At his general audience on Aug. 11, Pope Francis delivered a talk titled "Catechesis on the Letter to the Galatians: 4. The Mosaic Law." Among other things, the pope said, "The Law does not give life. It does not offer the fulfillment of the promise because it is not capable of being able to fulfill it."
The statement caused an uproar among some Jewish communal organizations, expressing much concern with what the pope said.
"Frankly, I am not so much concerned with this," writes Rabbi Yehiel E. Poupko, Rabbinic Scholar at the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation. "Surely we are at times concerned. We must be. However, our concerns, our fears and our pain must of ethical necessity be expressed in the overall context of the friendship of this pope and of the church."
"Let it be clearly stated, the Jewish people enjoy no better friend in Christendom today than the Roman Catholic Church," Poupko continues.
Israel's Chief Rabbinate wrote a letter to Francis conveying its "distress" at comments he made suggesting Jewish law, as written in the Torah, is obsolete.
Francis has not devalued the Torah and does not question the fact that the Torah is crucial for modern Judaism, Cardinal Kurt Koch told two prominent Jewish leaders.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. At issue is a Mississippi law that lowers the current point at which a state can ban abortions from 24 or 25 weeks, the viability standard set by the court in its 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, to 15 weeks. It is possible the court will go further and strike down the baseline holding of its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, establishing a constitutional right to an abortion.
"The hardest part about writing on the abortion issue is the knowledge that nothing you write is likely to change anyone's mind," writes NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters. "The issue is profoundly emotional, and emotions tend to becloud, not facilitate, rational, moral analysis."
No matter how the current conservative-dominated Supreme Court decides pending high-profile abortion cases — perhaps weakening Roe v. Wade, perhaps gutting it completely — there will be no monolithic, nationwide change. Fractious state-by-state battles over abortion access will continue.
Instead of blaming God when bad things happen in their lives, many Americans say individuals and societal institutions are responsible for suffering, according to a new survey.
GSR's newest sister panelists meditate on Advent — a balm for an overwrought soul — in light of the realities they encounter in their congregations, neighborhoods, regions, countries and the world. And EarthBeat asks how are you being called to simplify and live abundantly in preparation of the joyful hope of Christmas?