Lawrence Feingold

Ed. On December 11, 2017, more than a dozen theologians met in New York City for a one-day colloquium to “discuss theologically the role and significance of Jews within the life of the Church.” The discussions began with a talk by Douglas Farrow, Professor of Christian Thought, McGill University, Montreal. Farrow set the agenda with his talk: “Jew and Gentile in the Church Today.” Mark Kinzer, Dr. Lawrence Feingold, and Bruce Marshall each followed with a talk and discussion.

The article below is an expansion of Dr. Feingold’s presentation in the colloquium. Dr. Feingold is an Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Feingold is also AHC Director of Theology.


Introduction

Do the sacramental rites of the Old Testament continue to have value after Calvary? This controversial question, which requires nuance and distinctions, has been answered in very different ways in the history of the Church. As we see in the Acts of the Apostles, the Apostles continued to make use of several of the Old Testament rites. Early Jewish-Christians continued to practice them until the fourth century. From the second century, however, we find prohibitions of the practice, *1See St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians 8–9.1, in Michael Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 155: “For if we continue to live in accordance with Judaism, we admit that we have not received grace. . . . If, then, those who had lived in antiquated practices came to newness of hope, no longer keeping the Sabbath but living in accordance with the Lord’s day . . . how can we possibly live without him?” resulting in the eventual disappearance of Jewish Christian use of any rites of the ceremonial law of the Old Covenant. In recent decades, however, there has been a widespread change of perspective, due to many factors including the Holocaust, the Second Vatican Council’s Nostra Aetate, the rejection of more radical forms of supersessionism, the spread of messianic Jewish congregations, and the practice of participation in the Passover seder in parishes, etc. In this article I will look at the question from a theological rather than a historical point of view.

The Causality of the Sacraments of the Old and New Covenants

The continuing value of the Old Testament rites, fulfilled in Christ, can be best evaluated by compar- ing how the sacramental systems of the Old and New Covenants act as causes of sanctification. The relation between the two covenants overflows into the relation between the respective sacraments of the two covenants. I think that St. Thomas Aquinas gives us the best way of conceiving the relation between the two sacramental systems, even though I will argue against his negative view of the current status of the rites of the Old Covenant and any participation in them.

Like St. Augustine, St. Thomas defines the term “sacrament” in such a way that it can be used of the rites of both covenants. *2See Benoit-Dominique de La Soujeole, “The Economy of Salvation: Entitative Sacramentality and Operative Sacramentality,” The Thomist 75 (2011): 543: “The fact that for St. Thomas the Jewish sacraments are sacraments in the proper sense permits us to say that he regards the entire economy of salvation as sacramental. Assuredly this is a very patristic intuition.” He defines a sacrament as “a sign of a holy reality insofar as it makes men holy.”  *3ST III, q. 60, a. 2. The holy reality underlying all the different sacramental signs and actions of both covenants is the Word Incarnate who sanctifies us through His paschal sacrifice. This reality is prefigured by the Old Testament rites and mysteriously contained in the New Testament sacraments. Thus, sacraments of the Old and the New Covenants are sacred signs of the same holy realities—the Messiah and His paschal mystery—but they differ because those of the Old prefigure what those of the New somehow “contain” and communicate. Because Christ is mysteriously contained and working in the sacra- ments of the New Covenant, they have a unique efficacy that the prefiguring sacraments of the Old Covenant could not yet have, which were instituted long before His coming to prepare a people for His advent.

Instrumental Causality of the Sacraments of the New Covenant

St. Thomas departed from many of his predecessors and contemporaries, such as St. Bonaventure, in refusing to see the New Testament sacraments simply as occasions in which God infused grace, as in those of the Old Covenant. From his earliest works, he saw such a view as contrary to the testimony of Revelation in Scripture and the Patristic Tradition, which assigned to the sacraments of the New Covenant a real causality in giving grace. To explain this, he introduced the notion of instrumental causality.

Philosophers speak of instrumental causality when a cause moves and directs a subordinate agent to produce its effect. This subordinate agent is called an instrument or instrumental cause, which is an efficient cause that produces an effect higher than itself by executing a design which does not originate in itself, but in the mind of a higher cause, referred to as the principal cause, which moves the instrument directly or indirectly. *4See ST III, q. 62, a. 1: “An efficient cause is twofold: principal and instru- mental. The principal cause works by the power of its form, to which form the effect is likened; just as fire by its own heat makes something hot. In this way none but God can cause grace. . . . But the instrumental cause works not by the power of its form, but only by the motion whereby it is moved by the principal agent: so that the effect is not likened to the instrument but to the principal agent: for instance, the couch is not like the axe, but like the art which is in the craftsman’s mind.” The effect, however, also shows some likeness to the instrument, for the quality and kind of instrument make a difference to the effect. Different paintbrushes can do different things. For this reason, the sacramental signs differ from each other and bear a resemblance to their individual purposes. The artist’s paintbrush, for example, is an instrumental cause that executes an intention that originates in the artist’s mind, which is the principal cause of the artwork.

This notion of instrumental causality helps explain how the sacraments, while being sensible signs, can produce effects of grace on the supernatural order that infinitely transcend their sensible nature. It is in the very nature of an instrument to produce an effect that lies on the level of the principal cause, transcending the nature of the instrument. A sacrament can produce grace because it is an instrument used by God to communicate a supernatural reality.

But how does God move the sacramental instrument? What mediates between the divine will and the sensible sign so that the latter can be the instrument of the former? The one Mediator is Jesus Christ in His humanity. A per- fect mediator stands between the parties who need to be reconciled. Christ’s humanity stands between His divinity and our humanity. St. Thomas conceives of Christ’s hu- manity as an instrument of His divinity for meriting and communicating grace to mankind. For St. Thomas, Christ’s humanity is not only the meritorious cause of grace but is also an instrumental efficient cause.

Here St. Thomas introduces a key distinction taken from man’s use of tools. When we think of tools, we tend to think of external instruments like hammers and saws. Our bodily organs, however, are also instruments, but unlike external instruments, they are joined to us as integral parts of our bodies. Our hands, legs, lips, vocal chords, and even our brains are the most marvelous of instruments. Thus we can distinguish between two kinds of instruments: (a) those that are separated and external, and (b) those that are joined to us, which we can call conjoined instruments. Our brains, hands, and lips are conjoined human instruments, whereas pens, paintbrushes, and violins are separated instruments. We use separated instruments through some conjoined instrument by which we move the separated instruments. Without our conjoined instruments, we could not make use of any separated instrument.

When we apply this analogy to the sacramental system, it sheds great light on the importance of the Incarnation for the sacraments. Just as we cannot use separated instru- ments without our bodily organs that are conjoined, so God does not make use of separated instruments to sanctify us without taking on a conjoined instrument, which is the very humanity of Jesus Christ joined to the divinity of the Word by the hypostatic union. Thus Christ’s humanity is the conjoined instrument of the divinity, whereas the sacraments are the separated instruments.

Throughout the Gospels we see Jesus using the conjoined instrument of His body to work miracles. He spoke and the winds and waves were calmed; He broke bread and it was multiplied; He applied mud and spittle to cure blind- ness. He also used the same means to produce invisible spiritual effects. He spoke words saying that a person’s sins were forgiven, and we believe that they were forgiven because of His words of power; He said of bread: “This is my body,” and likewise we believe that the power of His words would not fail to realize their effect. Thus these words and gestures were examples of the instrumental power of Christ’s humanity to produce effects proper to the divine power.

As the divine omnipotence alone can work miracles above the power of all creatures, so God alone can be the principal cause of the infusion of grace in the soul which produces justification and sanctification. However, there is nothing to prevent God from producing this effect by means of instruments situated in the created and sensible order, as long as they are moved by Him, as were Jesus’ words and gestures when He worked miracles. As the mind of the artist produces beauty in a statue by means of his hands and chisels, so God worked miracles through Christ’s words and gestures, and in like manner He pro- duces grace in the soul by means of Christ’s humanity. And if Jesus could produce sanctification through the instrumentality of His words and gestures, why should He not be able to use extrinsic instruments and ministers, as an artist uses paintbrushes and chisels, to realize those same effects? If He could exercise forgiveness or sanctification by His words and gestures, it follows that He should be able to accomplish that same effect by speaking through the words and gestures of others. That is the glory of the sacraments of the New Covenant.

The Sacraments of the Old Covenant Do Not Work Through Christ’s Humanity But Prefigure It

Using the distinction between extrinsic instruments and a conjoined instrument, it is not hard to see the difference between the causality of the rites of the Old and the New Covenants. When the sacraments of the Old Covenant were instituted through Moses, the Word had not yet become flesh. There was no instrument belonging to our world that was joined to the divinity as His humanity.

Without this conjoined instrument, the separated or ex- trinsic instruments could not be wielded and directed by the principal agent in a fitting manner. Thus we can say that the sacramental rites of the Old Covenant were like extrinsic instruments instituted by God, to be signs pointing to the conjoined instrument, Jesus Christ, who was to come. But they were not yet wielded by His hand, for He had not yet come. Christ’s humanity, as the humanity of a divine Person, is the necessary link between the divine power and extrinsic sacraments. Thus the Incarnation was necessary for the sacraments to be perfected.

The faithful of Israel were justified by their faith in the coming of the Messiah. St. Thomas explains that a future event can achieve its effect in advance of its actual occur- rence insofar as it is somehow known, desired, and loved, and thus already active interiorly in a person’s spiritual life.  *5St. Thomas Aquinas explains this in ST III, q. 62, a. 6: “Now nothing hinders that which is subsequent in point of time, from causing movement, even before it exists in reality, in so far as it pre-exists in an act of the soul: thus the end, which is subsequent in point of time, moves the agent in so far as it is apprehended and desired by him. On the other hand, what does not yet actually exist, does not cause movement if we consider the use of exterior things. Consequently, the efficient cause cannot in point of time come into existence after causing movement, as does the final cause. It is therefore clear that the sacraments of the New Law do reasonably derive the power of justification from Christ’s Passion, which is the cause of man’s righteousness; whereas the sacraments of the Old Law did not. Nevertheless the Fathers of old were justified by faith in Christ’s Passion, just as we are. And the sacraments of the Old Law were a kind of protestation of that faith, inasmuch as they signified Christ’s Passion and its effects. It is therefore manifest that the sacraments of the Old Law were not endowed with any power by which they conduced to the bestowal of justifying grace: and they merely signified faith by which men were justified.” The future salvific events in God’s plan of salvation were known, desired, and loved in the celebration of the rites of Israel, which are signs of these future salvific events. The rites of Israel are also memorials of events of God’s saving action in Israel’s history that typologically prefigure Christ and the Church. These signs are not efficacious in themselves as are the words of the Word Incarnate, for they were given prior to the Incarnation, but rather they were signs of His future working.

An instrumental efficient cause, on the other hand, can operate only when the principal cause is already at work in it. For example, a chisel can function as an efficient cause only when the sculptor is physically present and holding the chisel in his hand. Before that time, the chisel cannot carve the statue. However, an image of the chisel at work in the hand of the artist can produce some effect in the mind of an observer. It can be a sign that the statue will soon be made, when the sculptor finally arrives. The image can give hope to a client that the statue he has commissioned will one day be completed. The rites of Israel were like images or tools without the sculptor physically present to use them. They were signs, instituted by God, manifesting faith and hope in future salvific events, and their pious use drew down God’s grace upon Israel.

The sacraments of the New Covenant, on the other hand, are instruments in the hand of Christ who has come and merited through His Passion the successful completion of the entire work of salvation. Although His human body, the conjoined instrument, has ascended into Heaven, He can still work on earth through separated instruments and sacred ministers whose words and gestures are realized in His person through the sacrament of Holy Orders.

This need for the Incarnation especially applies to the Eucharist, which is the heart of the New Covenant. Here, the sacrament is not only wielded by the Incarnate Word through a priestly minister, but it also makes His sacred humanity present among us as the new shekinah, the Victim of Calvary who is offered in sacrifice and received in Holy Communion. The rites of the Old Covenant and the Eucharist, although in typological continuity, differ infinitely in what they make present. The Eucharist alone makes present the conjoined instrument of the divinity, the one Mediator between God and man. For this reason, the Eucharist alone is the one sacrifice of the New Covenant that builds up the unity of the Body of Christ.

In the Protestant context, the intrinsic difference between the sacraments of the New Covenant and those of the Old are not so clearly seen. Often, as in Calvin *6See Calvin, Institutes, book 4, chapter 14. (or Zwingli), they are put on the same level, differing only according to the dispensation they belong to.

This lack of distinction between the causality and purpose of the sacraments of the Old and New Covenants, such as we find in the Protestant context, can lead to an overly simplistic supersessionist view of the worship of Israel, according to which the ceremonial law of the Old Testament has simply been superseded or replaced by that of the Church. The problem with such a view is that it puts the two covenants on the same plane, as it were, such that a new sacramental system can go into effect only by extrinsically replacing the other. That is, priority can be given to the covenant that is from Christ only if the Old Covenant has ended.

Paradoxically, the lack of distinction of the causality of the two sacramental systems could also be used to justify a “dual covenant” approach. In such a view, there would be two equal paths to God: The worship of the Old Covenant would remain God’s intention for Israel, whereas the worship of the New Covenant would be for Gentile Christians. In other words, both radical supersessionism and dual covenant theory presuppose a common view of the relationship between the sacramental systems of the Old and New Covenants as operating in more or less the same way.

St. Thomas’s theory, on the other hand, enables us to see how the sacraments of the Old Covenant, by their very nature as typological prefigurements, could not have the efficacy of those of the New Covenant. Therefore, no recourse to an extrinsic abrogation of the rites of the Old Covenant is necessary in order to explain their lack of intrinsic salvific power. Even though Christ has come and initiated a New Covenant, the rites of the Old Covenant can continue to do what they were divinely intended to do: to prefigure and point to the paschal mystery of the Messiah, to provide a communal means of giving worship to God and express justifying faith, hope, and love, and be occa- sions for the sanctification of Israel. In other words, even though they could never give grace in the manner proper to the sacraments of the Church, they can fulfill functions similar to those of sacramentals in the New Covenant, which are occasions for devotion and the exercise of the theological virtues, disposing for the sacraments.

We should not think that the coming of Christ and His institution of the Church and the sacraments have directly devalued the sacraments of Israel. Nor should we think that the sacraments of the New Covenant could coexist on the same level with them. On the contrary, because of the Incarnation, the seven sacraments of the Church are able to do something—give us a living contact with the Word Incarnate—which the rites of Israel simply could not ever do. They are not devalued or simply replaced, but something immeasurably greater has come. In a similar way, Christ has not devalued Moses, but something greater than Moses is here.

The Sacraments of the Old Covenant Were Occasions for the Imparting of Grace

Does the fact that the rites of Israel did not cause grace ex opere operato mean that they were not occasions for the infusing of grace? No. Pope Innocent III, in a letter of 1201 to Humbert, Archbishop of Arles, teaches that “original sin was remitted by the mystery of circumcision and the danger of damnation avoided.” *7DS, 780

St. Thomas Aquinas holds that sanctifying grace was conferred on the faithful of Israel on the occasion of receiving the sacraments of the Old Covenant, such as circumcision. He explains how grace was conferred with circumcision in ST III, q. 70, a. 4, *8See also ST III, q. 62, a. 6, ad 3 concluding that the grace given in circumcision accomplishes the same effects as the grace given through the sacraments of the New Covenant. This does not mean, however, that circumcision has the same efficacy as Baptism, which would be contrary to the teaching of Scripture. St. Thomas therefore puts the key distinction between Baptism and circumcision not in its effects, but in the kind of causality that is exercised. Baptism works as an instrumental cause of grace, like a chisel in the hand of the sculptor, whereas circumcision is not an efficient instrumental cause, but a manifestation of faith and an occasion for God to bestow grace, as a sign pointing to the coming of the divine sculptor.

The causality of circumcision is like that of the other sacraments of the Old Law with one important difference. Sacred rites that work not ex opere operato but through the spiritual acts of the worshippers ordinarily directly benefit only those who make the spiritual acts of faith, hope, and charity. They can benefit others only indirectly by way of intercession. In circumcision, the circumcised babies are incapable of making personal acts of faith, hope, and char- ity, but these acts are made on their behalf by the parents and the community. Since babies are naturally entrusted to parents and the community, it is fitting that God respect this dependence also in the supernatural order by allowing the parents to act on behalf of the children.

If original sin was remitted on the occasion of circum- cision, which was received only by boys, what about the girls of Israel? To my knowledge, St. Thomas does not address this issue. However, the fact that the rites of Israel did not function ex opere operato is helpful here. Reception of the rite of circumcision was the occasion of God’s remitting original sin, but the salvific effect did not come through circumcision as through a uniquely efficacious instrument. Thus the salvific effect was not limited to the act of circumcision. God could equally remit original sin to the girls in the ceremony in which they received their names (Simchat bat) and were thus incorporated into the people of Israel.9 *9It seems that the best way to explain how the giving of grace in the Old Testament is tied to circumcision is that circumcision is the visible sign by which males became members of the people of Israel, and salvation was given by God to the members of Israel on the occasion of their incorporation into the People of God. Girls likewise would be participants of this grace when they are incorporated into the People of Israel on the celebration of their naming.

St. Thomas also holds that the grace of God would have been given to remit original sin prior to the institution of circumcision and to the nations outside of Israel. He hypothesizes that this gift would have been given on the occasion of the prayers of parents for the sanctification of their children, according to the rites of their culture. *10ST III, q. 70, a. 4, ad 2. See also ST III, q. 61, a. 3

The Rites of Israel after the Promulgation of the Gospel

If the sacramental rites of Israel before Christ were the occasions of an infusion of grace, we may ask whether that continues to be the case after the Passion of Christ. An answer to this question requires a proper understanding of invincible ignorance and of God’s fidelity to His own promises, election, and covenant. The notion of invincible ignorance in particular was one that evolved only slowly in the Church. It appears in magisterial documents for the first time in the nineteenth century.11 *11See Pius IX, encyclical Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, Aug. 10, 1863, DS 2866, and his earlier encyclical, Singulari Quadam from 1854

It seems reasonable to hold that God continues to give grace on the occasion of the rites of the Old Covenant when they are celebrated by Jews with the disposition of faith, hope, and charity, and with invincible (inculpable) ignorance of the truth of Christianity. This is based first on the principle that the election of the Jewish People has not been revoked, according to Romans 11:29 and confirmed by Vatican II in Nostra Aetate §4. Secondly, there is the principle that God remains faithful, even when men are unfaithful. Third, such worship done in faith, hope, and charity is meritorious, and thus, like other acts of charity, it merits an increase of grace.

A second question is whether Christians can continue to practice the sacramental rites of the Old Covenant, such as circumcision or the Passover meal, as well as other practices of the Jewish ceremonial law. *12St. Thomas makes a very important distinction of three types of precepts of the Law of Moses: moral, ceremonial, and judicial. The moral precepts, such as the Ten Commandments, pertain to the natural moral law. Ceremonial precepts, such as those regarding the feasts of Israel and dietary prescriptions, pertain to liturgical law. Judicial precepts were a form of divinely sanctioned civil law that determined particular ways of enforcing the moral law in ancient Israel. The sacramental rites of Israel were the most important parts of the ceremonial law This question comes up especially with regard to Christians of Jewish heritage. As seen above, Christians must not consider them to be on the same level as the sacramental liturgy of the New Covenant, *13See the Council of Trent, Canons on the Sacraments in General, canon 2, DS1602 for which they are a typological preparation. Nor can they hold such rites to be necessary for salvation.  *14See the Council of Florence, Bull Cantate Domino (Decree of the Ja- cobites), DS 1348

The Council of Jerusalem determined that Gentiles were not to be pressured to practice the Jewish ceremonial law in general, and instructed them only to refrain from consumption of animal blood.15 *15See Acts 15:1–29. On the Jerusalem Council’s prohibition of animal blood, see ST I-II, q. 103, a. 4, ad 3: “These foods were forbidden literally, not with the purpose of enforcing compliance with the legal ceremonies, but in order to further the union of Gentiles and Jews living side by side. Because blood and things strangled were loathsome to the Jews by ancient custom; while the Jews might have suspected the Gentiles of relapse into idolatry if the latter had partaken of things offered to idols. Hence these things were prohibited for the time being, during which the Gentiles and Jews were to become united together. But as time went on, with the lapse of the cause, the effect lapsed also, when the truth of the Gospel teaching was divulged, wherein Our Lord taught that ‘not that which entereth into the mouth defileth a man’ (Mt 15:11); and that ‘nothing is to be rejected that is received with thanksgiving’ (1 Tim 4:4). It did not determine, however, that Christians of Jewish heritage were to be made to refrain from practicing elements of the Jewish ceremonial law. *16See St. Augustine, Letter 82 to St. Jerome (AD 405), in Saint Augustine, Letters, vol. 1 (1–82), trans. Sr. Wilfrid Parson (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1951), 397–98: “The Apostles had just decreed in Jerusalem itself that no one was to compel the Gentiles to live like the Jews, but they had not decreed that no one was to prevent the Jews from living like Jews, although the Christian teaching did not oblige them to do so.”

Some Christians of Jewish origin in the early Church continued to follow the Jewish ceremonial law up until the fourth century. *17See Jean Daniélou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity, trans. John Baker (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1964); Lawrence Feingold, The Mystery of Israel and the Church, vol. 1, Figure and Fulfillment (St. Louis: Miriam Press, 2010), 180–182 The general practice of the Church from the second century on, however, was not to permit Jewish converts to continue to practice the rites of the Jewish ceremonial law. *18See St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians 8–10, in Michael W. Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 207–209

There is an interesting exchange of letters on this subject between St. Augustine and St. Jerome. *19See St. Augustine, Letter 82 to St. Jerome of ad 405, in Saint Augustine, Letters, vol. 1 (1–82), trans. Sr. Wilfrid Parson (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1951), 390–420. For St. Jerome, see his Letter to St. Augustine of ad 404, in Saint Augustine, Letters, letter 75, vol. 1 (1–82), 342–367. For an overview of this correspondence between St. Augustine and St. Jerome, see Robert J. O’Connell, S.J., “When Saintly Fathers Feuded: The Correspondence between Augustine and Jerome,” Thought 54 (1979): 344–364. They both agreed that Jewish converts of their time were not to continue to practice the ceremonial law of the Old Covenant. They disagreed, however, on the time in which such worship ceased to be lawfully offered by Christians. St. Jerome maintained that the Passion of Christ marked the end of the time in which the ceremonial rites of Israel were pleasing to God. But what about the fact that the Apostles continue to follow the liturgy of the Old Covenant and other aspects of the ceremonial law, such as the dietary laws?  *20See Acts 3:1; 10:14; 21:24–27 St. Jerome argued that the Apostles continued to observe only by a kind of simulation. They only appeared to be celebrating so as to avoid scandal to Jews. St. Augustine, on the other hand, rejected the idea that the Apostles were only simulating their participation in rites of the Old Covenant. Instead, he argued that during the Apostolic age the rites of Israel continued to be lawfully practiced by Jewish believers in Christ, but that this was no longer the case after the sufficient promulgation of the Gospel at the end of the Apostolic age. He compared continued practice of ceremonial rites of the Old Law to the honor given to the bodies of the faithful departed before they are buried.

According to St. Augustine, if the rites of the Old Covenant were simply prohibited after the Passion of Christ, the impression would be that they were not actually from God and were no different from the rites of pagan religions. St. Paul in particular was suspected by Jewish Christians of his time of holding such a teaching. Thus the ceremonial rites of the Old Covenant continued to be celebrated by the Apostles, including St. Paul, *21See Acts 21:21–26; 16:3 to manifest faith in the continuity of the Covenants and the fact that rites of the Mosaic Law were truly from God. However, after the Gos- pel was sufficiently promulgated, it was no longer fitting that the rites of the Old Covenant be practiced by Christians because it could easily cause confusion by blurring the distinction between what is necessary for salvation—the sacraments of the New Covenant—and what was merely the typological preparation for those sacraments.

St. Thomas, in his treatise on the Old Law, takes the position of St. Augustine in this controversy *22See ST I-II q. 103, a. 4, ad 1 and gives a theological justification for the practice of the Church in his time prohibiting observance of the ceremonial law of the Old Covenant. He argues that the rites of Israel ceased to be the occasions of the giving of grace, and became gravely sinful after the promulgation of the Gospel. It seems that this position needs to be nuanced, and various distinctions added, in accordance with a development of doctrine. St. Thomas’s reasoning is that liturgical rites are expressions of faith. In the expression of faith the time element is significant. Since the rites of the Old Covenant were typological prefigurations of the Passion of Christ and the sacraments of the New Covenant were something still to come, he reasons that to continue to celebrate such rites would be to liturgically profess Christ’s First Coming as still in the future, and thus to signify something contrary to Christian faith:

“All ceremonies are professions of faith, in which the interior worship of God consists. Now man can make pro- fession of his inward faith, by deeds as well as by words: and in either profession, if he make a false declaration, he sins mortally. Now, though our faith in Christ is the same as that of the fathers of old; yet, since they came before Christ, whereas we come after Him, the same faith is expressed in different words, by us and by them. For by them was it said: ‘Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son,’ where the verbs are in the future tense: whereas we express the same by means of verbs in the past tense, and say that she ‘conceived and bore.’ In like manner the ceremonies of the Old Law betokened Christ as having yet to be born and to suffer: whereas our sacraments signify Him as already born and having suffered. Consequently, just as it would be a mortal sin now for anyone, in making a profession of faith, to say that Christ is yet to be born, which the fathers of old said devoutly and truthfully; so too it would be a mortal sin now to observe those ceremonies which the fathers of old fulfilled with devotion and fidelity. Such is the teaching of Augustine (Contra Faustum 19.16), who says: ‘It is no longer promised that He shall be born, shall suffer and rise again, truths of which their sacraments were a kind of image: but it is declared that He is already born, has suffered and risen again; of which our sacraments, in which Christians share, are the actual representation.’ ” *23ST I-II q. 103, a. 4. 13

St. Thomas’s reasoning presupposes that participation in an Old Testament rite effectively communicates, through liturgical action rather than words, that Christ is still expected and has not yet come. Participation in the sacra- ments of the Church, on the contrary, signifies through liturgical action the faith that Christ has already come.

In harmony with the reasoning contained in this article, the Council of Florence, in the Bull Cantate Domino, severely prohibited any continued celebration of the cer- emonial law of the Old Testament by Christians:

“She (the holy Roman Church) firmly believes, professes, and teaches that the legal prescriptions of the Old Testament or the Mosaic law, which are divided into ceremonies, holy sacrifices, and sacraments, because they were instituted to signify something in the future, although they were adequate for the divine cult of that age, once our Lord Jesus Christ who was signified by them had come, came to an end and the sacraments of the New Testament had their beginning. Whoever, even after the Passion, places his hope in the legal prescriptions and submits himself to them as necessary for salvation, as if faith in Christ without them could not save, sins mortally. She does not deny that from Christ’s Passion until the promulgation of the gospel they could have been retained, provided they were in no way believed to be necessary for salvation. But she asserts that after the promulgation of the gospel they cannot be observed without loss of eternal salvation.

“Therefore, she denounces all who after that time observe circumcision, the sabbath, and other legal prescriptions as strangers to the faith of Christ and unable to share in eternal salvation, unless they recoil at some time from these errors. Therefore, she strictly orders all who glory in the name of Christian not to practice circumcision either before or after baptism, since whether or not they place their hope in it, it cannot possibly be observed without loss of eternal salvation.” *24Bull of Union with the Copts and the Ethiopians, Cantate Domino (Decree for the Jacobites), Feb. 4, 1442, DS 1348

This conciliar text prohibits basing one’s hope for sal- vation in the rites of the Old Law and regarding them as necessary for salvation, for they only prefigure but do not contain and apply the fruits of Christ’s Passion. This is clearly a dogmatic teaching put forth in a definitive way, as can be seen from the solemn language of the first sentence.

In addition, there is a disciplinary prohibition on the observance of circumcision or any other ceremonial rite of the Old Covenant, even if they are not done as if neces- sary for salvation. This is disciplinary rather than doctrinal because it gives an “order” not to do something which is not in itself contrary to natural law. *25Infallibility only concerns the Magisterium’s doctrinal teaching, in which something is authoritatively stated to be true or false. Disciplinary decrees require the faithful to act or refrain from acting in a certain way, as long as they are considered to be binding. They are not said to be infallible or fallible, because they do not directly affirm a truth, but rather impose an obligation. See Feingold, Faith Comes from What Is Heard: An Introduction to Fundamental Theology (Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Academic, 2016), 242, 263, 273. The reason for this prohibition is not directly stated, but we can suppose it to be what is stated in the previous paragraph, which is that the rites of the Old Covenant signify Christ’s coming as still future, like the Old Testament prophecies. I would argue that this prohibition should be seen as a disciplinary decree which is no longer in effect. The 1983 Code of Canon Law contains no particular prohibition of circumcision or other ceremonial rites of the Old Covenant. Pope Benedict XIV, in the mid-eighteenth century, declared that elements of the Jewish ceremonial law could be observed for a “just and serious reason,”  *26Pope Benedict XIV, encyclical Ex Quo Primum, on the Euchologian, of March 1, 1756, n. 63, in The Papal Encyclicals 1740–1878, ed. Claudia Carlen (Wilmington, NC: McGrath Publishing, 1981), 99). In this document, Pope Benedict approved a book of liturgical prayers (Euchologion) used in the Eastern rite by the Greek Uniates. The liturgical prayers contained certain elements of the ceremonial law of Moses that were still customary in parts of Eastern Christianity, although no longer in the West. Some theologians wanted those elements eliminated. Benedict XIV decided not to modify the prayer book, reasoning that elements of the ceremonial law could be observed as long as there was some utility in their observance. He notes that some elements of the ceremonial law were imposed on the early Christians by the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) for the purpose of establishing peace between Jews and Gentiles in the Church. Those laws were retained longer in the Eastern Church than in the West. Hence the judgment of Benedict XIV was that some elements of the ceremonial precepts could be retained or observed, subject to the mind of the Church. He wrote: “Although the ceremonial precepts of the old Law have come to an end with the promulgation of the Gospel, and the new Law does not contain any precept which distinguishes between clean and unclean foods, nevertheless the Church of Christ has the power of renewing the obligation to observe some of the old precepts for just and serious reasons, despite their abrogation by the new Law” as was done by the Council of Jerusalem.

With regard to the argumentation of St. Thomas, implied also in the teaching of the Council of Florence in the Bull Cantate Domino, I would make two qualifications. First of all, both St. Thomas and the Council of Florence as- sume that the promulgation of the Gospel is something definitively achieved centuries earlier, completed by the close of the Apostolic age. This assumption has long ceased to be convincing. *27See Lumen Gentium §16; Pius IX, encyclical Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, Aug. 10, 1863, DS 2866 For centuries we have increasingly become aware that the Gospel has only adequately been communicated to a limited portion of humanity, and that even in Western society, increasing numbers have never been properly exposed to the motives of credibility for the Catholic faith. Wherever there is invincible ignorance, the promulgation of the Gospel has not been fully achieved. This promulgation exists in varying degrees in differ- ent times and places and continues to be accomplished throughout the life of the Church.

If the Gospel has not been fully promulgated in a given cultural context (as, for example, in Israel), then, according to the reasoning of St. Augustine and St. Thomas, assumed also by the Council of Florence, it would follow that in that cultural context it would still be licit to continue to observe certain ceremonial rites of the Old Covenant. This would seem to apply both to Jews who do not believe in Christ and those who do. *28See the comments on the Council of Florence by Gavin D’Costa, “Israel, Jewish Christians, Messianic Christians, and the Catholic Church,” The Hebrew Catholic 103 (Spring 2018): 14–15, to be further developed in his forthcoming volume, Catholics after Vatican II: Doctrines about the Jewish People (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019). Thus the observance of the ceremonial Law of Moses by Jews today, who may very often be inculpably ignorant of Catholic teaching for lack of an appropriate evangelization, should be seen not as something sinful, but as something still pleasing to God and meritorious. *29Nevertheless, invincible ignorance of Christ is something tragic in itself, for it is the lack of the most important and beautiful of truths. Therefore, Christians can have a reverent attitude towards Jewish worship. Such an attitude is also crucial for dialogue with the Jewish community.

Secondly, the fact that the rites of the Old Covenant prefigured the sacrifice of Christ and the sacraments of the Church does not necessarily imply that a present par- ticipation in such rites (as in the celebration of a Passover seder) has to be understood as a proclamation that Christ has not yet come. We see from the New Testament that the Apostles themselves and the whole first generation of Christians from the circumcision continued to observe much of the ceremonial Law of Moses. Christ Himself observed the ceremonial Law, not signifying thereby that He had not yet come, but transforming it as He transformed all that He assumed in His humanity.

Acts 21:20–24 gives a vivid picture of the early Church in Jerusalem continuing to observe the ceremonial Law. When St. Paul arrived in Jerusalem after his third missionary voyage, James and the elders encouraged him to participate in the fulfillment of a Nazirite vow:

“You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; they are all zealous for the law, and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs. What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you but that you yourself live in observance of the law.”

Clearly the Christian community in Jerusalem was not signifying by their observance that Christ had not yet come. On the contrary, they observed the Old Testament rites with the new realization of their deepest meaning, as signs prefiguring the Christ who had already come and fulfilled the Law and made all things new. It follows that these rites can be celebrated in the context of faith in Christ’s fulfillment of the Old Testament types, which can help manifest the continuity of God’s plan of salvation his- tory. Such re-enactments can aid the faithful to grasp the divine pedagogy by which events in the Old Testament, commemorated in the liturgy of Israel, prefigure the Pas- chal mystery of Christ, the Church, and her sacraments.

Finally, it is also clear that when the messianic prophe- cies of the Old Testament are proclaimed in the liturgy, they do not lose their importance from the fact that they have been fulfilled in Christ, but on the contrary are con- firmed and magnified by that fulfillment. In the same way, the ceremonial rites of Israel can retain a prophetic value which is not annulled by their being fulfilled in Christ, but instead fills us with admiration and wonder at the beauty and depth of God’s plan of salvation. The obligatory quality of those rites has passed away, but their glorious prophetic, typological, and revelatory value remains.

St. Thomas’s argument would be valid if the only reason for observing such a rite would be to profess faith in Christ as still to come, and if it were understood precisely in this way by those who observed such a rite, so that it would cause scandal to others by signifying disbelief in the Incar- nation. *30Indeed, in the context of medieval society, such scandal may have been likely to follow from Jewish Christian observance of elements of the ceremo- nial law. But if there are other reasons for observing such a rite that would edify rather than cause scandal, as can be seen in the practice of the Apostolic generation, then the argument would fail. I would argue that free devotional observance of these types in the current context could serve at least five other important purposes.

Reasons in Favor of the Devotional Observance of Elements of the Old Testament Ceremonial Law

First of all, such observances would help all Christians be more aware of the typology of Israel, and the vital connection between Israel and the Church. It would help Christians recognize their roots in the history of the Chosen People. Our current historical context makes this aspect more important today than it would have been in the medieval period. Today most Christians are completely ignorant of the Jewish roots of the faith. Seeing these types helps to provide motives of credibility for faith and to show the vital and intrinsic connection between Israel and the Church.

Secondly, a devotional observance by Christians of cer- tain elements of the Old Testament ceremonial law, such as the Passover seder, shows reverence for the worship and prayer of the Old Covenant. *31This is in harmony with the interpretation of St. Augustine as to why the Apostolic generation continued to observe elements of the Mosaic ceremonial Law, as seen in Acts 21:20–24. This would be helpful in reducing anti-Semitic attitudes among Christians. In the wake of the Holocaust, this is not of small importance.

Third, it would be a way for Jewish Christians to remain connected in some measure with the glorious heritage, worship, and messianic longing of their people. Without any shared liturgical practice, it is difficult for Jewish Christians to retain a living connection with this heritage, so central to salvation history. Thus it could help prevent the complete loss of Jewish identity in Jewish Christians through assimilation. Otherwise, it is typical that after one or two generations the children and grandchildren of Hebrew Catholics lose the sense of belonging to the Jewish people. *32See Elias Friedman, Jewish Identity (New York: The Miriam Press, 1987)

Fourth, such observance could help Jews outside the Church come to understand that belief in Christ on the part of Jews does not have to lead to the disappearance of the people of Israel.

Fifth, such observances can serve as a devotion to the humanity of Christ and to the Holy Family, for Christ was “born of a woman, born under the Law.” The salvific mys- teries of Christ’s life include His practice of the rites of the Old Covenant. His circumcision, for example, was the first blood that He shed for the human race, and a magnificent type of the divine condescension and humility, by which the Lord of the Covenant is marked with its sign, and the Pure One is marked as cleansed from sin.

Like other sacramentals and devotions in the life of the Church, Christians, including Jewish Christians, ought to have freedom to practice them or not.

Conditions for the Devotional Observance of Elements of the Old Testament Ceremonial Law

In order to avoid falling into the kind of liturgical error spoken of by St. Thomas (or giving scandal in that way), and for bringing out their typological value, certain prin- ciples should animate the use of such observances on the part of Hebrew Catholics. First of all, their celebration is subject to the Magisterium of the Church and episcopal authority. Secondly, it should somehow be made clear in such observances that one’s intention is to celebrate them as prefigurations of a reality that one believes is already present. Hebrew Catholic observance of rituals such as the Passover seder, therefore, should not be equated with Jewish liturgy, as if we thought we were doing exactly the same thing. That cannot be the case, for the intentionality of the Christian participant in observing such rites must be different than that of Jews who do not believe that the Messiah has already come. *33When the Council of Florence prohibited the participation in Jewish ob- servances, it may have been presupposed that the celebration would not differ at all from the Jewish celebration, and that such a celebration would give scandal by signifying that Christ has not yet come. Furthermore, the Jewish community also has a legitimate concern that Jewish Christian observance of the Jewish liturgy may make it seem as if Messianic Jewish worship were essentially the same as the worship of the synagogue, so that some uneducated Jews might be deceived with regard to the difference. The following of the Church’s liturgical calendar, together with typological explanation of such observances, would help to prevent this. Thus it would be helpful that the typology in the rite be explained within the celebra- tion as prefiguring Christ who has come and fulfilled the type. For example, in the Hebrew Catholic celebration of the Passover seder, at various points it should be pointed out that this type was done to prefigure Christ’s paschal mystery and the institution of the Eucharist. *34See http://www.hebrewcatholic.net/the-ahc-passover-haggadah/

Third, it is very important that the faithful clearly un- derstand the difference between such prefiguring rites and the seven sacraments of the New Covenant. Observances of ceremonies from the Mosaic Law, therefore, cannot be principal and foundational in the worship of Hebrew Catholics, as they are for Jews who have not come to faith in Christ. The principal elements of worship of Hebrew Catholics, as for all Christians, must be the sacraments of the New Covenant. This also implies that the liturgical calendar of Hebrew Catholics, like all other Catholics, must revolve around the paschal mystery, and thus around Easter. This distinguishes Hebrew Catholic worship from that of Messianic Jewish congregations, which in practice tend to adopt the Jewish liturgical cycle as the foundation of their worship, adding Christian elements to it as a New Testament supplement.

Finally, such observances involving Old Testament types should be voluntary for Hebrew Catholics as they are for other Catholics. The obligation of the ceremonial law of the Old Covenant has been taken away by the establish- ment of a New Covenant with its own liturgical life and corresponding law. All such observances on the part of Catholics should be understood as voluntary devotions that are not in competition with the Church’s sacraments, but may help dispose one for the sacramental life instituted by the Word Incarnate.

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References:   [ + ]

1. See St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians 8–9.1, in Michael Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 155: “For if we continue to live in accordance with Judaism, we admit that we have not received grace. . . . If, then, those who had lived in antiquated practices came to newness of hope, no longer keeping the Sabbath but living in accordance with the Lord’s day . . . how can we possibly live without him?”
2. See Benoit-Dominique de La Soujeole, “The Economy of Salvation: Entitative Sacramentality and Operative Sacramentality,” The Thomist 75 (2011): 543: “The fact that for St. Thomas the Jewish sacraments are sacraments in the proper sense permits us to say that he regards the entire economy of salvation as sacramental. Assuredly this is a very patristic intuition.”
3. ST III, q. 60, a. 2.
4. See ST III, q. 62, a. 1: “An efficient cause is twofold: principal and instru- mental. The principal cause works by the power of its form, to which form the effect is likened; just as fire by its own heat makes something hot. In this way none but God can cause grace. . . . But the instrumental cause works not by the power of its form, but only by the motion whereby it is moved by the principal agent: so that the effect is not likened to the instrument but to the principal agent: for instance, the couch is not like the axe, but like the art which is in the craftsman’s mind.” The effect, however, also shows some likeness to the instrument, for the quality and kind of instrument make a difference to the effect. Different paintbrushes can do different things. For this reason, the sacramental signs differ from each other and bear a resemblance to their individual purposes.
5. St. Thomas Aquinas explains this in ST III, q. 62, a. 6: “Now nothing hinders that which is subsequent in point of time, from causing movement, even before it exists in reality, in so far as it pre-exists in an act of the soul: thus the end, which is subsequent in point of time, moves the agent in so far as it is apprehended and desired by him. On the other hand, what does not yet actually exist, does not cause movement if we consider the use of exterior things. Consequently, the efficient cause cannot in point of time come into existence after causing movement, as does the final cause. It is therefore clear that the sacraments of the New Law do reasonably derive the power of justification from Christ’s Passion, which is the cause of man’s righteousness; whereas the sacraments of the Old Law did not. Nevertheless the Fathers of old were justified by faith in Christ’s Passion, just as we are. And the sacraments of the Old Law were a kind of protestation of that faith, inasmuch as they signified Christ’s Passion and its effects. It is therefore manifest that the sacraments of the Old Law were not endowed with any power by which they conduced to the bestowal of justifying grace: and they merely signified faith by which men were justified.”
6. See Calvin, Institutes, book 4, chapter 14.
7. DS, 780
8. See also ST III, q. 62, a. 6, ad 3
9. It seems that the best way to explain how the giving of grace in the Old Testament is tied to circumcision is that circumcision is the visible sign by which males became members of the people of Israel, and salvation was given by God to the members of Israel on the occasion of their incorporation into the People of God. Girls likewise would be participants of this grace when they are incorporated into the People of Israel on the celebration of their naming.
10. ST III, q. 70, a. 4, ad 2. See also ST III, q. 61, a. 3
11. See Pius IX, encyclical Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, Aug. 10, 1863, DS 2866, and his earlier encyclical, Singulari Quadam from 1854
12. St. Thomas makes a very important distinction of three types of precepts of the Law of Moses: moral, ceremonial, and judicial. The moral precepts, such as the Ten Commandments, pertain to the natural moral law. Ceremonial precepts, such as those regarding the feasts of Israel and dietary prescriptions, pertain to liturgical law. Judicial precepts were a form of divinely sanctioned civil law that determined particular ways of enforcing the moral law in ancient Israel. The sacramental rites of Israel were the most important parts of the ceremonial law
13. See the Council of Trent, Canons on the Sacraments in General, canon 2, DS1602
14. See the Council of Florence, Bull Cantate Domino (Decree of the Ja- cobites), DS 1348
15. See Acts 15:1–29. On the Jerusalem Council’s prohibition of animal blood, see ST I-II, q. 103, a. 4, ad 3: “These foods were forbidden literally, not with the purpose of enforcing compliance with the legal ceremonies, but in order to further the union of Gentiles and Jews living side by side. Because blood and things strangled were loathsome to the Jews by ancient custom; while the Jews might have suspected the Gentiles of relapse into idolatry if the latter had partaken of things offered to idols. Hence these things were prohibited for the time being, during which the Gentiles and Jews were to become united together. But as time went on, with the lapse of the cause, the effect lapsed also, when the truth of the Gospel teaching was divulged, wherein Our Lord taught that ‘not that which entereth into the mouth defileth a man’ (Mt 15:11); and that ‘nothing is to be rejected that is received with thanksgiving’ (1 Tim 4:4).
16. See St. Augustine, Letter 82 to St. Jerome (AD 405), in Saint Augustine, Letters, vol. 1 (1–82), trans. Sr. Wilfrid Parson (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1951), 397–98: “The Apostles had just decreed in Jerusalem itself that no one was to compel the Gentiles to live like the Jews, but they had not decreed that no one was to prevent the Jews from living like Jews, although the Christian teaching did not oblige them to do so.”
17. See Jean Daniélou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity, trans. John Baker (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1964); Lawrence Feingold, The Mystery of Israel and the Church, vol. 1, Figure and Fulfillment (St. Louis: Miriam Press, 2010), 180–182
18. See St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians 8–10, in Michael W. Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 207–209
19. See St. Augustine, Letter 82 to St. Jerome of ad 405, in Saint Augustine, Letters, vol. 1 (1–82), trans. Sr. Wilfrid Parson (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1951), 390–420. For St. Jerome, see his Letter to St. Augustine of ad 404, in Saint Augustine, Letters, letter 75, vol. 1 (1–82), 342–367. For an overview of this correspondence between St. Augustine and St. Jerome, see Robert J. O’Connell, S.J., “When Saintly Fathers Feuded: The Correspondence between Augustine and Jerome,” Thought 54 (1979): 344–364.
20. See Acts 3:1; 10:14; 21:24–27
21. See Acts 21:21–26; 16:3
22. See ST I-II q. 103, a. 4, ad 1
23. ST I-II q. 103, a. 4. 13
24. Bull of Union with the Copts and the Ethiopians, Cantate Domino (Decree for the Jacobites), Feb. 4, 1442, DS 1348
25. Infallibility only concerns the Magisterium’s doctrinal teaching, in which something is authoritatively stated to be true or false. Disciplinary decrees require the faithful to act or refrain from acting in a certain way, as long as they are considered to be binding. They are not said to be infallible or fallible, because they do not directly affirm a truth, but rather impose an obligation. See Feingold, Faith Comes from What Is Heard: An Introduction to Fundamental Theology (Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Academic, 2016), 242, 263, 273.
26. Pope Benedict XIV, encyclical Ex Quo Primum, on the Euchologian, of March 1, 1756, n. 63, in The Papal Encyclicals 1740–1878, ed. Claudia Carlen (Wilmington, NC: McGrath Publishing, 1981), 99). In this document, Pope Benedict approved a book of liturgical prayers (Euchologion) used in the Eastern rite by the Greek Uniates. The liturgical prayers contained certain elements of the ceremonial law of Moses that were still customary in parts of Eastern Christianity, although no longer in the West. Some theologians wanted those elements eliminated. Benedict XIV decided not to modify the prayer book, reasoning that elements of the ceremonial law could be observed as long as there was some utility in their observance. He notes that some elements of the ceremonial law were imposed on the early Christians by the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) for the purpose of establishing peace between Jews and Gentiles in the Church. Those laws were retained longer in the Eastern Church than in the West. Hence the judgment of Benedict XIV was that some elements of the ceremonial precepts could be retained or observed, subject to the mind of the Church. He wrote: “Although the ceremonial precepts of the old Law have come to an end with the promulgation of the Gospel, and the new Law does not contain any precept which distinguishes between clean and unclean foods, nevertheless the Church of Christ has the power of renewing the obligation to observe some of the old precepts for just and serious reasons, despite their abrogation by the new Law”
27. See Lumen Gentium §16; Pius IX, encyclical Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, Aug. 10, 1863, DS 2866
28. See the comments on the Council of Florence by Gavin D’Costa, “Israel, Jewish Christians, Messianic Christians, and the Catholic Church,” The Hebrew Catholic 103 (Spring 2018): 14–15, to be further developed in his forthcoming volume, Catholics after Vatican II: Doctrines about the Jewish People (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019).
29. Nevertheless, invincible ignorance of Christ is something tragic in itself, for it is the lack of the most important and beautiful of truths.
30. Indeed, in the context of medieval society, such scandal may have been likely to follow from Jewish Christian observance of elements of the ceremo- nial law.
31. This is in harmony with the interpretation of St. Augustine as to why the Apostolic generation continued to observe elements of the Mosaic ceremonial Law, as seen in Acts 21:20–24.
32. See Elias Friedman, Jewish Identity (New York: The Miriam Press, 1987
33. When the Council of Florence prohibited the participation in Jewish ob- servances, it may have been presupposed that the celebration would not differ at all from the Jewish celebration, and that such a celebration would give scandal by signifying that Christ has not yet come. Furthermore, the Jewish community also has a legitimate concern that Jewish Christian observance of the Jewish liturgy may make it seem as if Messianic Jewish worship were essentially the same as the worship of the synagogue, so that some uneducated Jews might be deceived with regard to the difference. The following of the Church’s liturgical calendar, together with typological explanation of such observances, would help to prevent this.
34. See http://www.hebrewcatholic.net/the-ahc-passover-haggadah/