I was shocked so suddenly to read of the death of one of our most distinguished Chief Rabbis.
Lord Sacks was quintessentially English. He was a man of high culture who had a gentle facility for elegant expression which is all too rare.
Far beyond the trite phrase "a public intellectual", he was learned.
He once protested, after a British court had purported to set aside a requirement of Jewish law which it held to be subordinate to the law of these islands: "An English court has declared this rule racist, and since this is an essential element of Jewish law, it is in effect declaring Judaism racist."
Jews have sometimes been hotly criticised for putting Religion before Nationality. What a very perverse criticism. Putting God and Faith first is, on the contrary, an imperative which we share with them; for us, as much as for them, our allegiance to our Faith takes precedence ... every day of the week ... in the good times and no less during the pestilences ... over terrestrial allegiances.
In the Divine Office of the Latin Church, we have recently read the story of the Maccabees: accounted blessed martyrs among Christians every bit as much as among Jews, whose precious relics are venerated at the heart of Catholic Rome. Many English priests will, this very morning, have read, during their Requiem for those killed in War, the succinct and pointed Reading from II Maccabees.
As these martyrs taught us by their costly witness to the Torah, who in their time had not yet become Incarnate, Faith, and the observances which articulate and make it actual, come before the enactments of secular regimes.
A very, very, long way before. Would that all Catholics understood this.
O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God; how unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways.