These are the words of Malcom Hedding, director of The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.
Hedding has joined with those Jewish leaders currently calling on the Vatican to issue a firm and unequivocal repudiation of the outrageous and undignified comments by Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros.
The comment came at the close of the special Catholic Synod of Middle East bishops which concluded last weekend in Rome.
“The Archbishop’s remarks reflect a perilous reversion to classical Replacement theology, which bore such horrific fruits over many centuries for Jews living in the heart of Christian Europe,” said ICEJ Executive Director Rev. Malcolm Hedding.
“The Catholic Church renounced this teaching at the landmark Vatican II conclave, but that important reversal means nothing if they do not now censure senior clerics who so brazenly stray back into the poisonous mindset of contempt for the Jews.”
It is not enough to dismiss this smear as a mere “personal opinion,” Hedding insisted, since the comments were made while Bustros was introducing an official document in his capacity as secretary for the Synod.
“He purported to speak for all the bishops present,” said Hedding. “The Vatican has had several days to respond properly, and cannot allow this calumny to stand.”
Hedding also noted that “rarely have I ever heard Israeli officials resort to the Bible to justify their actions, nor do they cite it as their title deed to the Land of Israel, even though they could rightfully do so. They do, however, point to the Jewish people’s deep historic bond to the land, and the indisputable fact that the Hebrew Patriarchs, prophets and kings all once walked these very hills and plains. It was this unassailable historic connection and claim which persuaded the international community last century to recognize the Jewish people’s right to be reconstituted as a nation in their ancient homeland.”
Hedding added that while he does not intend to give Bible lessons to Catholic Bishops, if there is anything that the New Testament makes clear, it is that the promises of the Abrahamic covenant – including the promise of the land – are irrevocable and were indeed ‘confirmed’ by Christ, rather than nullified by him. (Romans 11:28-29, 15:8-9; Galatians 3:17; Hebrews 6:13-20).
As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.
What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.
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