The disaster that is Novus Ordo theology…
The Trinity, the Muslims, and the Jews:
A Brief Reply to Steve Kellmeyer
What passes for “orthodox Catholic commentary” these days is unbelievable. Take Steve Kellmeyer, for example, author of the blog The Fifth Column. Theologically, Kellmeyer is a product of the Franciscan University of Steubenville / Catholic Answers type of “orthodox Catholicism”, and it shows.
In a blog post entitled “Cardinal Burke’s Breakup” (Nov. 24, 2016), Kellmeyer rebukes “Cardinal” Raymond Burke for daring to maintain that Catholics and Muslims do not worship the same God. While there are many things to criticize Mr. Burke on, this statement is not one of them.
With his latest statement, wherein he insists that Christians and Jews don’t worship the same God, it’s pretty clear that Cardinal Burke is no longer fully in his right mind. When a cardinal starts contradicting Aquinas, the councils of the Church and the Pope, he is in trouble.
(Steve Kellmeyer, “Cardinal Burke’s Breakup”, The Fifth Column, Nov. 24, 2016; links in original)
We’ll interrupt right here for a moment. Kellmeyer declares that Mr. Burke is “no longer fully in his right mind” — why? Because he holds that Catholics, who worship the Most Holy Trinity, do not worship the same God as Muslims, who explicitly reject the Most Holy Trinity. Kellmeyer claims that St. Thomas Aquinas “contradicts” Burke and provides a link to the Universal Doctor’s treatise against the Muslims, De Rationibus Fidei (“Reasons for the Faith against Muslim Objections”), but Aquinas says no such thing, and our Fifth Columnist doesn’t elaborate.
As for those “councils of the Church and the Pope”, of course Kellmeyer is only referring to Vatican II and the false papal claimants after Pope Pius XII.
But it gets better. Kellmeyer continues:
If you want to say Islam denies Christ and therefore doesn’t worship the same God, then we ALSO must conclude that Jews don’t worship the same God. Muslims at least consider Him a prophet, Jews consider Him a deluded heretic, so there’s even less justification for saying Jews worship the same God.
Yes, imagine that! The Jews also do not worship the true God! The fact that Kellmeyer considers this an absurdity tells you all you need to know about “conservative” Novus Ordo religious education.
Yet, it gets better still:
But, since Jesus said “salvation is from the Jews”, that conclusion creates theological problems that cannot be resolved.
Now this really takes the cake! As though our Lord had been referring to the apostate Jews who rejected Him! In John 4:22, the Son of God said to the Samaritan woman at the well: “You adore that which you know not: we adore that which we know: for salvation is of the Jews.” Our Blessed Lord spoke these words while the Old Dispensation, the Old Covenant, was still in force, and hence it was true to say that salvation is from the Jews, meaning, the true God has revealed Himself to the Jews alone, and they carry His promises, which were fulfilled in Jesus Christ (cf. Deut 7:6; Ex 19:5-6; Heb 1:1-5; Lk 1:31-33,68-79).
The New Covenant, being the fulfillment of the Old, no longer knows of this distinction between Jew and Gentile: “There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). Salvation is no longer confined to the one or the other:
Circumcision profiteth indeed, if thou keep the law; but if thou be a transgressor of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. If, then, the uncircumcised keep the justices of the law, shall not this uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not that which by nature is uncircumcision, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision art a transgressor of the law? For it is not he is a Jew, who is so outwardly; nor is that circumcision which is outwardly in the flesh: But he is a Jew, that is one inwardly; and the circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Apparently this is news to Steve Kellmeyer. Scary thought!
Our Lord’s Words that “salvation is from the Jews”, then, have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the Talmudic Jews of our day, who reject Him: “For if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sin” (Jn 8:24); “Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12); “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father. He that confesseth the Son, hath the Father also” (1 Jn 2:23).
Let’s get back to Kellmeyer. He tries to make his case for the idea that Muslims and Catholics worship the same God by listing the following “similarities” between the two religions:
God is All-Just, All-Merciful
Jesus and Mary are sinless.
Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary.
Jesus is judge on the Last Day.
These are all Muslim beliefs.
So these are all Muslims beliefs, huh? That’s very nice, but there is another Muslim belief, one that Kellmeyer didn’t mention: Muslims explicitly insist that the god they worship is not the Most Holy Trinity. Minor detail.
Here is what the Muslim Koran says regarding that (there are many passages, but we’ll cite just one):
O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One Allah. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender.
(Sura 4:171; Pickthall translation)
So, when Kellmeyer and other Novus Ordo apologists say that Muslims believe in “one god”, they are only telling you half of the story. The other half is that the “one god” they adore is not the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and they themselves will tell you so. Perhaps we should simply believe them when they tell us what they worship.
Since being a Trinity — that is, being One God in Three Divine Persons — pertains to God’s very Essence, when a Muslim worships “one god” that is not the Trinity, he worships an essentially different (and therefore false) god. Thus, the Muslim, despite whatever he may intend, does not in fact worship the true God. It’s really not that difficult.
When I taught RCIA, I used to point out that people who only understood addition and subtraction are not denying math, they are merely ignorant of the higher forms of math. When it came to theology, the pagans know the four basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), but not much else. The Muslims understand algebra, but have no grasp beyond that. The Jews, the Chosen People [sic], understand geometry. Non-Catholic Christians can get through most of trigonometry without too much trouble. And non-Catholic liturgical Christians, such as the Eastern Orthodox or the Coptics, even manage single-variable calculus. But if you want to understand the whole width and breadth and height of the subject, only the Catholic Faith will do.
This is perhaps very cute but dangerously incorrect.
First, it is outrageous but very telling that Kellmeyer should refer to today’s apostate Jews as “the Chosen People” — he obviously has not understood that with the institution of the New Covenant, it is the Catholics who are now the Chosen People, so to speak, the carnal distinction between Jew and Gentile having been transcended and replaced by the spiritual distinction between believer and unbeliever (cf. Rom 11): “We ought to remember that Catholics are, far more than the Jews were, the chosen people of God…” (Fr. Richard F. Clarke, “The Ministry of Jesus: Short Meditations on the Public Life of Our Lord”, in Beautiful Pearls of Catholic Truth, p. 542).
The error that today’s Talmudic Jews are God’s “Chosen People” is a very common and popular one in the Vatican II Sect and happily propagated in “conservative” Novus Ordo circles (e.g., EWTN, Ignatius Press, Catholic Answers, Franciscan University of Steubenville, etc.). It is a heresy also most dear to “Pope” Francis’ heart. In 1928, Pope Pius XI refuted it once more when he suppressed the pro-Zionist organization Amici Israel:
…the Catholic Church has always been accustomed to pray for the Jewish people, who were the depository of divine promises up until the arrival of Jesus Christ, notwithstanding their subsequent blindness, or rather, because of this very blindness. Moved by that charity, the Apostolic See has protected the same people from unjust ill-treatment, and just as it censures all hatred and enmity among people, so it altogether condemns in the highest degree possible hatred against the people once chosen by God, viz., the hatred that now is what is usually meant in common parlance by the term known generally as “anti-Semitism.”
And, of course, in the Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we pray: “Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of the race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life” (underlining added).
The Zionist idea that today’s Jews are God’s Chosen People is a firm component of Novus Ordoism. As we have shown, it is most certainly not a Catholic idea.
Getting back to Kellmeyer’s analogy about mathematics: In typical Vatican II fashion, our Fifth Columnist makes it seem as though each of the non-Catholic groups mentioned above have a part of the truth and are simply lacking its “fullness”. But that’s false because in addition to whatever “parts” of truth they may have, they also have other elements that are erroneous and heretical. In other words, when we look at their body of religious doctrine, we find not simply an “abridged” or “shorter” version of Catholicism — as though some true doctrines were simply lacking — but also a slew of doctrines that are positively false, and these are mixed together with those doctrines they may have that happen to be true.
To stay with Kellmeyer’s analogy, we may say that while the Muslims and Jews understand algebra, they deny and teach error concerning trigonometry, calculus, and so forth. Thus, his analogy is false because it omits a central fact found in the available data.
Let’s use a different analogy to make things even more clear: If we want to say that Catholics have a glass full of water, then Kellmeyer is saying that the other religions also have a glass of water, but it is not entirely full, it is only filled partially. But this is false. Rather, the other religions have a glass that is filled partially with water and partially with liquid rat poison. While it would be correct to say that the glass does contain elements of H2O, this is dangerously misleading and beside the point, because the substance is had only as a whole — one would be drinking diluted rat poison.
That is why, as we once explained in a lengthy article, it is misleading to say that the Catholic Church has — to use a favorite Vatican II phrase — the “fullness of truth”. It is misleading because it implies that the other religions have the truth in part, but ever since the fullness of Revelation was given in Jesus Christ (see Heb 1:1-2) and ended with the death of the last Apostle, this cannot be said even of Judaism anymore:
Before the Revelation of Jesus Christ, i.e. during the Old Dispensation, it was possible to speak of the true religion (Judaism at the time) as possessing only partial truth since the full Truth had not yet been revealed. And thus we could say that the Jews, although they did not consciously worship a Trinity, nevertheless worshipped the True God because the Trinity had not yet been revealed and was thus neither affirmed nor denied by them — unlike the Muslims and Jews of today, who expressly deny worshipping the Holy Trinity.
Now, none of these groups are totally wrong. It’s just that only one group has a really thorough, comprehensive understanding.
Again, that’s false. It’s not that the Muslims and the Jews have an insufficient understanding, they have a positively flawed understanding. They do not simply have less water in their glass, they have rat poison mixed in with it and filled to the brim! That changes things a bit, doesn’t it?
Kellmeyer ends his post thusly:
Our job is not to deride them for what they do not know, but rather to teach them. Cardinal Burke has, for whatever reason, lost sight of how it all works.
This has nothing to do with deriding people — Burke simply pointed out a fact that should encourage us all to engage in mission and evangelization (so much detested by Francis!). If anyone is deriding anyone here, it’s Kellmeyer in his gratuitous rebuke of Burke as basically “not all there” for saying Muslims and Catholics don’t worship the same God. That is derision — unjustified derision. Kellmeyer is the one who has lost sight of how it all works; or rather, we suspect, he has never had sight of it to begin with.
His blog’s name, The Fifth Column, is most appropriate.