Rabbi Mark Shook of the Congregation Temple Israel in Creve Coeur wrote a piece recently for the religion blog at STLToday. The subject matter was Archbishop Burke and his relationship with the local Jewish community. He said some positive things, but also faulted the Archbishop for removing the former head of the Archdiocese’s ecumenical office and wrote that his take on natural law left little room for “shades of gray”.
However, his take on Archbishop Burke’s invitation to Rosalind Moss to locate her new order (Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope) in St. Louis really struck me. It appears that Rabbi Shook does not really understand this order, its mission, or the reasons why the Archbishop invited Miss Moss to St. Louis. The relevant excerpt:
The Jewish community and Archbishop Burke
By Mark L. Shook
SPECIAL TO THE POST-DISPATCH
In recent weeks, Archbishop Burke’s personal support for the newly created religious community to be headquartered here in St. Louis, known as the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope, gave me reason to wonder at the Archbishop’s current intentions with regard to the Jewish community. The new religious community was founded by Rosalind Moss, a host on the Eternal Word Television Network. Moss was born and raised in a Jewish home and for a time was an Evangelical Protestant, before her conversion to Catholicism. Her husband brother, David Moss is also a convert to Catholicism from a Jewish home. The new community appears to be a proselytizing effort directed especially towards Jews. I view this, at best, as a misguided effort at saving the Jews from damnation and at worst, as yet another attempt to water down or disregard altogether the last forty years of dialogue and cooperation between The Catholic Church and the Jews, under the Vatican II document known as Nostra Aetate. Simply put, Jews understand the Church’s need to gain converts, but find programs which target Jews as Jews, to be offensive and contrary to recent Church statements. Now, this will be an item on the agenda for the next Archbishop. (emphasis mine)
I’m sorry, but to state that this order “appears to be a proselytizing effort directed especially at Jews” is a strange statement to make. Does the Rabbi have any reason to suppose so, other than the fact that Moss is a convert from Judaism? Is it the name?
Readers may remember the interview Moss gave in this space a few months back. In it she explains the charism of her order:
Under the name, Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope, I have, and will have on the website that I will have up as soon as I can, “Hope for the nations. Hope for the family. Hope for you.” My desire is to flood the world with habits. I’ll just tell you this—the story in a nutshell. When I was twenty, Jewish and single in New York, and didn’t have a clue Who Christ was, or who Christians were, the news came out that nuns had permission to shorten their habits to knee length. And, physically, it went straight through me. And I thought to myself, whoever these women are, in long black and white things—I don’t think I even knew the word “habit” then—they’re in the world to affect the world for God, and alas, the world has affected them. Now in today’s world that would be a very politically incorrect, insensitive statement. But that was the response of a 20-year old Jewish girl who didn’t have a clue; and the thing is, it was my loss. It was my deep and immediate loss. I lost something that was never mine to begin with. It affected me, and I never forgot it.
What we’re going to do is—I’ve already written the Rule, or Spiritual Directory for the Order—and we’re going to spend a good amount of time in the streets. Normally, when you see nuns, if you see them, that is, it’s because they’re on their way to Church, school, a meeting, or to wherever they’re going. But when you see us, it’s because we’ve reached our destination. I want that time in the streets. I want to be out in the streets in our habits when people go to work and when children go to school, because I want them to think of God. It doesn’t matter to me what faith they are, or if they have no faith. Even if they are angry with God, to see a nun in a habit they have to think of God. Whatever they think of God, they have to think of God. This is what I long for with all my heart.
I typed in a google search: “Rosalind Moss” and this interview came up on the first page, third entry from the top. I typed in “Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope” and the first page had many links about this order, one of which was a list of Catholic blog articles about it. On that site, this interview was on page one.
Would it have been difficult to find Moss’ own statements about the purpose of her order?
Another thing that bears mentioning is that a Catholic Archbishop ought to believe the Catholic faith. Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. He commanded his followers to go and make disciples of all nations. That is the Gospel message. Christ founded His Church on Peter, and guaranteed the gates of hell would not prevail.
Though the opinion of Rabbi Shook is mistaken as to the aim of Moss’ order, it is also further mistaken that evangelization of Jews is somehow off limits. It points out that the Gospel message of evangelization of all peoples has been obscured in the catechetical crisis of the last forty years. A Catholic Bishop would be right to remind his flock of it, as Popes recent and ancient have also done.
In the papal bull, Unam Sanctam, Pope Boniface VIII wrote that “we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”
Merely because this document is more than fifty years old does not mean that the truth defined in it expires. It may be understandable that the Rabbi may not know of it–how many Catholics are aware of this document?
The need for good Bishops is clear. Let us pray for strength in all our shepherds to fearlessly proclaim the faith of Christ’s Church.