Anyone who has studied the New Testament knows that possibly the greatest offense that the Jewish leaders had against Christ was that he did not respect their traditions. Jews at that time put the traditions of the synagogue and their leaders as equal to, if not more important than, the scriptures themselves. In the same way the Catholic church has placed its traditions on "equally authoritative" with scriptures as declared by its council of Trent.

One conflict of holy tradition of the Rabbinic synagogue Fathers and Jesus was recorded here:  

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? (NIV Matthew 15:1-3)

Interestingly there are many Catholic traditions which most reasonable persons would understand as opposed to the love of Christ and even common sense. For example many councils, starting with the council of Elvira (305AD) forbid Christians sharing meals with Jews! I guess the Jews had become the new tax collectors!  Not only did this council create this tradition but many councils afterwards maintained the tradition . 

For example, the prohibition against sharing a meal with Jews was repeated at Vannes (465), Epaon (517), Orleans III (538), and Mâcon (583)  (Jewish Virtual Library)

Here is the factual non-disputed canon in question:

canon 50 forbade the sharing of meals by Christians and Jews. (Wiki Article)

What is a tradition if not that which is repeatedly maintained by church councils? 

The question therefore is if Catholic tradition is said to be equal with scripture, just like Rabbinic Tradition was, and if Jesus rejected Rabbinic Tradition because 'it broke the command of God' just like forbidding Christians to eat a meal with a Jew does, what is the difference between Roman Catholic Tradition and Rabbinic Tradition, in terms of its spirit?

I ask the question because I have encountered many accusations from both Protestants and Catholics where clearly they are both guilty of great sins. For example burning bible translations they do not like, burning heretics, etc. The difference however is that Protestants can repent of these sins and say, 'yes those people sinned terribly,' but Catholics seems trapped because it is part of their tradition approved by its councils that could not be wrong but were infallible and equal to scripture. All of this seems to be indefensible and only plain rebuke of its hypocrisy would be Christlike. Therefore this one example of banning a simple meal with a Jew, how is this tradition of church councils equal with scripture?

Maybe I am confused and maybe there is a way to say tradition is equal with scripture and still somehow repent of one's own tradition? Someone please explain this seeming unexplainable thing.

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    I think you need a better source for the crux of your argument (i.e. the Council of Elvira). I looked it up sounds a little heavy handed but didn't concern the Jews. Plus, it was a local synod. I'm not sure if their decisions would be any more universally applicable than the annual meeting of the USCCB is on the Catholic Diocese of Lagos, Nigeria. – Peter Turner Sep 2 '12 at 4:47
  • @PeterTurner - This is just an acceped fact of history I addeda wiki link but how about a little more rearch before assuming i need a better source. It took me all of twenty seconds to find one. If you want to argue against this evil canon and its traditional practice you need to find out when the practice ended and potan argument not a just a lazy comment can evade a the power of a legitamate question. This is more of denial than proper argumentation. – Mike Sep 2 '12 at 5:17
  • @PeterTurner - as regard the part of you comment that might be true in some sense. If you argue that this canon does not count because someone important was not there, would it not be the responsibility of the more important people to publicly denounce this official catholic ruling? A lack of denunciation would be acceptance as these officials are supposedly under the popes authority so they must fall in line? – Mike Sep 2 '12 at 5:30
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    There, I answered you in a non-lazy fashion. I hope you're happy, I should have gone to bed 2 hours ago if it wasn't for that prompting :). BTW, check out the book sourced for the info in that wiki line. I kind of think that that, coupled with the Jewish Library, discredits the information somewhat. But in charity and truth, it's not that much different in the Catholic Encyclopedia. One thing I wonder though, is if Clericus vel Fidelis is written for a reason. Why mention clergy and laity? Why not just say "everyone" and where is the prescription for ritual cleanness afterwords? – Peter Turner Sep 2 '12 at 6:31
  • @PeterTurner - ok though you might be a good sport. Lol about getting to sleep. Have done the same thing before, a couple of times. – Mike Sep 2 '12 at 7:43

Concerning the council of Elvira, which

was attended by nineteen bishops from all parts of the Peninsula


and could hardly be considered incumbent on the entirety of the Christendom in a place where

The Jews were so numerous and so powerful in Spain during the first centuries of the Christian era that they might at one time have hoped to be able to Judaize the whole country According to the monuments which however are of doubtful authority they established themselves in Spain in the time of King Solomon It is more likely that they crossed from Africa to the Spanish peninsula only about a hundred years before Christ. There they soon increased in number and importance and could energetically carry on their work of proselytizing. This is the reason that the Synod of Elvira had to forbid to the priests and the laity all intimate intercourse with Jews (can 50) and especially marriage (Can 16) for there is no doubt that at this period many Christians of high rank in Spain became Jews as Jost shows in his work. Which is something in German that I couldn't find

History of the Councils

the reasoning behind restricting communion for Christians who broke bread with Jews was to keep them apart so they wouldn't draw together and bring in to action Canon 16. Intermarriage, has been traditionally prohibited by the Catholic Church and always requires some sort of dispensation.

If, at the time, eating together could serve no purpose other than to weaken the faith of the Christian it has no bearing in relation to Rabbinic Tradition. To denounce it would be like a Pope denouncing the Inquisition for being a bad policy for the protection of Christendom in Spain against the Moors. When Pope John Paul II did apologize I think it it was for the particular acts of evil committed in the name of the Church, not the policy promulgated by the Bishops.

There's nothing in there about not eating with sinners and nothing in there that says Jews are sinners with whom one should not eat. It says, do not eat with Jews. I'm not gonna defend it, I'm not going to abide by it, but I'm not going to say that it may not have been a good idea at the time. Although Spain, according to secular history, has always been a succession of bad ideas, if not cruel and inhumane ones.

Beyond all this, the banning of a simple meal, never could have taken place. Church laws are mostly self-accusatory unless they bring scandal. So, a large meal, with Disobedient Christians and Jews, would bring scandal, but a small meal, wherein a Christian family shared a bit of cheese with a Jewish one or vice versa, would not bring scandal. Likewise a Christian probably would not be allowed to partake in big meals on Jewish feast days. But, for the most part, a Catholic still isn't allowed to fully partake in big meals on Jewish feast days. Because of scruples from both religions.

It's not a sin to believe what you believe to the absolute exclusion of all else, especially when what you believe is what you have come to know is the truth. Where there is truth in other sects, the Catholic can participate, but when a practice ardently excludes Jesus implicitly like in Judaism or explicitly like in Islam one must guard ones self against what can only be describe as Jesus-less worship. You just cannot be Christian and drop in to Jesus-free mode because it suits your tastebuds.

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    Although I do not share your conclusion, for the purpose of this site, I think this represents a good catholic apologetic to the defense of my question and deserves an up-vote on that account. – Mike Sep 2 '12 at 7:03

I fundamentally object to all of the sources cited. They all seem to fail to appreciate several important points in Tradition:

  • A Council is something which is binding over the entire Church and its rulings on theology can never be ignored unless the Council specifically says otherwise (such as in the case of certain documents of Vatican II).
  • A synod is a local gathering of bishops which is temporarily binding over a specific region or set of regions. Any theological conclusion may be set aside, even by one of the bishops who originally agreed to the conclusions. There have been quite a few synods which have promulgated doctrines which have been quite dubious.
  • Normative rulings of the Church are not subject to infallibility unless they deal with the matter of the sacraments (for example, the decree that you must use water for baptism cannot be rescinded).
  • The council of Elvira was really a small Synod that dealt solely with norms. As such, its rulings cannot currently be considered any more significant than the ramblings of defrocked and excommunicated bishop Milingo.
  • A note should be made on the Lateran IV (mentioned in one of your sources and cited as condemning Judaism). There are a number of rulings related to the state of Jews and Saracens in Christian society (you can find the full text here). Specifically:
    1. There is mention of Jews practicing usury (something which could incur excommunication to the Christian). The Council condemns this.
    2. There is mention of intermarriage with non-believers (and extramarital relations), both of these should have been condemned anyway (no unequally yoked condemns intermarriage, most of the Bible condemns extra-marital relations).
    3. The only two issues which can even be questionable are "Jews who convert may not become Jews again," (a normative law), and "Jews are not to hold public office" (another normative rule). While we might not like these types of rules today, they do make a certain degree of sense.

To the final question, I simply say that the answer is simple. Catholic Tradition, while intricate, very often is not binding. Only binding traditions can be held to the standard of infallibility and those can be found (almost exclusively) in the Councils and the (two) infallible statements of the Holy See.

  • I see some reason in your argument but the thing that does not make sense at all is how synod rulings can go for so many years without being corrected by the Pope. If ' its rulings cannot currently be considered any more significant than the ramblings of defrocked and excommunicated bishop Milingo' then why we're they not defrocked and excommunicated? Why no rebuke by the Pope for their excess, but rather seeming support in the absence of it? The Pope is supposed to be the boss so those under his authority they represent the Pope if he does not oppose there assembled rulings. True, or not? – Mike Sep 3 '12 at 14:44
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    It isn't the Pope's job to rebuke the slightest misdirection that a bishop half a world away makes. If it were, then we would never have had many of the problems we had in the 20th century. This is doubly so in cases where the practice largely disappeared or was modified over the course of centuries. – Ignatius Theophorus Sep 3 '12 at 16:05
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    If we were to equate the Pope with the Supreme Court, then a bishop might be a state court of appeals. A synod might represent the Supreme Court of ONE STATE. The SCotUS has no right to dictate the rulings of the SCoNJ save in matters which relate to the entire nation. – Ignatius Theophorus Sep 3 '12 at 16:09
  • oK - your starting to convince me a bit (+1) – Mike Sep 3 '12 at 22:56
  • And where is any of the above in the bible, remember that the concept of a "pope" etc is man made, not God made...... – Ian Ringrose Apr 18 '17 at 11:00

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