasson Arousi, chairman of Israel’s Grand Rabbinate Commission for Dialogue.

Jewish leaders said they were “concerned” with Francis’ speech, citing the reading of St. Peter’s Letter to the Galatians, where the Catholic leader hinted that “Jewish law is obsolete”.

In the reading, Jorge Mario Bergoglio reflected on the Torah in the New Testament and said that “the apostle explains to the Galatians that, in reality, the Covenant with God and the Law of Moses are not inextricably linked”.

“The Law is not at the basis of the Covenant because it emerged successively and was necessary and fair, but before that it had the promise, the Covenant”, said Francisco, explaining that “São Paulo was not against the Law of Moses because it respected it and more than once defended its divine origin”.

“The Law, however, does not give life, does not offer the fulfillment of the promise because it was not in a condition to be able to carry it out. The Law is a path that takes you forward to the meeting”, added the Pope.

For the authorities who signed the letter, the Catholic leader’s speech shows that the Christian faith “is not just an overcoming of the Torah, but affirms that the latter no longer gives life, which implies that the religious practice of Jews in the current era is obsolete”.

For Arousi, the comment is “an integral part” of a “disdainful teaching against Jews and Judaism, things we thought were completely repudiated by the Church.” The rabbi further urges Cardinal Koch to “convey his anguish to Pope Francis” and, at the same time, ask for clarification to “ensure that any derogatory conclusions are clearly repudiated.”