“Why the law?” (Galatians 3:19) —Pope Francis, in his public catechesis of August 11, two weeks ago, citing St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. There St. Paul deals with this question, as Francis formulates it: “If the Holy Spirit exists, if Jesus exists who redeemed us, why the law?” With this catechesis, Francis touched off a debate with leading Jewish rabbis in Israel, who wrote to Pope Francis to express their concern

    “In making the Covenant with Israel, God offered them the Torah, the Law, so they could understand his will and live in justice. We have to think that at that time, a Law like this was necessary, it was a tremendous gift that God gave his people. Why? Because at that time paganism was everywhere, idolatry was everywhere and human behaviour was a result of idolatry. Because of this, the great gift God gave his people is the law, so they could persevere.” —Pope Francis, in the same public teaching of August 11

    “The Apostle explains to the Galatians that, in reality, the Covenant and the Law are not linked indissolubly – the Covenant with God and the Mosaic Law. The first element he relies on is that the Covenant established by God with Abraham was based on faith in the fulfillment of the promise and not on the observance of the Law that did not yet exist. Abraham began his journey centuries before the Law.” —Pope Francis, in the same August 11 teaching

Praise the Lord

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