Radio Show

Why Are We Catholic and Not Jewish?

When a radio listener calls in from Louisville, Father Dave lets him know that he will be speaking at the Catholic Men’s Conference in Louisville March 18. (If you are interested in registering, you can do so here.) Next, the caller asks a question about the relationship between Catholicism and Judaism: “If we are supposed to be in the likeness of God, and He (Jesus) was Jewish, then why are we Catholic and not Jewish?”

It’s an excellent question, Father Dave says, “And it’s a question that was one of the first major issues that was dealt with in the early Church, years — maybe even months — after Jesus rose from the dead. … Those who came to believe in Christ — [some of them] had grown up Jewish, and then there were people who also came to believe who were not. So the first big controversy that they tackled in the Church was, ‘If somebody has to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, well, don’t they first have to be [Jewish and be taught] about the Messiah?’

“So, there were those in the early Christian community — I’m talking about literally the original apostles — who believed that everybody, in order to be a believer in Jesus, would first need to become Jewish. And then there were others, notably — I will say as a Paulist Father — notably Saint Paul, who did not believe that and believed that Jesus and what he offers for all of humanity is, indeed, for Jews and non-Jews alike.”

Father Dave also reminds us that in the Easter season, we hear readings from the Acts of the Apostles, some of which delve into this discussion of how to build the Christian faith. Plus, more details about this formative time for the Church can be found in the writings of Saint Paul. (Original Air 02-08-17)