At least, that's what I thought last week while I was away in Sussex grandchildminding for the Intermediate Generation. This unusual reaction was stimulated by the readings chosen in the Liturgia Horarum from the Catechetics of S Cyril of Jerusalem. You see, we are sometimes told that the Two Covenant Dogma is post-Conciliar Catholic teaching - the idea that God's First Covenant, with the Jews, is still fully and salvifically valid, so that the call to saving faith in Christ Jesus is not made to them. The 'New' Covenant, it is claimed, is only for Gentiles. S Cyril, however, is having none of any of that. Both Wednesday's and Thursday's readings found him unambiguously referring to the rejection and repudiation of the previous covenant; and asserting the replacement of the old Gathering* of God's people by the new Gathering*. And - goodness gracious - now we've just started reading "Barnabas" in the Office of Readings - a writer not known for being what S Paul would have called a Ioudaizon; today's excerpt begins (for those of us who do not always say the whole office in Latin) "tauta oun katergesen". These lections have the greater significance in that they are not accidental hangovers from the old Breviary; they were newly introduced by Bugnini's crew. What all this clearly demonstrates is: not only did the conciliar decree fail clearly to mandate such a dogmatic revolution as the Two Covenant Dogma would have implied, but, as late as 1971, even those in charge of liturgical revision, who saw themselves as the guardians and exponents of the 'Spirit of the Council', had not the faintest idea that they were supposed thus to gloss its intent. Nor, thankfully and significantly, have successive revisions of the post-conciliar Office eliminated these passages.
Yet there was the most almighty hooha last year about the EF and its Good Friday prayer for the Jews, even including criticism of the Pope when he supplied a new collect strictly, even slavishly, in line with the words of Romans. And it is not unusual for Christians (both Evangelical and Catholic) who withold consent from the Two Covenant Dogma to be criticised. This is done not only by rabbinic interests naturally and forgiveably anxious to deter any erosion of their flocks but, perhaps more vehemently, by 'Christian' participants in inter-faith dialogue. I wonder how balanced such groups are; in other words, what percentage of 'Christian' members of "Councils of Christians and Jews" are ardent adherents of this novel dogma, what percentage not.
In the real world, the SSPX is going to have to live with continuing fall-out from Bishop Williamson's ill-judged and nutty observations. We all have to suffer the consequences of our misjudgements. But I still feel that it is highly unfortunate that the Anglican Bishop of Manchester, who is not usually seen as one of Nature's bigots, should apparently have let himself be bullied by a coalition reportedly including "the Roman Catholic Church"and "the Council of Christians and Jews" into - effectively, through his diocesan submission to the Church Commissioners - blocking the sale of a redundant church to the SSPX. This news comes at the same time as the report that the German Justice Minister went on record as condemning the SSPX as "religious integrists" who are no more wanted in Germany than neo-Nazis; and the news that Labour and Conservative spokesmen have attacked a SNP Parliamentary candidate for belonging to a "hard-line" organisation called Opus Dei. The Fascist-Liberal Thought Police really are riding high.
I wonder what other potential purchasers besides the SSPX would have elicited Bishop Nigel's ill-judged and nutty veto. Presumably he also has the Prayer Book Society** firmly under a rigorous diocesan ban; presumably his advisers, the "MPs, peers, Manchester City Council" who are all such fierce and expert critics of the SSPX, have their eagle eyes upon the PBS too.
**"Have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Hereticks, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy word; and so bring them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ ..." Part of the Prayer Book Good Friday Oratio Sollemnis for the Jews .... and for others ...