Evangelii Gaudium: The Temple Veil And The End Of The Old Order.

Temple Veil Reconstruction

We do not know much about the Temple Veil. We have the usual Flavius Josephus, and some Jewish sources with descriptions that might, following the use of the time, be willed exaggerations in order to make the point.

What is undoubted is that the veil was not a proper veil, but an extremely thick, finely interwoven curtain, extremely beautiful and extremely heavy. It had the role of a “movable wall”. As it procured access to the Sancta Sanctorum, entry to which was forbidden to almost everyone almost every time, there was the need of a system making necessary the cooperation of several men to procure entrance, thus avoiding the possibility of “sneaking in” on the sly that a door would have easily afforded. In this way, the veil procured security from entrance without having to tear down a wall every year. As you can imagine, a work of this sort would be of exceptional strength and weight, the finely interwoven tissues giving it extreme resistance and making it unthinkable that anyone may ever rent it to obtain entrance.

The “veil” was, therefore, not a small matter. Firstly it was a beast of a thing, and secondly with its magnificence and its role it was a massive witness of the sacrality of the Sancta Sanctorum, which contained the Ark. The highly symbolic character of this exceptional artifact is absolutely evident.

This “veil” is reported by the Gospels. Matthew says:

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

A big earthquake takes place immediately after Our Lord dies. The veil is torn, but not simply damaged: it is “rent in twain from the top to the bottom”, and the comparison with the rocks leaves no doubt about the magnitude of the events (both the earthquake and the astonishing renting of the veil). The fact itself and the emphatic report of the Evangelists do not leave any doubt: at the very moment of Jesus' death, Judaism stops being the religion of the Covenant. The veil is torn and access is possible to everyone, because the Sancta Sanctorum is no more necessary. Christianity is born, and Judaism is now officially past its “sell by” date. In a few decades the Temple itself will be destroyed by, in another symbolic turn of events, Rome, the appointed fulcrum of the new religion and of the Only Church. The humiliation is total and definitive, and the consequence inescapable: the Temple is gone because God has no use for it. Nothing like complete and irreversible destruction screams “you're fired”, but the real “pink slip” was the renting of the veil with its unmistakable meaning.

The disciples of Jesus clearly grasped it. We see this in the Acts, with Peter boldly calling the Jews to conversion on the day of Pentecost. Evidently, there is a need to convert Jews to the new faith if they are to be saved. If it were not so, Jesus' very death on the cross would make no sense, and the entire Christian message would be a fraud. But it is so, and the Jews recognise the great danger coming from the followers of Christ. They understand that the Christians are far more than a strange branch of Judaism: they are an alternative to it, and one that risks to wipe them out. Saul understands the dangers very well, and is very zealous in his work of eradication. The rest is, well, Scripture.

There can be no doubt that for the first Christians, and for all those who came after, a Jew belongs to the wrong shop. The wrong one, not the nice old one. The Jews themselves certainly can't think they belong to the new religion, and would in fact never claim they do. The Jews do not believe in the Trinity, or the Holy Ghost, or Jesus. A smart child of seven would understand that the two religions are not compatible. They are, in fact, two religions, of which one is now false, because past “sell by” date.

A child of seven would understand all this, but a Jesuit of 76? Hhmmm, let's read from Evangelii Gaudium:

“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).

The Church, which shares with Jews an important part of the Sacred Scriptures, looks upon the people of the covenant and their faith as one of the sacred roots of her own Christian identity (cf. Rom 11:16-18). 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 (cf. 1 Thes 1:9). With them, we believe in the one God[1] who acts in history, and with them we accept his revealed word”.

No need for conversion to Christ. Actually, no need for Christ in the first place. In this vision, Jesus is a nice chap and bringer of “joy”, but is ultimately superfluous as “we cannot consider Judaism a foreign religion”, and we do not include them among those who need to convert. When Peter told the Jews on the day of Pentecost they need to convert, he was clearly wrong. Tsk, tsk! Should talk to the atheists instead. No, wait!…

The gravity of these words does not need any comment, but I note that this is exactly, to the last word, the mentality that allows Francis to consider his pal, Rabbi Skorka, perfectly fine in all that he does, and even worthy of encouragement to do it even better and in general go on with his own religion.

Converting him? No, no, no!

This exhortation seems to me just another Modernist document: orthodox here, perhaps laudable here or there (51,000 words is a lot), but then clearly heretical in some statements, thrown in almost casually in the midst of the ocean of words but such that they will slowly shape the public consciousness in the matter.

We will see what else comes out. I have read some good things about abortion, but then again he is the Pope.

Also, keep in mind this is something for insiders: most readers of “Repubblica” will barely notice the event, and will not be motivated to go on the Internet and read it. Which, by 51,000 words, is rather understandable.

Therefore, the public perception of the Pope will continue to be dominated by the interviews. This here is, in the end, merely a sideshow.



Posted on November 28, 2013, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I was reminded of what Ven. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said of the rending of the veil being from top to bottom and the significance of it. Happily, I found it detailed here:
    “The very fact that it was tom from top to bottom was to indicate that it was not done by the hand of man, but by the miraculous Hand of God Himself, Who had ordained that, as long as the Old Law should endure, the veil should hang before the Holy of Holies. Now He decreed that it should be torn asunder at His death.”

  2. [Ergo] No need for conversion to Christ. Actually, no need for Christ in the first place.

    That cuts to the heart of the matter. It is so egregious that it turns the whole gospel into a lie.

  3. Regarding scripture passages relevant to this issue, see Matthew 10 : 5 – 15:

    “These twelve Jesus sent: commanding them, saying: Go ye not into the way of the Gentiles, and into the city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go ye rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And going, preach, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils: freely have you received, freely give. Do not possess gold, nor silver, nor money in your purses: Nor scrip for your journey, nor two coats, nor shoes, nor a staff; for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town you shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and there abide till you go thence. And when you come into the house, salute it, saying: Peace be to this house. And if that house be worthy, your peace shall come upon it; but if it be not worthy, your peace shall return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet. Amen I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.”

    In the first mission, Jesus sent forth his apostles to proclaim His Kingdom to his contemporary jews. Jesus warns the apostles that on the day of judgment the sodomites would have it better than any contemporary jew who rejected the proclamation of His Kingdom.

    A query for “Pope” Francis: does he believe that this warning of Our Lord Himself is a continuing warning to all generations of jews, or did it just apply to those jews who were contemporaries of Jesus? Does “Pope” Francis even believe that the contemporary jews who rejected Jesus are damned?

    If “Pope” Francis does not believe that this warning applies to all future generations of jews, on what basis does he reach this conclusion? All of the commands of Jesus have been interpreted by the Church as continuing; that is they do not have an expiration date. I interpret this passage to be just as binding on current jews and Catholics as it was on the apostles. We are obliged to preach the gospel to the jews, and they are obliged to accept it.

    Further, Jesus did not authorize his disciples to engage in continuing fruitless dialogue with non-believers. They were specifically instructed to depart from those who do not accept the proclamation of His Kingdom. Accordingly, I conclude that this fascination with dialoguing with those who do not convert is directly disobedient to the command of Our Lord. Our Lord did not authorize his evangelists to remain in continuing fruitless dialogue with unbelievers, so those who do are not following the commands of Our Lord!

  4. What Irenaeas said. A wonderful post, M.

  5. Nice exposition. It’s interesting about how substantial the curtain was.

    Yesterday, I told an ardent end-times Christian about Francis’ claim. The reply was “that’s crazy, they have to convert”.

    Btw, Jimmy Carter in his 1976 campaign did something very similar to our Jorge. As always, Francis is unoriginal.

  6. Realising I’m a little late here, Mundabor, but it is worth noting that the clearest statements of the anti-Christian position on this matter tend to come from Card. Walter Kasper, to whom you might remember Francis gave a shout-out as a favoured theologian on one of his first days in the job. A choice quote is recorded in the excellent “The Great Facade”, but a quick search online provides this:

    “Cardinal Kasper noted that the unbroken covenant between God and Israel was part of God’s plan of salvation and so saving for Jews despite the absence of an explicit faith in Christ. When questioned about the Southern Baptist counterclaim that salvation was impossible without explicit Christian faith, the Cardinal replied that the Catholic Church disagrees with Southern Baptists and other evangelical denominations about that.”


    So, according to Kasper and those many, many clever men of his ilk the Catholic Church now mandates that faith in Christ is unnecessary for the salvation of the very people to whom He revealed Himself. This is the subtext to the more innocuous-sounding “the old covenant is not revoked / God doesn’t break his promises” canard. The Catholic Church teaches no such thing. It teaches, dogmatically, Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus.

    This “theology” is diabolical, anti-Christian, and I can guarantee the “good Cardinal” that a heck of a lot more than Southern Baptists believe that Christ Our Lord declared to the Jews specifically, and explicitly: “Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”, “No man cometh to the Father, but by me”, and on.

    I see today that clowns with megaphones like Mark Shea label those who persist in believing that Christ came to call the Jews to salvation, that the Church now comprises the true people of Israel – and that present-day shepherds of the Church are teaching serious and fundamental error on this matter – are to be labelled “Jew-haters”. Never mind that the real concern for each and every Jewish soul is held by those who beg them to come to a realisation of the Faith, just as our Good Friday prayers once did until neutered by the same revolutionaries who now claim that for modern Jews there is a path to salvation which rejects Christ. Unfathomable.

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