The Vatican showed disapproval over senior Israeli rabbis’ criticism of Pope Francis’ remarks on Jewish sacred books.
The pope said he was not questioning whether the books are still valid today or not.
Rabbi Rasson Arousi, Israeli Chief of Rabbinate’s relations with the Vatican, wrote a serious letter to the Vatican, Reuters reported.
Arousi said that the Pope’s comments on August 11 suggested that the Torah (Jewish law) was out-of-date.
However, the Vatican said that people should not extrapolate the Pope’s comments in his sermon on Saint Paul’s writings.
They added that the context the sermon discussed was about ancient times and doesn’t include the Jews of today.
In the Vatican, the abiding Christian conviction is that Jesus Christ is the new way of salvation, wrote Cardinal Kurt Koch.
“However, this doesn’t mean that the Torah is diminished or unrecognized as the ‘way of salvation for Jews’,” he continued.
Koch said the Holy Father did not mention modern Judaism, and the sermon was only a reflection on St. Paul’s belief in a certain era.
He added that the Vatican did not question the Torah’s gravity on modern Judaism in any way.
Arousi said Francis’ comments risked the ‘contempt teaching’ return, which was common in the Catholic church.
However, Koch said that considering the positive sayings Pope Francis said about Judaism, you cannot assume the Vatican is calling for ‘contempt’
“Pope Francis fully respects Judaism and always seeks to deepen the bonds between the two faith traditions,” he added.
The relations between Catholics and Jews changed in 1965 when the Second Vatican Council abandoned the idea of Jewish collective guilt for Jesus’ death.
Francis has good relations with Jews, as he co-wrote a book with Rabbi Abraham Skorka; they are still friends until now.