Here are some extended answers to questions raised by Bob Sungenis and his friend "Yanni" over at the Catholic Answers Forum. See the entire thread here:
Rather than post all of this material in the forum itself, we have put the material here and linked to it from the forum. For the full context that led up to these answers, by all means read the whole exchange.
and Supersessionism...yet again:
Mr. Palm, are you
telling us the Mosaic covenant isn’t superseded because you can’t find the word
“supersessionism” in a Catholic document??
No, Bob. And you already know that. You've read
"All in the Family," in which we stated, "the New Covenant in
Christ has superseded the Mosaic (or "Old") covenant".
And if you missed it there, we quoted it again three times in this very
thread See post #22, post #25 and post #32.
And, again, in this very thread when
As superseeded [sic]
and abrogated, the Mosaic Law and other non-Abrahamic Covenants are not
My response was "Agreed."
So that makes four times that the answer was
placed right in front of your eyes, Bob.
I don’t understand why you’re having such a hard
time understanding this, but let’s try it one last time. The problem is not and
has never been with merely using the word "supersede" or even
"supersessionism." These terms can be understood in a
perfectly orthodox way that reflects established Catholic teaching. But,
unfortunately, they can also be understood in way that goes beyond
what the Church teaches. That's what can happen when using terms that have
never been used, let alone defined by, the Catholic Church. Cardinal Dulles has
termed such usage a "crude supersessionism" (similarly, we’ve called
it "extreme supersessionism). In fact, you clearly seem to be an extreme
supersessionist yourself: "Is Robert Sungenis an Extreme Supersessionist?”
Again, Bob, the Church has never used, let alone
defined the term “supersessionism”. You have been completely unable to
prove otherwise. As such, it’s hard to express how absurd and un-Catholic it is
for you to employ this term, by itself, as an absolute litmus test of anyone’s
orthodoxy, let alone a bishop. But that’s
precisely what you’ve done to Bishop Rhoades, Bob. You’ve essentially rested
your entire “heresy” case against him on this single word – and it wasn’t even
used by Bishop Rhoades himself! That was bad enough. But even worse, there’s
copious, direct evidence that you’re flatly wrong, and yet you persist
in making your slanderous and erroneous charges in public, regardless. See: Bishop Rhoades and the Dual Covenant Theory, A Defense of Bishop Rhoades from More False Accusations by Robert Sungenis
and Sungenis’s Own Standards of Heresy: Why Don’t They Apply to Bishop Rhoades?
don’t forget, Bob, that you are the one who is using terminology that
neither sacred Scripture nor the Church has ever used. Again, consider the
irony: as the very centerpiece of your case, as one of "the most important
legal words related to the topic of the Old Covenant today" (as you put it), you chose a
word that has never been used by the Magisterium in regard to the status of the Old (Mosaic) Covenant. Bob, you don’t seem to
understand that words don’t become theologically important just because you
personally use them. But let’s look a little more at why the Church may have
chosen not to use your personal vocabulary.
R. Sungenis: Who in the world do you have as an authority on the English
language to support your novel definition? Revoked does not carry a “rebuke of
the holder.” It is a legal term just like “abolished”, “abrogated” or
the different nuances between "revoke/revocation" vs. words like
"abolish" and "supersede", it's really not that hard to understand, Bob. These words
are all similar, with significant commonalities, but also with different
nuances. Some of them have more than one definition. In fact, your most obvious
mistake is to see "supersede" as being the same as "revoke"
or "abolish". If something is abolished or revoked, it might not be
replaced with anything else. Conversely, if it's superseded it must be, by
definition, replaced by something else. That's why these words don't all have
precisely the same definitions and synonyms listed. Is that really so hard to
license is taken away because you were driving while intoxicated, because you
failed to pay your fines, or for malpractice, one would say your license was
"revoked." One would not say that your license was
"abolished". Why? Because "revoked" conveys a punitive
sense that implies something the license-holder did to cause the revocation
while "abolished" doesn't give that same force and nuance. If you
doubt this, spend some time Googling phrases like "license
revocation", "license revoked", "membership
revocation" and "membership revoked". You'll see that
"revoke" and "revocation" are almost universally associated
with some kind of violation by and resultant punishment of the license-holder or
membership-holder. Then try Googling "license abolished", "license
abolition." You'll notice an important difference in the nuances there.
already covered this in greater detail in our response to your
"critique" of our Lay Witness article here: scroll down to "Revoked?".
remember, it really doesn't matter whether you understand and agree with this
point because we're just offering this as one possible explanation as to why
the Church hasn't used "revoked" to describe the status of the Mosaic
covenant. More on this below.
explanation has no bearing or impact on the fact that the Church has not
used it in her entire 2,000 year history to describe the status of the Mosaic
covenant and the fact that you've made it your own veritable litmus test
of orthodoxy, naming your supposed definitive work on the topic “The Old
Covenant: Revoked or Not Revoked” and even going so far as to
call it one of "the most important legal words related to the topic of the
Old Covenant today."
I want you
to imagine yourself in an actual canonical proceeding right now. Picture
yourself trying to present a heresy case against Bishop Rhoades, using the
three statements that you personally made up and demanding that he assent to
them. Then imagine yourself employing words that the Church has never used like
“supersessionism” and “revoked” in relation to the Mosaic covenant. Can you
hear the hysterical laughter all around you in the courtroom, Bob? It’s just so
manifestly ludicrous. Yet, to you, this is apparently completely reasonable.
The Conversion of the Jews
treatment of the expectation of the “conversion of the Jews”—particularly in
regard to CCC 674 and the Fathers—continues to be one of the clearest proofs of
your “theology of prejudice” against Jews, Bob. You’ve adopted polar opposite
standards when something is negative about Jews versus when something is
positive about Jews.
example, you jumped to publicly proclaimed that the Church had
"unofficially declared" that the Antichrist will be a Jew and that
“the Fathers have much to say” about this. And what was your support for
that bold claim? Exactly two Fathers, no magisterial documents at all, and
perhaps most interestingly in light of your “Bible Bob” approach to everything
positive involving Jews—exactly zero scriptural exegesis of the relevant
passages. You used the alleged “prophecy” of St. Nilus, even though in a
context that didn’t involve Jews you admitted that this source was dubious
(http://www.sungenisandthejews.com/Antichrist-Conversion.html). And then you
produced four pages of quotes from Sts. Anselm, Hildegard, Bridget, Vincent
Ferrer, Thomas Aquinas, Bellarmine, Pius X, and the Catechism. But
remarkably,[B]only one[/B] of these, St. Anselm, actually mentioned Jews at
all, but not in support of your claim that the Antichrist will be of Jewish
ancestry. From the rest, there’s not a single mention of anything to do
with Jews or Judaism. Remember? (See here).
the other hand when the issue is something positive for Jews, like their
eventual restoration alongside the Gentiles in God’s plan of salvation, you adopt
whatever anti-Catholic, fundamentalist Protestant tactics you can in order to
deny it. You’ve been caught completely misrepresenting the scope of the
patristic, scriptural and magisterial evidence on this issue, see: here
You’ve even been caught cropping out portions of patristic quotes to obscure
the very words that show that they believed in this future conversion (see here).
your attempt to distort CCC 674 has already been dealt with.
Catechism speaks of the “full inclusion” of the Jews into the Church after (post in Latin) the full number of the Gentiles. In
the CCC this information is placed under the section dealing with what will
occur leading up to the Second Coming. Everything else listed there is something
that a person could perceive—Christ's return itself, the "final
trial" of the Church that will "shake the faith" of her members,
and the coming of Antichrist. And the recognition of the Messiah by "all
Israel" is right square in the middle of that section. According to your
unusual interpretation, Romans 11 isn't really that big of a deal. Very odd,
then, that the Church found it important enough to include along with the Great
Tribulation, the Great Apostasy, and the Antichrist as signs of the Second Coming. See more
if you want to argue that the conversion of the Jews is a hold-over from pre-millennialism
in the early Church and that therefore it must be erroneous (as you have), then to be
consistent you must also reject the notion of a “young earth” because it also
came from pre-millennialism, since the same early Fathers picked up on an idea
of Jewish (!!) eschatology which connected the days of creation with spans
of 1000 years and posited that the world would only last 6000 years. But
somehow I doubt you’ll be doing that.
regard to “recently” finding more Fathers who allegedly deny the “conversion of
the Jews”, you’d better look a little more closely at that “new” list of yours
and compare it with your current articles and books. For example, above, you
claim St. John Chrysostom and Gregory the Great as Fathers who agree with you.
But in your “book”, “The Catholic/Jewish Dialogue” you openly (and correctly)
acknowledge that both of these Fathers of the Church expected a future
conversion of the Jews–exactly the opposite of what you’re saying here.
page 567, you wrote: “Only three Fathers hold out for a future and distinct
conversion of the Jews: Jerome...Cyril of Alexandria...Chrysostom...” And
you even provided a quote from Chrysostom as proof, although there are many
other examples from St. Chrysostom that you could have cited (see http://www.sungenisandthejews.com/Addenda_and_Bio.html ). But then, in
stark contrast to your treatment of the Antichrist being Jewish, you chided St.
Chrysostom for failing to “give a thorough exegesis of the passages in
question” and even insulted his command of the Greek language—pretty
presumptuous of you considering that St. Chrysostom’s native tongue was Greek!
on page 568 of your book, you write: "As for the popes, the only one of
mention that anticipates a future conversion of the Jews is Gregory the
Great." (p. 568) In fact, even your CASB3 openly (and correctly)
acknowledges that Gregory the Great expected a future conversion of the Jewish
people, but you argued with him about it just as you did with St. Chrysostom! (see
p. 457 under Romans 11:25-27) Of course, you’re even wrong in saying that
Gregory the Great is the "only [pope] of mention" who “anticipates a
future conversion of the Jews.” Blessed Pope Pius IX also expected the
conversion the Jews (see http://www.sungenisandthejews.com/Addenda_and_Bio.html)
it’s clear that Pope Benedict XVI also expects the Jews, as a people, to be
grafted back into their own Olive Tree alongside us Gentiles in the end (see p.
150 of God and the World). We and Ben Douglass have already dealt with
your citations of Innocent III and Martin V a long time ago. We’ve demonstrated
that their views could, as Ben said, “more naturally be taken as endorsing the
mainstream, patristic view in favor of the mass conversion”. You admitted
yourself that “at best it is ambiguous.” (“Catholics Falling for Jewish
Errors”, p. 39) So, I don’t know why you’re back to citing Martin V and
Innocent III as though they deny a future conversion of the Jewish people.
So, again, your treatment of the
expectation of the “conversion of the Jews”—particularly in regard to CCC 674
and the Fathers—continues to be one of the clearest proofs of your “theology of
prejudice” against Jews, Bob. You adopt whatever anti-Catholic, fundamentalist
Protestant tactics you can in order to deny it. And that’s telling.