.- A rabbi from Monsey, New York, has lauded Pope Benedict XVI for reinstating the Latin Mass and affirming that only Catholic Church qualifies as the one, true Church.
In an article titled The Popeâs Got A Point and published in the July 18 issue of The Jewish Press, Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz says he is ânot at all put off by the fact that the leader of another religion sees that religion as primary.â
âIâve always found it curious that people of different religions get together in a spirit of harmony to share their common faiths,â he writes. âBy definition, these people should have strong opposition to the beliefs of their âcolleaguesâ at the table. The mode of prayer of one group should be an affront to the other group.
âWhat the pope is saying â and I agree 100 percent â is that there are irreconcilable differences, and we canât pretend those differences donât exist,â he states. âI can respect the pope for making an unambiguous statement of what he believes.â
While all people, created in Godâs image, and their beliefs are worthy of respect, âwe donât need to play games of âIâm okay, your okayâ with beliefs we find unacceptable,â he writes.
Rabbi Seplowitz notes that the original form of the Latin Mass included a prayer for the conversion of the Jews. When the Latin Mass was reinstated, the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations wrote to the Vatican, requesting that the conversion prayer not be reintroduced.
âI ask you, does this make sense? Where do we Jews get off making demands of Catholics that they only say prayers that meet with our approval?â he asks. âThe audacity of Jews dictating to Christians how they should pray is simply mind-boggling.â
âShould we allow the Vatican to dictate what we say in our prayers? Or should we, perhaps, do a line-by-line analysis of the Talmud to make sure there is nothing there that people may find offensive?â he writes.
The rabbi says he is not suggesting Jewish leaders should not talk with Catholic leaders. âThe pope needs to know, for example, that it is good to encourage his millions of followers to support Israel and that it is bad to hate Jews,â he writes.
But the dialogue need not be theological, he suggests. âThere needs to be careful dialogue, but it needs to be a secular, common, needs-based dialogue. We should not be studying Talmud together and we should not be discussing prayer.â