The Feast of All Saints

Today is the feast day for all saints, but originally especially for martyrs. I wonder what the Church's position is on the Jewish victims of the weekend's shooting? They are not Christians, obviously, and thus not Christian martyrs; they certainly are martyrs for their own faith. Jews have a special status that I don't quite understand. But if this statement the Vatican put out in 2015 is accurate, I'm not supposed to understand it:
How God will save the Jews if they do not explicitly believe in Christ is "an unfathomable divine mystery," but one which must be affirmed since Catholics believe that God is faithful to his promises and therefore never revoked his covenant with the Jewish people, it says.
The ability to appeal to 'unfathomable mystery' is one of the explanatory advantages of religion, although one finds it in philosophy too: Kant's noumena are essentially the real facts about the world, which are by the nature of human experience unfathomable and destined to remain mysteries. Kant's got a pretty good argument for this, so the fact that one must sometimes admit unfathomable mysteries into one's ontology shouldn't be upsetting even to quite rational thinkers.

In any case it's on my mind, although I haven't written about it here before now. Perhaps this is even the right day for it.

5 comments:

Texan99 said...

I don't pretend to understand what's supposed to happen to people in religious error who are doing the best they can by their own lights, or at least as well as I or anyone I know would be likely to do in their place.

I do know that that hateful irrational scapegoating is a fundamental evil. Anti-semitism is one of the most shameful failings of our culture and has been for thousands of years.

Elise said...

I first encountered the idea that God would not break his covenant with the Jews in Evangelical writings: God is not an oath-breaker. I did not realize the Catholic Church had, at least somewhat, taken the same stance. There is a section from the chapter "The Practical Conclusion" in Mere Christianity that touches on this:

Here is another thing that used to puzzle me. Is it not frightfully unfair that this new life should be confined to people who have heard of Christ and been able to believe in Him? But the truth is God has not told us what His arrangements about the other people are. We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him.

The various meanings of the words "been able to" and "know" allow for various ideas of how Lewis would apply these thoughts to the Jews or any other non-Christian people who are aware of Christ but do not believe as Christianity believes.

(Interestingly - at least to me - my name is a variant of "Elisabeth" which, according to some sources, means "God is swearer.")

Larry Harman said...

Lewis addressed this in the last of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle.

Aslan speaks to the Calormene warrior. “Son, thou art welcome.” But I said, “Alas, Lord, I am no servant of Thine, but the servant of Tash.” He answered, “Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as done to me.”

MikeD said...

I always just assumed that what the Lord's arrangements were was never any of my personal business. Sure I may be curious, but He is under no obligation to consult with me about them. If He wants to let in the faithful of other religions, that's His business, not mine.

Elise said...

Thanks. I keep meaning to read the Narnia books - one more reason to do so.