From: Ben Grimm Sent: Wednesday, August 14, 2002 10:25 AM
To: Father Phil Bloom
Subject: RE: Please Tell Me You Don't Agree With This

Are you insinuating that the decision of the Bishops
is a fabricated story from the globe.  That would be a
crime of slander in itself.  No, unfortunately it is
the truth as I will provide the link for you. 

In love I ask you to answer just one simple question. 
Why did the apostles have a desire to evangelize to
the Jews?  You cannot ignore Scripture on this issue
as it clearly shows what their mission was.  

The Boston Globe has exposed the largest and most vile
scandal in the history of any institution known to man
and has done it by having the Boston Arhdiocese own
sealed records on this matter opened.  Does exposing
truth bother you.  I guess so since it exposes the
institution in which you belong.  This is sad.  This 
is this very attitude that has kept 1000's of children
in harm's way for too long and I commend the globe for
their actions and the way they continue to keep
faithful catholics in tune with those events that the
arcdiocese not only continues to hide but is now
spending $miilions in court to fight.  

How sad again.  I read the depositions of cardinal Law
and quite frankly this (Harvard graduate) offered
little memory of any substantial event surrounding an
abused child or admitted abuser.  I do find it odd
though how he remembered many other very insignificant
things.  Then I remember Rome's own teachings on Lying
and I realize that this Harvard graduate is not as
absent minded as one might think.  His use of the
doctrine of "Mental Reservation" is done with the same
cold calculations that he used in hiding, promoting,
and reasigning these criminals. Examples:

"Mental reservation is allowable only when we are
driven into a corner by captious questions about a
matter which we have a grave reason and a right to
keep secret, and when we have no other escape" 
(Question Box, 1929 Ed., 433-434)

"There is a difference between a religious and legal
oath......If he pronounces a formula that expresses an
oath, without the intention of swearing, then he has
sworn nothing." (Explanation of Catholic Morals, 129)

"However, we are also under an obligation to keep
secrets faithfully, and sometimes the easiest way of
fulfilling that duty is to say what is false, or tell
a lie." (Cath. Ency., X, 195)

(Under Article of Perjury): "When mental reservation
is permissable, it is lawful to corroborate one's
utterance by an oath, if there be adequate cause."
(Cath. Ency., XI, 696)

I humbly and appreciatively await your answer.


From: Ben Grimm []
Sent: Wednesday, August 21, 2002 6:25 AM
To: Father Phil Bloom
Subject: RE: Please Tell Me You Don't Agree With This

Again, in light of the Scripture that I provided and
the 1000's of other verses in God's Word that support
evangelization of the Jews, do you agree with this
decision?  It's either yes or no.


Dear Ben,

I appreciate your emails and the Scripture quotes (which I entirely agree with) but I am afraid this will be like one of those old Roseanne Roseannadanna skits. Remember how she would give an impassioned commentary, but then be told she had gotten this original premise wrong? E.g.:

Roseanne: "Why is everyone so worried about violins on television? I like violins. They make beautiful music. I wish there were more violins on television."

Other commentator: "That's violence, Roseanne."

Roseanne: "Oh. That's very different. Never mind."

I realize the Boston Globe is like the Bible to you, but its article was very misleading. The document was the work of a small committe and does not represent the entire U.S. Bishops' Conference, let alone a "conclusion" of the Catholic Church! The following two articles make that clear. They also indicate, as you recognize, that "Reflections On Covenant And Mission" has serious flaws. However, even the committee document does not state "Jews do not need to be saved through faith in Jesus" as the Globe reported. On the contrary, it states, "the Catholic Church regards the saving act of Christ as central to the process of human salvation for all."

Never mind?

Fr. Phil Bloom

Document on Judaism Doesn't Reflect U.S. Bishops' View, Says Cardinal

It's Meant to Spur Reflection, Keeler Explains

WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 20, 2002 ( A recent document that assails campaigns aimed at converting Jews to Christianity does not represent a formal position of the U.S. bishops' conference, says Cardinal William Keeler.

Nor does "Reflections on Covenant and Mission" represent a formal position taken by the bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (BCEIA), said the cardinal, who is archbishop of Baltimore and the U.S. bishops' moderator for Catholic-Jewish relations.

The document, made public Aug. 12, represents the state of thought among the participants of a years-long dialogue between the Church and the Jewish community in the United States, the cardinal observed.

The Catholic portion of the "Reflections" says that "campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church."

The document was made public in order to encourage serious reflection on these matters by American Jews and Catholics, the cardinal said.

Cardinal Keeler said there has been growing respect within the Catholic community for the Jewish tradition and the lasting covenant which God made with them. At the same time, he said, the faithful should be open to the action of God's grace to bring people to accept the fullness of the means of salvation which are found in the Church.

Participants in the ongoing consultation are delegates of the BCEIA and the National Council of Synagogues (NCS) which represents the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

The document derives from a meeting which the BCEIA-NCS Consultation held in New York last March. The full text is at

Which brings me to the other news I wanted to tell you about. [Last week], the Boston Globe ran an article on a document released Monday by the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and the National Council of Synagogues (that's a mouthful!). The headline read, "Catholics Reject Evangelization of Jews." When I first read the article, I was astonished. How on earth could the bishops say such a thing? After a while, though, I calmed down a little and decided to read the document for myself before jumping to conclusions.

The results were ... well, mixed. While the Globe headline is definitely misleading, the document certainly raises more questions than it answers.

It's called "Reflections on Covenant and Mission" and discusses the unique relationship between Catholicism and Judaism from both the Catholic and Jewish perspectives. The bishops on the council presented the Catholic "reflections," but their reflections aren't terribly illuminating.

The bishops refer to Nostra Aetate, the papal encyclical from 1965 on "the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions," and claim that their statement is an "unfolding" of the ideas put forth in the encyclical. In Nostra Aetate, Pope Paul VI emphasizes our common heritage with Jewish people and our need to act with "mutual understanding and respect" at all times. It goes on to say that since Jesus died for the sins of all men, "it is, therefore, the burden of the Church's preaching to proclaim the cross of Christ as the sign of God's all-embracing love and as the fountain from which every grace flows."

That's clear enough. Proclaim the gospel to all people, but act out of love, not hate.

Then we come to the bishops' reflections. Suddenly, things don't seem so clear. Some statements are directly in line with Nostra Aetate: "The Catholic Church must always evangelize and will always witness to its faith in the presence of God's kingdom in Jesus Christ to Jews and to all other people." Fine.

But then the bishops appear to take it a step further. Consider the following passage, for example: "However, this evangelizing task no longer includes the wish to absorb the Jewish faith into Christianity and so end the distinctive witness of Jews to God in human history.... Their witness to the kingdom, which did not originate with the Church's experience of Christ crucified and raised, must not be curtailed by seeking the conversion of the Jewish people to Christianity."

Pardon me? How are we supposed to "evangelize" but "not seek the conversion" of Jewish people? How do you separate the two? The latter phrase sounds like a kind of religious multiculturalism don't try to convert Jews because we'd lose the great Jewish heritage in our culture. But what about gaining the salvation of souls? Isn't that more important?

The bishops do make a good point about conversion, saying that it can never be forced, and that our primary goal should be sharing the Good News, not merely racking up numbers at the baptismal font. Walter Cardinal Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Commission for the Religious Relations with the Jews, explains that we can't consider Jews as a specific "mission," since "the term mission, in its proper sense, refers to conversion from false gods and idols.... Thus mission, in this strict sense, cannot be used with regard to Jews, who believe in the true and one God." While Cardinal Kasper and I don't see eye to eye on all things, I have to agree with him here. Our focus should be evangelizing ALL people, not targeting any one religion or group of people in particular.

But this takes us back to those sticky definitions of "conversion" and "evangelization." The bishops explain that evangelization is the mission of the Church, but that it "includes the Church's activities of presence and witness; commitment to social development and human liberation; Christian worship, prayer, and contemplation; interreligious dialogue; and proclamation and catechesis." So evangelization is more than just catechesis; you are participating in evangelization simply by living out your Catholic beliefs.

That's all fine and good, but shouldn't we want the end result of our evangelization to be conversion? The document says that "Catholics participating in interreligious dialogue, a mutually enriching sharing of gifts devoid of any intention whatsoever to invite the dialogue partner to baptism, are nonetheless witnessing to their own faith in the kingdom of God embodied in Christ."

So let me get this straight: My non-Christian friend and I should have a friendly chat where he tells me what he believes, I tell him what I believe, we both say, "that's nice," and then go home?

What about the pursuit of truth?

In what must be the most troubling statement in the document, the bishops say, "Thus, while the Catholic Church regards the saving act of Christ as central to the process of human salvation for all, it also acknowledges that Jews already dwell in a saving covenant with God." Cardinal Kasper tries to illuminate the situation by saying, "God's grace, which is the grace of Jesus Christ according to our faith, is available to all. Therefore, the Church believes that Judaism, i.e. the faithful response of the Jewish people to God's irrevocable covenant, is salvific for them, because God is faithful to his promises."

If we're saved only through Jesus, how can we say that God's covenant with the Jews is "a saving covenant"? It might be binding, but Jesus came to FULFILL that covenant; even though it wasn't broken, it WAS completed. Without Him, no salvation would have been possible.

Look, the real problem here is this: The bishops' committee has released a confusing, heavily nuanced, document at a time when trust in them is at an all-time low. In trying to explain themselves, they just end up raising more questions. What the "reflections" say might be a good thing, but this kind of theological hair-splitting helps no one understand the positive material that might be there.

At least one part of this document is reassuring. The letter carries absolutely no weight. Unlike Nostra Aetate, NONE of it is binding in the least. These are only the ruminations of a subcommittee of a committee of a small portion of the world's bishops, and without the pope's stamp of approval, it can't be considered the Church's official teaching.

And I certainly wouldn't hold your breath for Rome's endorsement of this piece of work.

Deal W. Hudson is publisher and editor of CRISIS Magazine, a Catholic monthly published in Washington, DC. You can reach him at

Catholics reject evangelization of Jews

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff, 8/13/2002

he Catholic Church, which spent hundreds of years trying forcibly to convert Jews to Christianity, has come to the conclusion that it is theologically unacceptable to target Jews for evangelization, according to a statement issued yesterday by organizations representing US Catholic bishops and rabbis from the country's two largest Jewish denominations.

Citing teachings dating back to the Second Vatican Council, and statements by Pope John Paul II throughout his papacy, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops declared unequivocally that the biblical covenant between Jews and God is valid and therefore Jews do not need to be saved through faith in Jesus.

''A deepening Catholic appreciation of the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people, together with a recognition of a divinely-given mission to Jews to witness to God's faithful love, lead to the conclusion that campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church,'' declares the document, ''Reflections on Covenant and Mission.''

The declaration, which was negotiated by the bishops and an organization representing Conservative and Reform rabbis, demonstrates the dramatic changes in Catholic thinking about Jews and Judaism in the wake of the Holocaust. In the decades since Hitler's attempt to exterminate Jews during World War II, the church has rejected its longtime position that Christianity superseded Judaism and instead has embraced Judaism as a legitimate faith both before and after the life of Jesus.

''The significance is far more than theological, because for centuries it was the refusal of Jews to embrace Christian teachings that legitimized the persecution, and often murder, of Jews in communities throughout Christendom,'' said Robert Leikind, New England regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. ''What the bishops have done here is decisively separated themselves from that history and indicated once and for all that Jews have an authentic relationship with God and an authentic mission in the world, and therefore there is no reason for, or logic in, trying to evangelize Jews.''

Jesus and his early followers were Jewish, but those who embraced Christianity began to turn on those who did not more than a millennium ago. Violence by Christians against Jews began with the Crusades and anti-Semitism intensified during the Middle Ages and informed the Nazi effort during the Holocaust.

Catholic teaching began to shift dramatically in the early 1960s, when the Second Vatican Council declared that ''the Jews must not be presented as rejected by God.'' Since then, Catholics have abandoned efforts to convert Jews and have emphasized in religious teachings that Jesus was Jewish.

Catholic and Jewish officials said the statement was the sharpest definition to date of the evolving relationship between Catholics and Jews. Cardinal William Keeler, the archbishop of Baltimore and the bishops' liaison for Christian-Jewish relations, called yesterday's declaration ''a significant step forward in the dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community in this country.''

However, the declaration puts the Catholic Church at odds with evangelical Protestants, particularly the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the country. In a 1996 resolution, the Southern Baptists declared, ''whereas Jesus commanded that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem ... we direct our energies and resources toward the proclamation of the gospel to the Jewish people.''

At the time, the Southern Baptists decried ''an organized effort on the part of some either to deny that Jewish people need to come to their Messiah, Jesus, to be saved; or to claim, for whatever reason, that Christians have neither right nor obligation to proclaim the gospel to the Jewish people ... we are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.''

The Southern Baptists' stance has not changed since, according to spokesman John Revell. ''The drive behind not just the Southern Baptists but all evangelical Christians is the conviction that Jesus Christ is the only way to have eternal life with God the Father, and anybody who seeks eternal life through any other means will fail,'' Revell said. ''There is a misconception that Southern Baptists have targeted Jews. We haven't targeted Jews. Our focus is to get the good news of Jesus Christ to all people, including Jews.''

Eugene J. Fisher, the director of Catholic-Jewish Relations for the bishops' conference, said the document issued yesterday acknowledges the divide between Catholics and evangelical Protestants on the issue.

''This is a free country and that principle of freedom of faith means I can't complain about their freedom, but here there might be a theological difference as well as a pastoral difference in understanding the relation of Christ's church to the Jewish people,'' he said.

Fisher said Catholic efforts to convert Jews ''dried up'' after the Second Vatican Council. He cited as an example the Sisters of Zion, a religious order that once focused on trying to convert Jews, but after World War II decided on interfaith dialogue instead.

Yesterday's declaration ''caps a development in a certain theological direction, by pulling it all together,'' he said. ''In the US, the motivation of the American bishops to watch that development closely is very strong, because of the dialogue with the world's largest Jewish community, which is in the US.''

The rabbis and bishops have been meeting twice a year for two decades and have issued statements on such topics as the environment and hate crimes. They said they hope yesterday's declaration will influence Catholic-Jewish dialogues and help end ''the continuing ignorance and caricatures of one another that still prevail in many segments of the Catholic and Jewish communities.''

Michael Paulson can be reached at

This story ran on page A1 of the Boston Globe on 8/13/2002.

Boston Globe's Misleading Article on Catholic Church

The Bogus Knights of Columbus Oath Reply