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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Are the Jesuits good for the Jews?

There is an article circulating on the internet called, Is a Jesuit good for the Jews? This is questioning whether a Jesuit Pope is a good idea for the Jews considering the history of persecution of Rome against the Jews.

You would think the answer would be a resounding NO. Protestants have a distrust and dislike of the Jesuits and Catholicism in general, except for those "All Together" churches where it doesn't matter what you believe.

The author of the article is Marc B. Shapiro and shares some light on the troubled relationship between the Jews and Jesuits. Some of the early Jesuits were Jews but they were soon kicked out of the order according to Marc Shapiro who doesn't pull any punches. Jewish blood tainted the Jesuit Order so they had to go. Writes Marc Shapiro:

"It was in this matter that the Jesuits remained true to Christian principles longer than many other Catholic institutions in Spain. Facing widespread pressure to adopt “racial legislation,” it was only in 1593, years after various cathedral chapters and fraternities had banned New Christians, that the Jesuits instituted purity of blood legislation. Until then, those with “Jewish blood” were welcomed, and some of these reached high positions in the order, including Ignatius’ secretary, Juan Alfonso de Polanco, and his successor as Superior General, Diego Laynez, who was a significant intellectual leader of the Catholic Reformation. Francisco de Toledo, also of Jewish descent, was the first Jesuit to be appointed a cardinal."

From the 16th-century blood restrictions until modern times, the Jesuits’ relationship with Jews had its ups and downs. There were times when Jesuits were active in stirring up anti-Jewish feeling, such as in 18th-century Poland, and through their Italian journal La Civiltà Cattolica, from its founding in the mid 19th century up until Vatican II. It has also been alleged that French Jesuits were involved with the movement to condemn Alfred Dreyfus as a traitor, in late-19th-century France.

Marc assures his Jewish readers the troubled relationship between the Jews and Jesuits does not reflect what is happening today. He writes:

"My own experience, having taught at a Jesuit university for the past 17 years, is that Jews can ask for no better friends than the Jesuits with whom I have been privileged to work. They have welcomed me and encouraged me to share in the ideals of Jesuit education, which is often characterized as “finding God in all things,” a sentiment that can also be found in many classic Jewish sources.

As members of the Churches of God we have to disagree with Marc Shapiro on the role of the Jesuits whose goal is to resurrect the ancient Roman Empire placing the Vatican as its head (Rev 17, 18). The Jews and Jesuits share an interest in the kabbalah and mystical matters which may explain why some Jews feel at home with some of the Jesuits. Both want a newly built Temple in Jerusalem and both are equally powerful with many members owning many rich companies.

Our goal as Christians is not to get involved with organisations of men who seek to change this fallen world, only the returning Jesus Christ will sort out the world's troubles.

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