Original Manifesto of the Association of Hebrew Catholics
Ed. This manifesto was written by Elias Friedman, OCD prior to the launch of the Association in 1979. Prior to his passing over in 1999, Fr. Friedman was working on a revision of this statement. - which will be evenutally posted.
The Association of Hebrew Catholics aims at combating the alienation of Jewish converts and their descendants from their historical heritage by the formation of a Hebrew Catholic Community, juridically approved by the Holy See.
At present, the admission of the Jewish convert to the Church is governed by a regime of assimilation, which systematically ignores the specific elements of his identity, recognised nevertheless by Vatican Council II (Lumen Gentium para. 16). The ultimate effect of the regime is to alienate the convert from his people of origin and prepare the way for the total absorption of his descendants into the Gentile community. Between themselves, converts may have a past in common, but they have no present and no future in common. Whatever be the sentiments, virtues or attainments of the individual convert, he has no way of transmitting his historical identity, as an Israelite, to his descendants. These, in consequence, cease eventually to be Israelites, as daily experience shows to be the case.
The effects of the regime of assimilation on the convert's fellow Israelites are no less destructive. Quite apart from the justifiable criticism that the convert has betrayed his people, they perceive the regime of assimilation as an expression of Gentile contempt for Jewish identity and a real menace to their historical survival - for if all Jews were to be converted, only to be assimilated, the Jewish People would cease to exist: hence, their total opposition to the Christian Mission. The regime of assimilation has thus become the major obstacle to the admission of Jews to the Faith.
A community framework would correct the grave deficiencies attendant on the admission of Jews to the Faith, as it occurs today. Within a community framework the convert would be free to develop his new identity in harmonious continuity with his past, to assure the Hebrew education of his children and, God willing, to establish a mutually beneficial relation with the Jewish People.
With these hopes in mind, the Association aims eventually at petitioning the Holy See to approve the erection of a Hebrew Catholic Community, into which Jewish converts would be integrated at baptism and to which their descendants would belong.
More in the book: Jewish Identity, Elias Friedman, O.C.D.
The Miriam Press, ©1987, 2nd printing 2016
Preface by Rev. Msgr. Eugene Kevane
Introduction by Ronda Chervin, Ph.D.
Jewish Identity is a prophetic reading of the signs of the times, the fruit of a lifetime of prayer and study by Father Elias Friedman, O.C.D. The author, a Jewish convert, analyzes with scholarship and spiritual insight the great drama entailing the apostasy of the Gentiles and the return of the Jews to Palestine. Political and Spiritual Zionism, the role of Israel in salvation history, and the self-understanding of the Jews are all treated in this book. The new international organization founded by Father Elias, the Association of Hebrew Catholics, is an early manifestation of the spiritual insights contained in this work. In a paral-lel development, the Church, beginning with Vatican Council II, has been updating its teaching regarding Jews and Judaism. The relevant material, included in the book’s appendix, bears witness to the thought of Father Elias.
More about Jewish Identity, including some reviews.