Bishop Rhoades, Sungenis, and the Jews

In recent months, Catholic apologist Robert Sungenis has made defamatory statements concerning his bishop, Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades of Harrisburg. These statements have arisen in the context of Sungenis’ writings concerning Judaism and the Jewish people, which many, including Bishop Rhoades, have found to be hostile, uncharitable, and un-Christian in their tone and erroneous in their content. Further, such writings, while purporting to present authentic Catholic teaching, do not follow the teaching and approach of the Second Vatican Council, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI on this subject.

For that reason, Bishop Rhoades recently answered a series of questions in order to present clearly the Church’s teaching regarding her relationship with the Jewish people.

(1) Do you believe that the Jewish people have their own independent salvific covenant with God, apart from Jesus Christ, so that there are two independent saving covenants in effect today, one for Jews and one for Gentiles?

Bishop Rhoades: I have always believed and taught that Christ established a new and eternal covenant through his own death and resurrection. I have always believed and taught that this is the definitive covenant which will never pass away. I do not believe that the Jewish people have their own independent salvific covenant with God, apart from Jesus Christ. It is not correct to speak of two independent saving covenants in effect today, one for Jews and one for Gentiles, since Jesus is the only Savior, who continues His saving work in the Church and by means of the Church, His Body. There is only one salvific economy. As Pope John Paul II taught in the encyclical Redemptoris Missio, “No one, therefore, can enter into communion with God except through Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit.” I have always affirmed the unicity and universality of the salvific mystery of Jesus Christ. The salvation possible for our Jewish brothers and sisters, indeed for any person, is only through the grace of Christ.

(2) Do you believe that anyone reaches heaven without the mediation of Jesus Christ? 

Bishop Rhoades: I think your second question is answered above, but I will repeat that I do not believe anyone can reach heaven without the mediation of Jesus Christ. As Saint Paul wrote to Timothy: “[God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:4-6).

(3) Do you understand anything on page 131 of the U.S. Catechism for Adults to mean that the Jewish people (or any group) have their own, independent saving path to God, outside of Jesus Christ?

Bishop Rhoades: I do not interpret anything on page 131 of the U.S. Catechism for Adults to mean that the Jewish people (or any group) have their own independent saving path to God, outside of Jesus Christ. I can see how the one statement that “the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them” might be misunderstood. I would interpret it to mean that the Jewish people retain a special relationship to God because of the Old Covenant, but I would not interpret it to mean that the Jewish people can be saved through the Old Covenant apart from Christ.

(4) Do you believe that the Church is called to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all peoples, including the Jewish people?

Bishop Rhoades: Of course. I believe that the Church is called to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all peoples, including the Jewish people. This is the Church’s missionary mandate, received from Christ. That is why I so strongly support and promote the Propagation of the Faith and the Church’s missionary endeavors. But the Church’s missionary activity must always be marked by profound respect for people of other religions and profound respect for their religious freedom. It must be marked, above all, by profound charity in word and deed. We must always proclaim the truth with charity. By the way, this is my episcopal motto: “Veritatem in caritate” [truth in charity].

For more background on this controversy, see the new post Breaking the Silence. The following links are also quite informative:

Bishop Rhoades Sets the Record Straight
Bishop Rhoades and Michael Forrest respond to Robert Sungenis

Response from the USCCB on page 131 of the USCCA
Is the new Adult Catechism really heretical?

Sungenis and the Jews Website and Blog
Various articles detailing the problematic approach taken by Robert Sungenis in regard to Jewish issues
 

32 responses

  1. Wow. This is really very sad to see. Thank you for taking up a defense of Bishop Rhoades.

    People need to know about this.

  2. I am a Jew who was baptised into the Church a few years ago. I have been following this “issue” with Bob Sungenis for quite some time. I even had some e-mail dialogue with Mr. Sungenis last year thinking I may be able to “open his eyes” but to no avail. Anyway, I want to thank you for your bravery and dedication to the Truth in taking this on. Sungenis is dangerous. It is so clear that he manipulates the truth to try to validate his own agenda. And all he is accomplishing is: — at the least, misconceptions of Jews and their beliefs; and at the most, anti-semitism. Further, if people are to believe that Sungenis speaks for the Church, us Jews that are openly seeking the truth will be pushed in the other direction. Honestly, the path for a Jew seeking the Truth and finding Christ is a very difficult one. I know this from first hand expereince. I had attended a number of Sungenis’ debates during my journey. I met him personally as well. He helped quite a bit. However, I was not exposed to his bigotry at that time. Had I been, and had it appeared that he spoke for the Church, I may have been pushed back to where I was coming from. I would have stated that “I definitely would have been pushed back (and away from Christ). But, I know that it was through heavy prayer to God to show me the Truth and His Blessings upon me that opened my eyes. So, I am confident I would have survived Sungenis’ misguidings. But there are many others that will not be so lucky. And for that, I thank those of you who have not stayed silent about this so important issue.

    It is shocking (to say the least) as well as disheartening, to see that his prejudice against the Jews is so blatant and deep that he is willing to slander God’s appointed — his Bishop — and move into such blatant defiance in order to keep at it.

    I will pray for you all in this “battle” that you have the strength and perserverence to esnure the Truth is told.

    God Bless!

  3. Leon,

    Where specifically, using a Sungenis source, does Robert make hostile and uncharitable remarks?

    This piece seems to explain the matter. In a spirit of charity and honesty, perhaps you should use a Sungenis source to qualify your statements instead of the “Sungenis on the Jews”. Surely, such a blog is not free from bias.

    God bless,
    PJP

  4. PJP, the piece you cite is a good case in point, and I almost provided a link to it. If this were merely a theological discussion or even a mere point of disagreement, I certainly would have done so.

    In my estimation, his writings on the subject are poisonous to the faith (see the previous comment by Cary). I would not be providing a service to our readers in linking to his site, but rather would create more traffic, which is what he wants. At the end of the day, I don’t want to be responsible for leading anyone astray. If such a purpose in not providing a link is uncharitable or dishonest, I’ll let God judge.

    Primarily I wanted to come to the defense of Bishop Rhoades in this matter, as he has the unenviable role of being Bob Sungenis’ bishop. And, while no individual or blog is completely free from bias, in my opinion the people behind “Sungenis on the Jews” are providing an altruistic, heroic service to the People of God in this matter.

  5. The following are only a few of the uncharitable and hostile statements Robert Sungenis has posted about Jews, or said/written by him in other venues. Everything at the Robert Sungenis and the Jews website and blog in this regard has been documented from Sungenis’ own words, with links to the places in which they have appeared. No one, including Sungenis himself, disputes that these things have been posted and/or said by him
    1) http://weblog.xanga.com/bellarmineforum/642233863/question-44—old-covenant-revoked-or-not.html
    A CAI patron writes:
    The goals [of the] Christ Crucifiers has been for hundreds of years 1) Get the deicide crime abolished. 2) Get the Old Covenant to be still valid for them by the Vatican. 3) Get the Noahide Laws established worldwide by placing 5th columns in the 5 great religions of the world.
    Sungenis’ response to this offensive statement, which broad-brushes Jews as “Christ Crucifiers” and engages in paranoid Jewish conspiracy theories?
    R. Sungenis: And that’s why we are here to preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ- in order to rebut these false ideas.
    2) “The charge of ‘anti-Semitism’ is nothing but a clever ploy” (followed by a fraudulent quote of Albert Einstein used to support this claim):
    http://web.archive.org/web/20051210120252/http://www.catholicintl.com/noncatholicissues/genesis-jewish.htm
    and also here:
    (Question #26) http://web.archive.org/web/20060712171246/http://www.catholicintl.com/qa/qa.htm#Question%2026
    3) “Christianity is certainly not inherently violent, but unfortunately, Judaism tends to be, because real Judaism considers all non-Jews goyim that are less than animals, and this precipitates a loathing and violence against non-Jews.”
    Question #8: http://web.archive.org/web/20060321002735/http://www.catholicintl.com/qa/2006/qa-jan-06.htm#Question%208
    4) “The Jews…do intend to rule the world. And now the problem is that they want to rule the Catholic Church, too.”
    Question #47: http://web.archive.org/web/20070621152024/http://www.catholicintl.com/qa/2006/qa-nov-06.htm#Question%2047
    5) “You know, the thing about Bill Clinton was, you know, he tried to secure this peace accord between Israel and the Arabs and wasn’t successful with that, and he did some other things that the Jews didn’t like, because<br /><br />
    he got some power under him and he thought he could, you know, do whatever he wanted and then they, you know, they sent Monica Lewinski in there after him, you know, and brought him down.”
    (On national radio, RBN: http://www.lumengentleman.com/audio/sungenis_on_lewinsky.mp3
    6) Sungenis: “I am merely doing the same thing Jesus did when he confronted the sins of the Jews…Unfortunately, the Jews haven’t changed in our day. They are still the same godless racists they
    were in Jesus’ day. Few of them have repented of their sins.” (page 10)
    Sungenis: “The nation of Israel has control of AMDOCS, the central telephone operation in the United States. It’s one way the Mossad spies on American citizens, including you and those you talk to.” (page 30)
    http://www.sungenisandthejews.com/uploads/Sungenis-_Adventures_in_Blogland_April_2007.pdf
    7) “the Jewish element has so infected our Catholic Church today…The infection of Judaism and Zionism has become the number one enemy for us.” #33
    http://web.archive.org/web/20070326171210/http://www.catholicintl.com/qa/qa.htm#Question+33
    Then, of course, there is the matter of Sungenis’ newest calumny against his bishop, made specifically to attempt to provide a justification for ignoring His Excellency’s lawful order for Sungenis to cease and desist writing about Jewish issues of any sort.
    Again, Sungenis does not dispute that he posted these things or said them.

  6. If you would like to see how Sungenis’ prejudice/animus has also tainted even his theological views of Jewish issues, please read these essays:

    http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/2008/02/theology-of-prejudice.html

    http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/2008/02/casb2s-missing-imprimatur-real-reason.html

    http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/2008/02/sungenis-and-new-good-friday-prayer.html

    Again, they are all thoroughly documented with Sungenis’ own words.

  7. It’s unfortunate, but Bob Sungenis has gone way off the deep end. It was bad enough when he was attacking laymen. But now a bishop? The links to the Sungenis and the Jews articles are very helpful to understand what’s been happening, too. Thanks for letting us know.

  8. harrisburg is blessed. thank you all for telling the other side of the story. i was starting to wonder if i was in a cabal of jews and just didn’t know it. I lurk and don’t say much. but it helps to know that people care.

    cheers

  9. In Defense of Authentic Judaism
    The new millennium has brought 9/11 in its first year. War and terrorism followed in its wake. Conspiracy theories flourished. True or false, there is no way to tell for an average guy like me. One thing is certain, though, somebody is lying big time. So what to believe and what not?
    Perhaps the best thing for me to do first is to tell you up front where I come from – literally – and where I stand so you get a more accurate picture of what I believe and where this belief comes from. I am a Germany immigrant, naturalized US citizen, born right after THE war, WWII, of course. I grew up with that national guilt complex like everybody else in that country. I am also a cradle Catholic. For me to say, that what a few demons possessed people did back then, was a horrible nightmare, even after it was over, is an obvious understatement. To peg and find the truth today in a world where lying is a major industry, is no small feat, if you have no reference points.
    There might be some truth to all the proposed conspiracy theories that float around on the net. I am neither denying that nor affirming it. But let me suggest to you, that even if Zionism is real, that does not make all Jews Satanists. Even if there are some Jews who have influence and are rich, does not make a whole race suspect of all wrongs ever committed. It was neither true for Germany not can it be true now for all Jews or all Americans alike. In fact I venture to say that for every rich Jew, there are 10 Gentiles who are equally as rich and influential and are not credited with all the evils happening today. From what I have learned about Judaism in general and Hassidism in particular over the last decade or so I could easily ascertain that they are as good and decent people as any other Christians. After all we have our Protestant prosperity theology and nobody uses that to assail them as the evil of all times. The fair truth is this that there are bad people in every nation and in every race no matter how civilized we pretend to be. I should know and do in fact know very well, historically speaking. There are a few moderate voices out there that already see that this Zionist conspiracy thing – not to label it hysteria – can easily be turned into burning ant-Semitism, which is to say, to blame all Jewish people for all the evil in this world. Yes indeed, people everywhere are conditioned for the first world-wide persecution of all Jews and all of us will the manipulated pawns to make that happen. And if you do then you have exactly what you had in Hitler’s Germany. And we become all guilty of the greater transgressions because we all should have known from history how “they” manufacture persecutions of innocent people and precipitate pogroms on flaming emotions. And I protest the indiscriminate vilification of all Jews summarily in a nation known for rights, justice, and laws. The truth is what my church has been saying all along to the ire of the conservatives and liberals alike that authentic Judaism is a vital part of Christianity. And I venture to say most Jews adhering to Judaism no different than people of all Christian persuasions. They all want to live in peace just like everybody else. And I must say that I personally have learned part of that extravagantly beautiful Hebrew interpretation of Scriptures that has opened up for me unimaginable grandeurs of human dignity and beauty not to say anything about the supernatural world of divinity and magnificence, which is hidden in those Hebrew words. And like all the rest of Christianity, there are liberal Jews and there are orthodox Jews. So let them be. At the very least, I have come to understand the struggle of the Hassidic Jews who tried so hard to remain true to their heritage once they came the US just like me. Nobody wants to assimilate what is bad in American culture, and there are a few things, and that is especially true for immigrants who still see it because they did not grow up with it. But that does not make us any worse than every other good American Christian who live a decent life. But I also have come to know the struggle of Jewish converts to Catholicism and Christianity in general. But America has come to a point where we either can change what is bad or find a scapegoat like they always do when things go wrong as they have as of late. America stands at the threshold of an anti-Semitic hype that far exceeds that of late Germany’s 1930s. Don’t make that mistake 78% Christian America! You above all become traitors to that very faith you profess so ardently not unlike Judas Iscariot if you allow to happen again what you condemned so strongly 70 years ago.

    So what about truth? Our ancient specifically Catholic and Biblical prophesies are safe guides against which we can be compared for veracity current events. And so it happens that it was said long ago that these times will come because people in general have departed from the truth and follow their own lusts. So why do we look for conspiracies when each individual person ought to start looking at their own lives. It was posted on the net that pornographic web hits exceed 40 million a day. There are not that many Jews or atheists in this country or anywhere to blame for just this single event alone. Hysteria by definition is irrational. You do stupid and cruel things in a frenzy like the one engineered now. The truth is more like that we have allowed ourselves to be deceived by our own pride after we became the ‘sole superpower’ after 1991. How wonderful! Three trillion dollars later (to use the only tangible ‘value’ we still are able to understand) we are hated everywhere, destroyed whole nations, including our own, just as Our Lady at Fatima foretold, and counting, and going for more. Goaded on by our enemies we deemed expedient friends, we have slipped into designed moral bankruptcy just like all evil empires. Now we need scapegoats to blame for our failure and immorality in civics and politics, national and international. Even if all those conspiratorial forces had been there at work against us, what happened to our once proud democracy and rule of the people? Look no further than between the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast. Something in this country has happened. And someday we will be victims of our own self-deception especially if we look for convenient scapegoats to masquerade our greed and ambitions and ruthlessness. Our real enemies will be happy to deceive us further for another day’s free lunch. It’s not the Jews! It’s our own system and habits of greed and jealousy. Go talk to your Jewish converts, Christian America! They just might surprise you with the strength of their own convictions, which we have lost and the depth of their understanding of our Scriptures and the beauty and breath of their faith filled insights, the learning, the dedication, the spirit of brotherhood – much like the early Christians. Even we smug, long time Christians could learn some real lessons in authentic Christianity derived from authentic Judaism.

  10. I am very sorry about this whole sorry affair. Much prayer and fasting is needed. The devil most certainly has a hand in this. Divide and conquer.

  11. To Bruno, I say, AMEN brother. Your words brought tearms to my eyes. You are so right.

    To Jane, I have said for years that the Devil has so obvioulsy attacked, and continues to, in two places — the Jews (Gods chosen) and the Church (God’s Bride). It seems so obvious throughout history.

  12. With all due respect, the following quote from Bishop Rhoads constitutes a shocking dereliction of his duty to defend the Catholic faith against heresy.

    The quote in question, from page 131 of the US Adult Catechsim, explicitly states that “the covenant God made with the Jews through Moses remains eternally valid for them”.

    Any seventh grade Catholic with a rudimentary Catecssim, or anyone who has bothered to read the New Testament, knows that the above statement is a lie and an heresy.

    Just to remove any doubt:

    2 Cor 3:11, 14 (citations could be multiplied by the doezens, needless to say):

    “11 For if what faded away came with splendor, what is permanent must
    have much more splendor….14 But their minds were hardened; for to this
    day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted,
    because only through Christ is it taken away.”

    For Bishop Rhoades to respond to the explicitly heretical falsehood on page 131 of the Catechism as he does below, is a shocking dereliction of his duty to defend the faith:

    “Bishop Rhoades: I do not interpret anything on page 131 of the U.S. Catechism for Adults to mean that the Jewish people (or any group) have their own independent saving path to God, outside of Jesus Christ. I can see how the one statement that “the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them” might be misunderstood. I would interpret it to mean that the Jewish people retain a special relationship to God because of the Old Covenant, but I would not interpret it to mean that the Jewish people can be saved through the Old Covenant apart from Christ.”

    He “does not interpret it”? He “interprets it to mean?” He “can see how the statement….might be misunderstood?”

    This Bishop is a shocking example of everything that has gone wrong with our episcopacy since the advent of the beaureacrats’ nightmare USCCB

    Shame on you, Bishop Rhoades.

    May God bless Robert Sunbgenis who upholds the Catholic faith against all who would sell it out for a mess of pottage.

  13. Rick, with all due respect, you’re betting on the wrong horse here.

    So, in your estimation, the quoted passage from page 131 of the United States Adult Catechism is “a lie and an [sic] heresy.” Who kidnapped the Magisterium and put you in charge?

    Bishop Rhoades provided a reasonable, orthodox interpretation of the quote from p. 131.

    Apparently, to satisfy you, he needed to adopt and make his own your (i.e., Bob Sungenis’) misinterpretation of the quoted passage as being what our supposedly wicked shepherds actually intended–and after doing so accuse these wicked shepherds of teaching heresy.

    Shame on you, Rick.

  14. Leon: Rick, with all due respect, you’re betting on the wrong horse here.

    >>Leon, with all due respect, I don’t bet horses, and I don’t congratulate Bishops who equivocate instead of condemning damnable heresies from the deepest pit of hell. An example of such an heresy, Leon, is the heretical and disgraceful lie found on page 131 of the USCCB Adult Catechism, the heretical lie that “the covenant God made with the Jews through Moses remains eternally valid for them.”.

    Leon:So, in your estimation, the quoted passage from page 131 of the United States Adult Catechism is “a lie and an [sic] heresy.” Who kidnapped the Magisterium and put you in charge?

    The magisterium, Leon, has already expressed the infallible truth which you, your shameful website, and the shameful Bishop have failed to uphold. If you have a shred of integrity left, then read this and post your sincere repentance:

    Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, para. 29: “…the New Testament took the place of the Old Law
    which had been abolished…but on the gibbet of His death Jesus made void the Law with its
    decrees fastened the handwriting of the Old Testament to the Cross”;
    • The Catechism of the Council of Trent: “…the people, aware of the abrogation of the Mosaic
    Law…”;
    • Council of Florence: “that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, of the Mosaic
    law…although they were suited to the divine worship at that time, after our Lord’s coming had
    been signified by them, ceased, and the sacraments of the New Testament began”;
    • Council of Trent: “but not even the Jews by the very letter of the law of Moses were able to be
    liberated or to rise therefrom”;

    Now, Leon, that is the Catholic magisterium. If I were you, Leon, I would stop betting the ponies and start defending the Faith.

    Leon:Bishop Rhoades provided a reasonable, orthodox interpretation of the quote from p. 131.

    No, Leon. Bishop Phoades told us that he interprets the sentence “therefore the covenant God made with the Jews through Moses remains eternally valid for them”, to mean the covenant God made with the Jews through Moses does not remain eternally valid for them.

    This is a shamelful form of political backside-covering.

    Those who read the actual magisterial statements above, along with the New Testament citations below, will see that the statement on page 131 of the USCCB Adult Catechism is a lie, an heresy, and a scandalous outrage against the Catholic Faith.

    Hebrews 7:18: “On the one hand, a former commandment is annulled because of its weakness
    and uselessness…”;
    • Hebrews 10:9: “Then he says, ‘Behold, I come to do your will.’ He takes away the first
    [covenant] to establish the second [covenant]…”;
    • 2 Corinthians 3:14: “For to this day when they [the Jews] read the Old Covenant, that same veil
    remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away”;
    • Hebrews 8:7: “For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have
    been sought for another”;
    • Colossians 2:14: “Having canceled the written code, with its decrees, that was against us and
    stood opposed to us; He took it away nailing it to the cross”;

    Leon:Apparently, to satisfy you, he needed to adopt and make his own your (i.e., Bob Sungenis’) misinterpretation of the quoted passage

    There is no use trying to wiggle off the hook here, Leon. Everyone who has read the citations knows the statement is a damnable lie and heresy, and not all of your shameful tap-dancing is going to prevent those of us who understand the stakes to continue to expose both the heretical statement on page 131, and Bsihop Rhoades’ shameful equivocatrions upon it.

    Leon: as being what our supposedly wicked shepherds actually intended–and after doing so accuse these wicked shepherds of teaching heresy.

    >>Any Bishop, priest, layman, laywoman, consecrated religious, or catechumen who holds and teaches that the Mosaic covenant remains eternally valid, is guilty of holding an heretical and false perversion of the Catholic faith, and therefore all faithful Catholics will attempt to bring them back to the TYrue faith, as outlined exhaustively by the very capable Dr. Sungenis in his paper, and as summarized by me above.

    Leon:
    Shame on you, Rick.

    >>>Leon, I suggest you change bookies.

  15. For the sake of others who might be reading this, you should know that Mr. DeLano is a devoted Sungenis follower who considers Sungenis to be “a true Catholic hero.”

    http://weblog.xanga.com/weblogitem.aspx?user=bellarmineforum&uid=639193632#1404259727

    He feels justified in publicly condemning a successor to the Apostles for not criticizing this sentence of the USCCA when, where, and how he deems necessary. We see no evidence of any reflection at all by Mr. DeLano on the context of Bishop Rhoades statement, the circumstances, and legitimate reasons why His Excellency might have responded as he did. It’s simply a rush to absolute, unreserved condemnation, and shame heaped upon Bishop Rhoades (and those who come to his defense), apparently in an attempt to defend his friend, Robert Sungenis. Unfortunately, it appears that he is following the example of Sungenis himself in all this.

    As Mr. DeLano clearly has no hesitation about publicly expressing his condemnation of even a successor to the Apostles, where may we find his criticisms of all the scandal and harm caused by Mr. Sungenis over the last six years? It would seem they are nowhere to be found. In fact, in this very same comment at Sungenis’ website, Mr. DeLano says that “Bob Sungenis is not the problem. His teaching is not evil.”

    Many other people disagree, including Bob Sungenis’ ordinary, Bishop Rhoades.

    In addition, others of you may be aware that that Bob Sungenis published a lengthy rebuttal in response to Bishop Rhoades’ statements. The remainder of this comment is an email I sent to someone who forwarded me this rebuttal shortly after it was published:

    Dear _____,

    Thank you for forwarding a link to Bob Sungenis’ response to Bishop Rhoades. A friend of Bob’s wrote me a couple days ago, concerned that Bob was writing a document that was going to attack the bishop, as well as the USCCB and CUF. He asked me what he should say to Bob to try to stop him from doing that. Here’s what I said:

    “I honestly don’t know what I could add to your commitment to pray for him and your plea that he submit to his bishop in this matter. You’re absolutely right—if he changes his tune it would be a most edifying example to all the faithful, especially those who have followed Bob’s career as an apologist. Let’s pray for that.

    “Rest assured that I personally have no axe to grind with Bob. He is a very bright man and a prolific writer. God bless him.”

    Despite the efforts of this friend and perhaps others to dissuade Bob from continuing down this road, he’s gone ahead and published this response.

    Maybe this type of “apologetics” is commonplace in some quarters, but I still found it very offensive. I’m accused of being his enemy or opponent, dripping with hatred, jealousy, and malice, and seeking his destruction. He also calls me a liar—not only through his reference to “slanderous” things on various blogs, but more specifically in this paragraph:

    “The interview of the bishop was recently advertised on the website of Catholics United for the Faith, with its president, Leon Suprenant, as the interlocutor. Although Mr. Suprenant begins his remarks by making some personal charges against me, I will simply ignore them. All I will say is that they are untrue, all of them. I will only address the theological assertions that Mr. Suprenant presents from Bishop Rhoades.”

    The only “fact” he asserts about me is that I’m president of Catholics United for the Faith, which is false, because I stepped down from that position last year. Then he characterizes my comments as “personal charges” and summarily says that they are all untrue. This from the guy who on the previous page cited canon 220 of the Code of Canon Law: “No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses nor to injure the right of any person to protect his or her own privacy.”

    I’m surely a sinner, but I am an honest man of integrity who has devoted much of his adult life to the service of the Church. And in this particular instance, I was defending a successor of the Apostles whom Bob has unjustly attacked and to whose legitimate jurisdiction Bob will not submit. He obviously doesn’t like what I had to say, so he attacks my character and good reputation. Further, he seems to treat that as a minor matter, as something he chooses to “ignore” (once it’s publicly asserted). I don’t think that’s how Christians—even apologetics gunslingers—should treat others.

    My own grievance pales in comparison to Bishop Rhoades’ (and the U.S. bishops’), so I guess I’m in good company. I also find it absurd that Bishop Rhoades, the USCCB, and CUF need to respond to his gauntlet of challenges or we’re “suspect of heresy.” Give me a break! I care very much about Bob and I pray that he is able to peaceably work things out with his bishop. At the same time, my busy world does not revolve around Bob, and I just don’t have the time and inclination to pursue the matter further with him, especially given the manner in which he chooses to “dialogue.”

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Leon Suprenant

  16. LS:For the sake of others who might be reading this, you should know that Mr. DeLano is a devoted Sungenis follower who considers Sungenis to be “a true Catholic hero.”

    >>Leon, why would you consider it necessary to descend to the argumentum ad hominem? Is it because you cannot respond to my valid citations from Catholic magisterial sources and Scripture, above?

    You see, Leon, one does not gain any brownie points merely by practicing the odious and transparent tactic of “guilt by association”, when the issue here is not Robert Sungenis, but rather the heretical, false and outrageous scandal perpetrated in the USCCB Adult Catechsim.

    http://weblog.xanga.com/weblogitem.aspx?user=bellarmineforum&uid=639193632#1404259727

    But now that you mention it, I am happy to confirm that I consider Dr. Sungenis’ work against the awful spread of the “Mosaic Covenant is eternally valid” mega-heresy to be splendid in its scholarship, thoroughness, and most importantly, Catholic orthodoxy.

    LS:He feels justified in publicly condemning a successor to the Apostles for not criticizing this sentence of the USCCA when, where, and how he deems necessary.

    >>Actually, Leon, you are just digging yourself a deeper hole here, since the fair-minded observer can read above my citation of successors of the Apostles who unanimously confirm the explicit teaching of Scripture, Councils, Popes, and Doctors, to the effect that the Mosaic Covenant is superseded and replaced by the New Covenant.

    It were an act of ignoble dereliction for any Catholic to fail to support the true successors of the Apostles- the Popes, Councils, and Doctors of the Church of all ages- who have repeatedly, explicitly, and infallibly assured us that the statement on page 131 of the USCCB Adult Catechism represents a scandal, an outrage, an heresy, and a blight upon that body.

    It is a great shame that Bishop Rhoades decided to play “I choose to interpret this to mean….” instead of condemning the heresy.

    LS:We see no evidence of any reflection at all by Mr. DeLano on the context of Bishop Rhoades statement,

    >>But the mere fact that you do not see something, constitutes no evidence at all that it is not there. In fact, I have been in extensive correspondence with my Bishop for over a year on this question, and have informed him that I reject the statement as heretical, that if anyone attempts to teach the heresy in my hearing I will resist them to their face, and that there is no possibility whatsoever that I will allow my children to be taught such an evil and foul heresy.

    I have not been admonished, silenced, or otherwise reprimanded, and therefore I am perfectly within my Christian liberties to call this heresy exactly what it is: an heresy.

    LS:the circumstances, and legitimate reasons why His Excellency might have responded as he did.

    >>His Excellency has decided that the appropriate response to a damned lie and heresy, is to “choose to interpret it” as if it did not say what it in fact says.

    In truth, Leon, words have meanings, and Bishops are called to defend the faithful against false teaching.

    Make no mistake, Leon. “The Mosaic covenant remains eternally valid” is a FALSE TEACHING.

    Shame on the Bishop for not saying so clearly.
    Shame on him.

    LS:It’s simply a rush to absolute, unreserved condemnation, and shame heaped upon Bishop Rhoades (and those who come to his defense), apparently in an attempt to defend his friend, Robert Sungenis. Unfortunately, it appears that he is following the example of Sungenis himself in all this.

    >>You do me too much honor, but I thank you for saying so. Bob has done a truly marvellous job against the Eugene Fischers of this world on this specific scandal, and I am proud to hear you say that I am with him. On this crucially important question, I most certainly am.

    LS:As Mr. DeLano clearly has no hesitation about publicly expressing his condemnation of even a successor to the Apostles,

    >>Excuse me, Leon. Look up at my last post, and you will find that I quoted the actual successors of the Apostles, as well as the APOSTLES THEMSELVES.

    It is Bishop Rhoades and other Bishop-supporters and/or equivocators of the “Mosaic covenant remain valid” mega-heresy who have failed in their duty to obey the magisterium of the Catholic Church in this regard.

    It is up to the laity, in any such case, to stand with the true magisterium (Lumen Gentium #25).

    The USCCB is not granted any authority whatsoever to reverse the authoritative teaching of Scripture, as unanimously interpreted by the Fathers, Doctors, Popes, and Councils of the Church.

    Therefore, our duty is to cry out to the very heavens against this evil heresy, and to insist that the shpherds cease equivocations and excise this heresy from public distribution.

  17. Unfortunately, as Dr. Sungenis has pointed out, Bp. Rhoades’ answers are carefully crafted so as to avoid a clear assent to the perennial infallible doctrine of supersesssion and a clear rejection of the prevalent Double Covenant heresy.
    http://www.catholicintl.com/articles/My%20Response%20to%20Bishop%20Rhoades%20Re%20Old%20Covenant.pdf

    Messrs. Suprenant, Forrest, Sippo, and all the rest of Dr. Sungenis’s detractors, I ask you a simple question. Do you wholeheartedly embrace the definitions of the infallible dogmatic Council of Florence that the Mosaic Covenant has been superseded?

    “§ 712 It [the Holy Catholic Church] firmly believes, professes, and teaches that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, of the Mosaic law, which are divided into ceremonies, sacred rites, sacrifices, and sacraments, because they were established to signify something in the future, although they were suited to Divine worship at that time, after our Lord’s coming had been signified by them, ceased, and the Sacraments of the New Testament began; and that whoever, even after the passion, placed hope in these matters of law and submitted himself to them as necessary for salvation, as if faith in Christ could not save without them, sinned mortally. Yet it does not deny that after the passion of Christ up to the promulgation of the Gospel they could have been observed until they were believed to be in no way necessary for salvation; but after the promulgation of the Gospel it asserts they cannot be observed without the loss of eternal salvation. All, therefore, who after that time observe circumcision and the Sabbath and the other requirements of the law, it declares alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation, unless someday they recover from these errors….
    “§714 The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, and heretics, and schismatics, can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil, and his angels,’ (Matthew 25:41) unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this Ecclesiastical Body, that only those remaining within this unity can profit from the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and that they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, alms deeds, and other works of Christian piety and duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”
    —Cantate Domino, from the infallible ecumenical Council of Florence under His Holiness Pope Eugene IV defining the Solemn Doctrine: Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, promulgated by papal bull, February 4, 1444 [Florentine calendar] in Denziger Enchiridion Symbolorum, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, § 712-714

  18. It is very revealing that, when confronted with Magisterium, you revert to ad hominem against Mr. DeLano and all others who challenge you. Self-laudatory subjectivity and personality play are your stock in trade, not at all marks of Catholicism.

  19. A few additional comments and clarifications:

    (1) Let’s not forget the original context of this post:

    “These statements have arisen in the context of Sungenis’ writings concerning Judaism and the Jewish people, which many, including Bishop Rhoades, have found to be hostile, uncharitable, and un-Christian in their tone and erroneous in their content. Further, such writings, while purporting to present authentic Catholic teaching, do not follow the teaching and approach of the Second Vatican Council, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI on this subject.”

    (2) The concerns regarding Bob Sungenis’ material did not pertain to Bob’s interpretation of p. 131 of the U.S. Adult Catechism. This is a red herring that simply deflects attention away from Bob’s unwillingness to accept the authority of his bishop.

    (3) The approach of the Second Vatican Council was to affirm elements of truth–and the possibility of salvation–wherever they could be found. That does not mean that other churches or religions are separate “means of salvation,” but rather, it means that those who have not knowingly rejected Christ and who have remained faithful to the truth that they have been given can be saved, through Christ, the one savior of the world.

    (4) There have been exaggerations of this view, specifically with regard to Judaism, that are inimical to the Catholic faith. Sometimes this is referred to as the “dual covenant” theory–that Christians have their covenant and the Jews have theirs. Under this view, there is no apparent need for Jews to convert, because they have their own saving covenant.

    (5) The U.S. Adult Catechism, in its treatment of this issue, should have been more clear, especally in light of the concern set forth in the preceding paragraph. It is to be earnestly hoped that the sentence on p. 131 regarding the “eternal validity” of the Mosaic covenant will eventually be amended and clarified so as to affirm the abrogation of the Mosaic Law with the advent of its New Covenant fulfillment.

    (6) In the meantime, page 131 of the U.S. Adult Catechism should be interpreted in a favorable light, without assuming heresy or ill motives. Indeed, it would be sinful to do otherwise (see Catechism, nos. 2477-78). Further, it should be interpreted in light of everything else we know to be true by virtue of our faith.

    (7) Further, and in keeping with the principles just set forth, Bishop Rhoades has offered a fully orthodox interpretation of p. 131 of the Adult Catechism, even though he admits that as worded the disputed passage may be misunderstood. Bishop Rhoades’ christocentric interpretation sounds strikingly similar to Pope Benedict’s revised Good Friday prayer.

    (8) Orthodox Catholics are rightly concerned about inter-religious “dialogue” and statements regarding Catholic-Jewish relations which lean toward a “dual covenant” approach. However, those legitimate concerns will be lost in the shuffle if Bob Sungenis becomes their spokesman, given his long track record of problematic statements concerning the Jewish people, not to mention his unwillingness to accept the authority of his own bishop.

    (9) Let us pray for Bob’s reconciliation with his bishop, as we also pray, in keeping with Romans 11 and Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate, for the Jews, that their eyes may be opened to see that Jesus Christ is truly the awaited Messiah and the Savior of all mankind.

  20. Mr. Suprenant,

    Thank you for your many careful, thoughtful and clear explanations on these matters. It remains encouraging for us Catholics that, even after such close examination as you constantly provide, the Church is proven to be consistent and authentic in its teaching.

    We share your frustration that there are some who, perhaps led by pride, seek attention by making inaccurate accusations against CUF, USCCB and the even the Catholic Church itself. Please know that your readers are grateful for what you do, and share in your disappointment that you must sometimes be called upon to respond to such hostile yet unwarranted attacks.

    We thank you and all of CUF for your tireless and painstaking work on so many fronts. Please accept our sincere and heartfelt thanks.

  21. The prerequisite for Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God is the belief in his resurrection: it is only through his resurrection and subsequent ascent to heaven that the executed criminal can prove that he is indeed the Son of God. Our rabbinic texts, all in the Bavli [Babylonian Talmud], emphasize that Jesus, the new Balaam, does not have a portion in the world to come: his fate is that he must be punished in hell forever, with no chance of redemption–and the same is true for his followers: they better give up any hope of earning eternal life in his succession, as his apostles promise … Jesus is punished by forever sitting in hell in the excrement of his followers, who believe that through eating his flesh and drinking his blood, they will live forever. (Princeton Judaic Studies Director and Professor Peter Schafer, Jesus in the Talmud, Princeton University Press, pp.111, 113)

  22. The above excerpt from the Babylonian Talmud merely expresses the most vicious kind of Jewish diatribe against the “Christian claims” which, in turn, has sadly fed the most vicious kind of Anti-Semitism. Doubtless, most Jews today are not even aware of those sentiments uttered at a time when anti-Christian polemics (based on a denial of the Resurrection of Christ)were the most fierce. If I recall, the Babylonian Talmud was written long after the Gospels which represent the earliest testimonies to the historicity of Christ’s Resurrection.It is the latter which warrant credibility, not the vile invective found in the Babylonian Talmud. Perhaps readers may inform us as to what modern Jewish authorities think of such sentiments regarding Jesus’ followers.

  23. Diego, going with the rabbinic texts you present, they illustrate an aspect of the radical choice Jesus’ Jewish disciples made in following him. If wrong, they burn in hell for contravening the Covenant. Your comment clearly assumes they were wrong, but this is something that must be shown. Further, your comment brings to mind the question, “what did the disciples see in Jesus to make them leave the safety of the Mosaic Law?”

  24. It seems a bit inaccurate to treat the Old Covenant as something fundamentally distinct from the New Covenant, something that ended with the coming of Christ.

    The Old Covenant was given to the Jews in the context of and as a preparation for the coming of the Messiah! Hence, the Old Testament is an essential part of Christian Revelation. Those Jews who are baptized don’t abandon the Old Covenant, but experience its fulfillment. This fulfillment is not in the sense of a termination but a flowering. Jesus said He didn’t come to destroy the Old Covenant but to fulfill it.

    Jews in the Old Testament were saved not by the written law, but by their faith in the promised Messiah — the same Messiah by faith in Whom Christians are saved.

    Vatican II teaches that non-Christians can be saved through grace by faith in Christ that is only implicit. Jews have an implicit — almost explicit — faith in Christ because the Messiah, by faith in Whom they can be saved, is in fact the Lord Jesus Christ, Who they don’t explicitly recognize. Thus Old Covenant Jews are already believers in Christ, through faith in Whom they can be saved, even though they don’t recognize Jesus as the Christ.

    So at least in this sense, the Old Covenant can be a means of salvation for the Jews, not apart from Christ but because of its explicit promise of Christ as the Messiah.

  25. While the Abrahamic covenant could be regarded as eternal (since as Christians, we are considered children of the promise), the covenant made through Moses cannot be considered eternally valid (for anyone, Jew or Gentile). The Mosaic covenant has clearly been abrogated as testified by the scriptures, the consensus of the Church fathers, and the Church Councils (e.g., Rom 7:1-25; 2 Cor 3:4-18; Gal 3:10-11; 4:21-31; Eph 2:15; Heb 7:18; 8:7-8, 13; 10:9; St. Augustine; St Thomas Aquinas; Council of Florence; Council of Trent). Paul goes to great pains to contrast the covenant made with Abraham and the covenant made through Moses.

    William says, “Thus Old Covenant Jews are already believers in Christ, through faith in Whom they can be saved, even though they don’t recognize Jesus as the Christ.” As regards the implicit faith of the Jews, we cannot presume that to be the case. We should err on the side of caution and presume that their faith is not implicit just as St. Paul does, which is why Paul would have considered himself cursed by Christ if possible for the sake of his kinsmen that he might save some of them. This would be quite drastic if he were assuming that the Jews faith were implicit.

    The Jewish people are beloved of God on account of the patriarchs; for as Paul says, “They are Israelites; theirs the adoption [as sons], the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah” (Rom 9:4-5). “For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29), which is precisely why the proclamation of the new and everlasting covenant in Christ Jesus must be clear and unambiguous – for both Jew and Gentile. “For they (the Israelites), if they do not remain in their unbelief, will be grafted in again, for God is able to graft them in again” (Rom 11:23).

  26. In Christ Abraham’s posterity is blessed, because in him the whole world receives the adoption of sons, and in him the patriarch becomes the father of all nations through the birth, not from human stock but by faith, of the descendants that were promised to him. From every nation on earth, without exception, Christ forms a single flock of those he has sanctified, daily fulfilling the promise he once made: I have other sheep, not of this fold, whom it is also ordained that I shall lead; and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

    Pope St. Leo the Great

  27. I don’t know who Williams is, nor do I care. However, I do take exception when an indivdual repeatedly keeps saying, “We should err on the side of caution and presume…” This is wrong. Scripture does not err on the side of caution and presume anything. Scripture is very clear on what we should and should not do. There are no longer any Jews or Greeks; there are only Jesus Christ decisple. What is so difficult about understanding that simple fact? The Old Covenant is over; and was over when Jesus Christ shed his blood for us. The Jews have to understand that they no longer are under the old covenant. On the day that Jesus Christ stood with the two prophets/priest, the old was cleansed and the new began. If the Jewish people want to believe in the Old Covenant, let them. GOD will deal with them when he is ready to deal with them. All we have to do is tell them once, tell them with a witness, tell them before the altar; then, leave it alone, just as GOD said, HE will also leave them alone. If this is not true, then where are their prophets? GOD has not sent anyone else to them but his son. If they didn’t accept HIM, then they will never accept anyone; therefore, it is pointless to discuss the issue of whether they should abide by the Old Covenant or accept the New Covenant. The Jewish people are still responding as they did when Jesus said, “Eat my body and drink my blood.” To the Jews of past, this was an abomination. To the Jews of the present, it is still an abomination because they can comprehend that we can “spiritually” consume his body and blood. I do it every day and in return I ask GOD through his SON Jesus Christ to release 100,000 souls from purgatory to praise him and love him until I can be there to do the job myself. Thank you, may GOD BLESS YOU through Jesus Christ; and, bow your knee to the one who trully can save your soul. It will not be Moses, or Abraham, or David; only through Jesus Christ will you get to HIS father, GOD.

    C

  28. Once again, the skirting of the issue continues. I really am beginning to wonder what part of “Supercede the old law” people do not understand. The legalistic, or juridicial, nature of the old law, which was of an exterior nature, was repetatively smashed and forever broken. Through God’s mercy, Grace filled this vacuum, and the interior covenant through Christ superseded. Eternal life! “Christ fulfills the devine promise and supersedes the old law.” John Paul II

    Seems Sungenis has is right. The most Christian and merciful thing to do is to let the world know that Christ is the answer. He is the only life of the soul.

  29. TP,

    Perhaps before charging anyone with “skirting the issue”, you might want to review the entirety of what Bishop Rhoades wrote rather than Sungenis’ serious mischaracterization of it. His Excellency unequivocally affirmed that there is only one salvific economy, that which is through Jesus Christ and His Church. And he unequivocally affirmed the Church’s missionary mandate, a mandate to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Jewish people.

    Quote #1: Bishop Rhoades: “It is not correct to speak of two independent covenants in effect today, one for Jews and one for Gentiles, since Jesus is the only Savior who continues His saving work in the Church and by means of the Church, His Body. There is only one salvific economy.”

    Quote #2: “The Church is called to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all peoples, including the Jewish people. This is the Church’s missionary mandate, received from Christ. This is why I so strongly support and promote the Propagation of the Faith and the Church’s missionary endeavors.”

    Everyone directly involved in this discussion, most certainly including Bishop Rhoades, believes that all men, whether Jewish, Hindu or whatever background, need Jesus Christ and His Church. No one is saved without Christ.

    Sungenis has attempted to obfuscate the real reasons he has been told to stop writing about Jewish issues by Bishop Rhoades.

    The real reasons for his difficulties have been and continue to be:

    + The extremely contentious, condemnatory, and antagonistic tone Sungenis is either unwilling or unable to contain when writing about anything Jewish.

    + The false, bigoted and offensive content Sungenis often employs in making his arguments on Jewish issues, including even those of a theological nature.

    And of his anti-Jewish tone and content, even Sungenis himself once acknowledged:

    “It caused confusion regarding what is and is not the authentic position of the Catholic Church towards the Jewish people.” (Sungenis, Catholic Apologetics International and Its Teaching on the Jews, p. 1)

    For Sungenis, it is not enough to simply disagree with Jews or Judaism and to provide the evidence. He simply can’t restrain himself from simultaneously providing bigoted “evidence” that they are conspiring to “rule the world” and “the Catholic Church, too” (Question 47) or that they are an “infection” (article). And he continues to do such things even very recently, after promising yet again that he wouldn’t. Further, even when caught red-handed, he regularly resists retracting and apologizing for what he has done.

    And now he is back at his incendiary controversialism against Jews after promising that he would not return to it (using some of the same anti-Semites that commenced the controversy in the first place):

    http://bellarminetfnews.blogspot.com/2008/05/jim-condit-warns-of-abcs-jesus-mary-and.html

    Of course, then there are these to consider as well:

    http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/2008/02/theology-of-adl-conspiracy-theories.html,

    http://www.culturewars.com/Reviews/JRSAd.pdf,

    http://www.catholicintl.com/articles/The%20Revolutionary%20Jew%20Review.pdf

    and
    http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/2008/02/when-like-finds-like.html

    Robert Sungenis: “any future dealings that I have with the Jews, whether on our website or in published articles, will only concern the theological side of things. As you can see by the Jewish material presently on our website, every article is about theological matters, and that will always be the policy of our apostolate from here on out… I will not be expressing those (Jewish, non-theological) opinions in my speeches, articles, website or any other public venue. Again, I will only be expressing my thoughts in public that deal with the theological dimensions, as our apostolate has done for the past several months. ” (January 25, 2008)

    Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose:

    http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/2008/02/saying-peace-when-there-is-no-peace.html

    More documentation for what I have written may be found at this link:
    http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/2008/03/by-sungenis-alone_29.html#eight

    If you want to read about Sungenis’ bad faith with Bishop Rhoades, I would suggest reading these two sections:

    http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/2008/03/by-sungenis-alone_29.html#twelve

    http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/2008/03/by-sungenis-alone_29.html#21

  30. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

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