IV. JUDAISM AND CHURCH LEGISLATION
The principal items of Church legislation relative to Judaism have been set forth in connection with the history of the Jews. There remains only to add a few remarks which will explain the apparent severity of certain measures enacted by either popes or councils concerning the Jews, or account for the fact that popular hatred of them so often defeated the beneficent efforts of the Roman pontiffs in their regard.
Church legislation against Jewish holding of Christian slaves can be easily understood: as members of Christ, the children of the Church should evidently not be subjected to the power of His enemies, and thereby incur a special danger for their faith; but more particularly, as stated by a recent Jewish writer:
"There was good reason for the solicitude of the Church and for its desire to prevent Jews from retaining Christian slaves in their houses. The Talmud and all later Jewish codes forbade a Jew from retaining in his home a slave who was uncircumcised" (Abraham's, "Jewish Life in the Middle Ages").
The obligation of wearing a distinguishing badge was of course obnoxious to the Jews. At the same time, Church authorities deemed its injunction necessary to prevent effectively moral offences between Jews and Christian women. The decrees forbidding the Jews from appearing in public at Eastertide may be justified on the ground that some of them mocked at the Christian processions at that time; those against baptized Jews retaining distinctly Jewish customs find their ready explanation in the necessity for the Church to maintain the purity of the Faith in its members, while those forbidding the Jews from molesting converts to Christianity are no less naturally explained by the desire of doing away with a manifest obstacle to future conversions.
It was for the laudable reason of protecting social morality and securing the maintenance of the Christian Faith, that canonical decrees were framed and repeatedly enforced against free and constant intercourse between Christians and Jews, against, for instance, bathing, living, etc., with Jews. To some extent, likewise, these were the reasons for the institution of the Ghetto or confinement of the Jews to a special quarter, for the prohibition of the Jews from exercising medicine, or other professions. The inhibition of intermarriage between Jews and Christians, which is yet in vigour, is clearly justified by reason of the obvious danger for the faith of the Christians party and for the spiritual welfare of the children born of such alliances. With regard to the special legislation against printing, circulating, etc., the Talmud, there was the particular grievance that the Talmud contained at the time scurrilous attacks upon Jesus and the Christians (cf. Pick, "The Personality of Jesus in the Talmud" in the "Monist", Jan., 1910), and the permanent reason that
"that extraordinary compilation, with much that is grave and noble, contains also so many puerilities, immoral precepts, and anti-social maxims, that Christian courts may well have deemed it right to resort to stringent measures to prevent Christians from being seduced into adhesion to a system so preposterous" (Catholic Dictionary, 484).
History proves indeed that Church authorities exercised at times considerable pressure upon the Jews to promote their conversion; but it also proves that the same authorities generally denounced the use of violence for the purpose.
It bears witness, in particular, to the untiring and energetic efforts of the Roman pontiffs in behalf of the Jews especially when, threatened or actually pressed by persecution they appealed to the Holy See for protection.
It chronicles the numerous protestations of the popes against mob violence against the Jewish race, and thus directs the attention of the student of history to the real cause of the Jewish persecutions, viz., the popular hatred against the children of Israel.
Nay more, it discloses the principal causes of that hatred, among which the following may be mentioned:
The deep and wide racial difference between Jews and Christians which was, moreover, emphasized by the ritual and dietary laws of Talmudic Judaism;
the mutual religious antipathy which prompted the Jewish masses to look upon the Christians as idolaters, and the Christians to regard the Jews as the murderers of the Divine Saviour of mankind, and to believe readily the accusation of the use of Christians blood in the celebration of the Jewish Passover, the desecration of the Holy Eucharist, etc.;
the trade rivalry which caused Christians to accuse the Jews of sharp practice, and to resent their clipping of the coinage, their usury, etc.;
the patriotic susceptibilities of the particular nations in the midst of which the Jews have usually formed a foreign element, and to the respective interests of which their devotion has not always been beyond suspicion.
In view of these and other more or less local, more or less justified, reasons, one can readily understand how the popular hatred of the Jews has too often defeated the beneficent efforts of the Church, and notably of its supreme pontiffs, in regard to them.
When I was searching for the truth regarding Jesus, believe it or not, it was the catholic encyclopedia that finally convinced me that his whole story was just a fraud and he was as real as Zeus and all of those others pagan myths.
It was their article about Mithra. It was comedic because they wrote the article to discredit the argument that mithra and Jesus have too many similarities all the while telling the reader what the similarities are, i.e. they both had shepherds at their birth.
The argument given by the Catholics is that Mithra could not have had shepherds at his birth if he was the first on created. I guess they must have missed the first created thing ? just one more similarity.
The Catholic Encyclopedia tells it all.
Catholic Encyclopedia [ http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08399a.htm ]