The Blind Guides of
by Christopher A. Ferrara
Over the past 40
years tradition-minded Catholics have watched with horror as the landmarks of
Catholic Tradition have been abandoned, one after the other. This abandonment
has not occurred by way of any official binding pronouncement of the
Churchs Magisterium, but rather through the pervasive attitude that Vatican II has somehow produced a "reorientation" of the Church.
It is hard to
imagine anything more basic to Tradition than the conversion of the Jews.
Christ took human form as a Jew, born of a Jewish maiden, and chose as His
apostles 12 Jews whose mission was to convert, first of all, their own people
and then the whole world to the one true religion established in the New
Covenant of His Blood.
The first Catholic
martyr, St. Stephen, was killed for his efforts to convert the Jews. The very
liturgy of the Catholic Church on Good Friday spoke for century after century
of the faithless Jews and pleaded with God for their conversion until
that liturgy, like so many other landmarks of the Faith, was suddenly abandoned
after the Council.
As a major organ of
the neo-Catholic establishment, Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) has
cooperated in burying landmarks of the faith, even as it presents itself as a
bastion of rock-solid Catholic Tradition. EWTNs mixture of certain
aspects of traditional Roman Catholicism with absolutely appalling novelties
invented during the past 40 years novelties that would have reduced the
pre-conciliar popes to a state of apoplexy is the very essence of
It is hardly
surprising then that EWTN has, along with the rest of the neo-Catholic
establishment, beat a hasty retreat from the Churchs traditional call for
the conversion of the Jews. Jewish conversion, you see, is lacking in
post-conciliar correctness that strange new attitude that has stealthily
replaced so much of Catholic Tradition in the post-conciliar Church. EWTN, like
the rest of the neo-Catholic establishment, serves the new attitude first and
Catholic Tradition second.
EWTNs question and answer forum we find the following "expert" advice
from Fr. Vincent Serpa in answer to a question posed by an inquiring Jew in the
context of Mel Gibsons upcoming film The Passion:
Conversion of Jews, 'The Passion' Question from Jacob on
Must I, as a Jew, convert and believe that Jesus is the
Messiah and is God, or does the current Catholic church teach that I may be
saved by my being a Jew? Also, isn't it a given that anti-Semitism will arise
from Mel Gibson's movie?
Answer by Catholic Answers on 08-14-2003:
Would that you were given the grace to recognize Jesus as
the Son of God and could join the Catholic Church. But if you honestly cannot
accept Him as such, by living a life as a devout Jew, you can reach Heaven.
This is what the Catholic Church teaches. AND Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion"
does NOT contradict this.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.
In other words, Jews
have no obligation to convert if they "sincerely" cannot bring themselves to
believe that Christ is the Son of God and the Messiah foretold in the Old
Testament. Of course, that notion would exempt virtually every Jew on earth
from the duty of conversion.
Responding to a
small storm of criticism from Catholics who remember what the Church teaches
about Jewish conversion, Fr. Serpa "clarified" his answer by making it even
worse. He stated: "[T]hose who honestly (the key word here is "honestly")
cannot see Jesus by means of the light of faith, can still be saved by that
same Jesus Christ, even though they do not realize it providing that
they seek God and try in their actions to do His will, etc. as above."
Here the "expert"
Fr. Serpa hopelessly mangles the Churchs teaching on invincible
ignorance. He misapplies the concept of invincible ignorance of Christ
and His Gospel to Jews who know of Him yet, according to Serpa, cannot
"see" Jesus by means of "the light of faith." But if they have the light of
faith, and if they know of Jesus, then they cannot be invincibly ignorant, for
their faith would lead them to accept the Jesus of whom they know. That is
exactly what the Apostles did, and what every Jewish convert since their time
Now one cannot have
faith without the supernatural grace of faith bestowed by God. But here Fr.
Serpa thus posits a "light of faith" a grace bestowed by God
according to which one knows of Jesus but "honestly" does not accept him. This
is a monstrous distortion of the very notion of the supernatural gift of faith.
As Our Lord Himself
declares in Sacred Scripture: "[N]o one knoweth the Son but the Father: neither
doth anyone know the Father, but the Son, and He to whom it shall please the
Son to reveal Him." (Matt. 11:27) Yet Fr. Serpa would have us believe
that present-day Jews can really know the Father, can really have the light of
faith, while "honestly" rejecting the revelation of Christ even if
they know of that revelation. And if that were true of the Jews, it would
be true of anyone else in the world all men could "honestly" reject the
Gospel, even if they have heard it.
Fr. Serpa thus
dispenses with the entire mission of the Holy Catholic Church, whether he
realizes it or not. For if even those who have heard the Gospel can be saved
while "honestly" rejecting the Gospel, why preach the Gospel at all? All of
these "honest" people can simply hear the Gospel after they have died and gone
to Heaven. They do not need the Gospel to be saved here on earth; the truth
does not set them free, as Our Lord taught. No, they are free without the
Gospel, according to Fr. Serpa.
But Our Lord could
not have been clearer: "Go forth and preach the Gospel to all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost
He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. He who believes not shall be
condemned." Our Lord did not say what Fr. Serpa teaches: "He who
honestly cannot believe shall be saved anyway." For God will give all truly
honest men who know of His Son the grace to believe in the Son. Fr. Serpa
implicitly denies the very efficacy of Gods grace, reducing conversion to
a Pelagian exercise in human self-persuasion.
Our experience of
the past 40 years shows us that the real problem in the Church today is not
overt modernists, who are easy to identify and expose, but the vast
neo-Catholic establishment, posing as the "mainstream" of Roman Catholicism,
with its multiform corruption of the traditional faith in both practice and
belief. The devils momentary triumph in the post-conciliar epoch
inevitably to become his final defeat consists of a shift of the great
body of Catholics toward latitudinarianism and indifferentism, which is now
passed off as Catholic theology by "experts" such as Fr. Serpa.
In short, the rise
of neo-Catholicism is the post-conciliar crisis in the Church. It is a
crisis as great as if not greater than the Arian crisis that also
overcame the greater part of the Church in the 4th Century. To
appreciate this we need only consider that EWTN is now considered an exemplar
of Catholic orthodoxy, when, as we can see here, it is providing the very blind
guides Our Lord warned us not to follow, lest we end up in a pit.