Friday, 29 November 2013

Formally Revoked or Formerly Revoked?

On the subject of dictionaries, the page happened to fall open in the Carmel Books tea-room on the word

1.   officially cancel (a decree, decision or promise).
synonyms: cancel, repeal, rescind, reverse, abrogate, annul, nullify, declare null and void, make void, void, invalidate, render invalid, quash, abolish, set aside, countermand, retract, withdraw, overrule, override.

In Evangelii Gaudium, 247, we read that "We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked, for “the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29)".

From the context of this section entitled Relations with Judaism it seems crystal clear that what's being referred to is not the shared Abrahamic Covenant of the New Israel which is the Catholic (meaning Universal) Church and the Universal Faith but the Mosaic or Sinaitic Covenant of the Old Law - "their covenant with God", "people of the covenant and their faith", "people of the Old Covenant".

Furthermore we read that "As Christians, we cannot consider Judaism as a foreign religion; nor do we include the Jews among those called to turn from idols and to serve the true God... with them we accept his revealed word... the Church also is enriched when she receives the values of Judaism".

Denzinger's The Sources of Catholic Dogma is always a very useful book to have to hand. In it we read the solemn dogmatically-binding declarations of the Council of Florence:

"The sacrosanct Roman Church, founded by the voice of Our Lord and Saviour... firmly believes, professes and teaches that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, of the Mosaic Law... ceased... All therefore who after that time observe the ... requirements of the law, it declares alien to the Christian Faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation, unless someday they recover from these errors"

And further:

"It firmly believes, professes and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart 'into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels' [Matt. 25:41] , unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock ... and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church".

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