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Pope Francis is a ‘spiritual success’, says rabbi

By on Thursday, 13 June 2013

Rabbi Abraham Skorka (CNS photo/David Agren)

Rabbi Abraham Skorka (CNS photo/David Agren)

Pope Francis is a “wonderful” leader of the Church and “a spiritual success”, an Argentine rabbi has said

Rabbi Abraham Skorka, an Argentine biophysicist and rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, made the comments at an inter-religious gathering held in Rome earlier this month. During the visit he and and more than 20 other participants, including Jews and Catholics from the United States, Italy, Argentina and Uruguay, attended the Pope’s weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square.

Rabbi Skorka told reporters after the audience that the Pope looked “very well” and was “wonderful” as Pope. The rabbi added that he was not at all surprised with the new Pontiff’s popularity.

“You can see with your own eyes the success, the spiritual success, he has achieved through his words, manners and, even, revolutionary acts,” he said.

Not only will Pope Francis continue on in the same vein, the rabbi predicted, but he will be “emphasising changes, accepting challenges more and more, undoubtedly with God’s help and God’s blessings.”

Then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Rabbi Skorka worked together for years in Argentina to bring Catholics and Jews closer together. They also bonded over a shared love of football.

The Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, which Pope Francis oversaw, awarded Rabbi Skorka an honorary doctorate in 2012, which, the rabbi said, was a watershed moment and could never have been done just a decade before. The achievement was a “revolution” brought on specifically “by Bergoglio,” he said.

The pair co-wrote the book, On Heaven and Earth, which is a compilation of conversations between the then-cardinal and rabbi first published in Buenos Aires in 1995. They discussed pastoral views on everyday problems and offered insight into how Judaism and Catholicism answer existential questions and provide guidance to living a moral life.

  • scary goat

    Well, not wanting to be the bearer of bad news, I think I had better not say what I think. I’m sure some others will be a bit braver than me and express some views on this.

  • Benedict Carter

    Far too early for such a judgement to be made. And to be honest I don’t frankly care too much what a non-Catholic has to say.

    We ask different questions to the Rabbi. The answers are beginning to come through, slowly but surely. Some good, some very bad. I myself do not like the man at all, but liking has nothing to do with it.

    We need to watch Curial appointments very, very carefully.

  • Hermit Crab

    I thought this sentence somehow slightly hysterical:

    “They discussed pastoral views on everyday problems and offered insight
    into how Judaism and Catholicism answer existential questions and
    provide guidance to living a moral life.”

  • scary goat

    I thought a lot more than that and I’m still thinking it. I’m just not brave enough to say it. Something along the lines of “show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are”. Don’t think I can manage more than that.

  • Julian Lord

    scary, there are many areas that are central to the Christian Catholic Faith that are just as central to the Orthodox Jewish, indeed several where there is no meaningful difference between the two religions, and where they are almost as one.

    If not for Christ, surely our duty towards God would be leading us all to become Jewish, as their religion is genuinely centred around the genuine worship of the One True God !!! No other non-Christian religion can say so.

    But Christ IS the Son of God, and we are bound to follow Him, and so we cannot possibly abandon our religion for theirs, nor mirror our religious conscience on theirs.

  • Hermit Crab

    IMO your analysis puts our Faith on a level with Judaism, which is essentially a temporary departure from our Faith. The Jews will become Christians at the Second Coming. Meanwhile, they are on the wrong road.

  • Julian Lord

    IMO your analysis puts our Faith on a level with Judaism

    No, that’s certainly not my intent.

    Judaism continues to teach Errors, concerning Christ in particular, but not exclusively.

  • scary goat

    Ok, now someone else has been brave enough to “like” that, I will go out
    on a limb and “like” it too. I normally don’t “like” Timotheos’
    comments on principle because he is a sedevacantist which is a position I
    don’t hold with….which of course doesn’t mean everything he says is
    wrong….just I’m wary. But on this occasion I will make an exception.

  • scary goat

    Hey, why was Timotheos comment deleted? It wasn’t offensive.

  • Timotheos

    The CH is afraid of persecution by ‘jews’. So its editorial policy is to delete all traditional Catholic views concerning them and their age-old conspiracy to destroy the Church. The true Church of Christ has never acted like this.

    This comment will also be deleted – a testament to the fact that this is not a true Catholic newspaper.

  • James M

    “Pope Francis is a “wonderful” leader of the Church and “a spiritual success”, an Argentine rabbi has said”

    Time to call him a success after he’s dead and cold & his pontificate has had time to be studied as a whole, & without the hysteria & personality cult. IOW, not before 25 or so years from now.

    “They also bonded over a shared love of football.”

    Why oh why oh why must the Press emphasise blithering fatuities ? Stuff footy – what about the Gospel ?

  • Cradle Catholic

    Like so many Christians you completely misunderstand Judaism. You think that Judaism is essentially Christianity without Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth. Judaism is a tribal religion. The object of worship in Judaism is not God but the Jewish people. The Jewish God is a tribal God who validates Jewish self-worship. Jews want nothing to do with a God who does not do that. St. Paul’s statement that there is neither Jew nor Gentile, but we are all one in Christ is a poisen pill for Jews.

  • Agnus

    “I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through ME! 7 If you really know ME, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you DO know Him and have SEEN Him.”

    8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

    9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip? Even after I have been among you
    such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me HAS seen the Father. How can you say,‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I AM in the Father, and thatthe Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on My own authority.Rather, it is the Father, Living in ME, who is doing His work. 11 Believe Me when I say that I AM in the Father and the Father is in ME; or at least believe
    on the evidence of the works themselves.

    John 14:5-14

    I should imagine He’ll take exception to that remark. I take it you’re not a Christian. Basically,your comment is N OT true. It’s heresy and about as far wrong as you could be in a correct interpretation of the personality of God as shown to us through His Living Image – Jesus Christ..

    Christ said “I and the Father are ONE! (John 10:30)

    “Anyone who has seen ME has seen the Father” (John 14)

    Jesus Christ IS the face of JHVH. God Incarnate as Man. The Old Testament states that God is a Spiritual being, yet on many occasions God appears as a “Man”

    The early Church called such occasions “Theophanies” He appeared as a Man to Abraham, ate with Him, with two Angels, These Angels, go on alone to do HIS Divine Will by raining fire down on Sodom to destroy it for its Sins (Genesis 18) He fights physically with Jacob. (Genesis 32) He “walks in the Garden” in Genesis Ch 3) He even prophesises to Moses in Exodus 23:20 that An Angel (meaning “Messenger” will lead them into the Promised Land,and as St Justin Martyr pointed out in his apologetics, This “Angel” turns out to be Joshua. As it is Joshua who leads them into the Promised Land, (Joshua in Hebrew means the same as Yeshua & Jesus,) God the Father states in Exodus 23:20 that they are to obey this person for “My name is in him!” Very clear evidence that God states His name to be Jesus.

    Colossians1:15-17 “And He (Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. For by Him ALL all things were created

    1 In the Beginning was The Word (Christ)
    The Word was with God, and the Word WAS God….
    14….And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

    Wherever God appears as “Man” in the Old Testament, It has been stated by various early Church Fathers to represent the “Son of God” or pre-incarnate Christ – who was “with God at the Beginning without Him was NOTHING made” (John 1) In Genesis chapter One, God declares “Let US make Man in Our Own Image” Showing that Christ was indeed with Him – and also the Holy Spirit which ALSO puts in an appearance in Genesis 1 it states “and The Spirit of God hovered over the Waters”

    The Incarnate Godhead truly showed the God of the Old Testament to us. As Christ proved by His works that He was
    truly God, so do the Miracles of the Father. There exists NO other God that has EVER provided the proofs of their mutual existence, or their LOVE. Christ dwelled amongst His people, doing ALL that the Father can do! Miracles, raising from the Dead, healing the
    sick. Heali ng people from being touched by them. Etc…. All that the Father can do – can The Divine Son do. Yet unlike Moses or Elijah ,Christ shows in Scripture that He is truly able to do all in His OWN Name, as

    it is IMPOSSIBLE for God, to have created a false religion which YOUR comment implies. Christianity teaches that Christ is referred to throughout the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit feels such love for Our Lord Jesus the Messiah that He speaks of Him incessantly throughout the entire Old Testament (Most of the Psalms refer ti various aspects of His incarnation, death and resurrection)
    There are 492 Prophecies regarding every aspect of His future Incarnation See Isaiah 53 Depicting His future rejection and Crucifixion.

    Christianity mirrors Judaism exactly with Christ, as Christ said He came not to abolish the Old law – but to fulfil it. That being said He transformed the Old Covenants and merges them into a New Covenant. He IS the Lamb of Atonement that bore the transgressions of His people as prophecised in Isaiah 53 and He IS the Passover lamb, eaten under the form of the Eucharistia of Melchizadek (bread and wine) Also God provided His OWN SON to be sacrificed on the Mountain – and Abraham’s own son was allowed to go free. It was evidently this exact mountain where Christ was later Sacrificed.

    I DO you not accept standard core beliefs of Christianity – that Christ is the living image of the Father, the exact same in nature as God the Father – therefore being a far stricter Divine Saviour than modernists would have you believe. – he said

    “I if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24

    (“I AM” – being the Name that God gave Moses when Moses asked Him what His name was.)

    Perhaps you are not reading the Old Testament. perhaps you watch Oprah???? Perhaps you are too optimistic and liberal a Christian – To deny that Christ is the SAME as God, is to deny standard and core beliefs of Christianity – you can not separate them they are uniquely related and indivisible. All Christ’s words must be interpreted as they really were at the time they were spoken – The Words of God the Father showing Himself to His people (the Jews) encased in Flesh – through His only begotten Son Our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Agnus

    Here is a link to a portrayal of Our Lord – It is the word for word Visual Bible “Gospel of John”. The acting is rather dynamic. Many liberals do not accept Our Lord when He clearly resembles God the Father. Modernistic Translations and attitudes are to blame.

    Watch out for Chapter 5 and 6 – It is INCREDIBLE dialogue – the most beautiful words in Scripture come in the Gospel of John !!!!!

    PS for the “Evolutionists”

    In The Gospel of John 5 45-47 Christ says

    ” Think not that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one that accuseth you, – Moses, in whom you trust. For if you did believe Moses, you would perhaps believe me also; for he wrote of me. BUT IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE HIS WRITINGS, HOW WILL YOU BELIEVE MY WORDS?”

    It is clear that Our Lord tells us that we HAVE to believe not only the Genesis account – but all of the writings in the Hebrew Scriptures