21 November 2013

Replacement Theology preached in Mount Lawley

Last weekend I attended a talk entitled
“The Pope: The ‘Prime Minister’ of the New Israel”
at St Paul’s Catholic Church in Mt Lawley.
It was part of a weekend conference themed: “I Make All Things New!” presented by Robert Haddad, Head, New Evangelisation, Catholic Education Office, Sydney.
On 21 October 2013, when I first became aware of the conference and this particular talk, I emailed Mr Haddad an invitation to discuss the thesis of his talk, by email, phone or in person. At the time of publication (21 November 2013) he had not yet responded.

Robert Haddad

In his talk, Mr Haddad suggested:
• The “Old Israel” is the Jewish People, descendants of Abraham, who after the exodus from Egypt settled in Canaan, displacing the former inhabitants;
• 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel were dispersed by the Assyrians and “lost forever”;
• The remaining 2 tribes were later exiled to Babylon;
• The “remnant” of the Jewish people later returned to Israel;
• This “remnant” was dispersed by the Romans and their “fidelity” to G-d over the millennia has been questionable; and
• The (Catholic) Church is the “New Israel”.

Mr Haddad made no mention whatsoever of the modern State of Israel.

He suggested that Jesus showed grace to non-Jews in Canaan and is since then, the eternal “King” of the “New Israel”, a universal church. He went on to suggest that Jesus’s disciple Peter was the first “Prime Minister” of the “New Israel”, and that the Roman Popes since then are the subsequent “Prime Ministers” of the “New Israel”.

During the Q&A, when asked how it could be that several Popes had clearly committed grievous sins, Mr Haddad explained that they were still human, with free will, and could commit sins. However the teachings of those Popes were proper teachings of God’s word that needed no retraction. Thus the Popes are “infallible, but not impeccable”.

From Wikipedia:
Supersessionism, fulfillment theology, and replacement theology are terms long used for the biblical interpretation that the Church supersedes or replaces Israel in God's plan, and that the New Covenant nullifies the Biblical promises made to Israel, including the Abrahamic Covenant, The Land Covenant, and the Davidic Covenant…viewing the Christian Church as the inheritor of the promises made with the children of Israel...
More recently, supersessionism and replacement theology are also applied to the parallel case of Islam and its attitude towards Christianity and Judaism.

From Jewish Virtual Library:
…High level dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Jewish people is undertaken by the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee (ILC)...
The 1985 meeting of the ILC took place on October 28–30 in Rome, and was a major commemoration and reassessment of the publication 20 years previously of Nostra Aetate no. 4, part of the "Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to non-Christian Religions," the Second Vatican Council document which paved the way for the subsequent development of Catholic attitudes to Jews and Judaism. The progress which had taken place in the intervening years was evaluated, a program for the future outlined, and the importance attached by the Church to the proceedings emphasized by an audience with Pope John Paul II...
The most substantial discussions at the Rome meeting, however, were in connection with the newly prepared Vatican document, "Notes on the correct way to present the Jews and Judaism in preaching and catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church." This "internal" Church document, intended to develop the teaching of Nostra Aetate and to help integrate it into the everyday life of the Church, met with a mixed response from the Jewish delegation.

On the positive side, the State of Israel was for the first time mentioned in a Vatican document, Jewish suffering in the Holocaust recognized, the "ongoing spiritual vitality of Judaism" to modern times appreciated, and guidance given on how to interpret New Testament texts without deriving antisemitism from them.
On the other hand, Jews were upset that they had not been fully consulted in preparing the document, felt that treatment of the Holocaust failed to acknowledge any Christian guilt, were dissatisfied with the lack of a positive theological evaluation of Israel, and detected inconsistencies in the theological sections, including remnants of typology and "replacement theology."

From “Christians and Jews: Starting Over - Why the Real Dialogue Has Just Begun” by Luke Timothy Johnson:
The Second Vatican Council's ecumenically path breaking Nostra aetate (Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions) disavows any basis in Scripture for regarding Jews as "repudiated or cursed by God," but precedes that line with the bald statement, "the church is the new people of God." And while deploring "the hatred, persecutions, and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at any time and from any source,"
Nostra aetate fails to acknowledge the church as one of those sources and takes no account of the Holocaust or the papacy's inadequate performance in the face of the Nazi regime.
"A unilateral pronouncement by one party which presumes to redress on its own terms a wrong that it does not admit," was how Rabbi David Polish responded to the declaration.
The same combination of contrition and obtuseness has too often characterized subsequent Vatican statements and gestures.
…[Supersessionism] led to the persecution and murder of Jews. …Christians need to do more than make symbolic gestures or eloquent apologies. They need to pray for the mercy of God and ask for the prayers of those Jews who have survived their savage stupidity. Most of all, they need to repent. The word means change...