the Hatred Between the Jews and Samaritans?
I have been perplexed by the rift between the Samaritans
and the Jews and their hatred mentioned in the New Testament. One incident is at Jacob's
Yet in one of the parables it is a Samaritan who takes care of the victim who was beaten.
Is there anywhere in the Old Testament that records the breaking down of Abraham's and/or
Imagine the hatred between Serbs and Muslims in modern
Bosnia, the enmity between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland or the feuding
between street gangs in Los Angeles or New York, and you have some idea of the feeling
and its causes between Jews and Samaritans in the time of Jesus. Both politics and religion
According to the Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible (McGraw
Hill) by Louis F. Hartman, C.SS.R., feelings of ill will probably went back before the
separation of the northern and southern Jewish kingdoms. Even then there was a lack of
unity between the tribes of Jacob.
After the separation of Judah and Israel in the ninth century,
King Omri of the Northern Kingdom bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer (1 Kings 16:24).
He built there the city of Samaria which became his capital.
It was strong defensively and controlled the valley through
which the main road ran between Jerusalem and Galilee. In 722 B.C. the city fell to the
Assyrians and became the headquarters of the Assyrian province of Samarina. While many
of the inhabitants of the city and the surrounding area of Samaria were led off into
captivity, some farmers and others were left behind. They intermarried with new settlers
from Mesopotamia and Syria.
Though the Samaritans were condemned by the Jews, Hartman
says they probably had as much pure Jewish blood as the Jews who later returned from
the Babylonian exile.
The story of both Israel's and Samaria's failures in keeping
to the way of Yahweh is partly told in Chapter 17 of the Second Book of Kings. There,
too, the sacred author tells how the king of As-syria sent a priest from among the exiles
to teach the Samaritans how to worship God after an attack by lions was attributed to
their failure to worship the God of the land. Second Kings recounts how worship of Yahweh
was mixed with the worship of strange gods.
When Cyrus permitted the Jews to return from the Babylonian
exile, the Samaritans were ready to welcome them back. The exiles, however, despised
the Samaritans as renegades. When the Samaritans wanted to join in rebuilding the Temple
in Jerusalem, their assistance was rejected. You will find this in the Book of Ezra,
With the rejection came political hostility and opposition.
The Samaritans tried to undermine the Jews with their Persian rulers and slowed the rebuilding
of Jerusalem and its temple. Nehemiah tells us (Nehemiah 13:28-29) that a grandson of
the high priest, Eliashib, had married a daughter of Sanballat, the governor of the province
For defiling the priesthood by marrying a non-Jewish woman,
Nehemiah drove Eliashib from Jerusalem--though Sanballat was a worshiper of Yahweh. According
to the historian Josephus, Sanballat then had a temple built on Mount Garizim in which
his son-in-law Eliashib could function. Apparently this is when the full break between
Jews and Samaritans took place.
According to John McKenzie in his Dictionary of the
Bible, the Samaritans later allied themselves with the Seleucids in the Maccabean
wars and in 108 B.C. the Jews destroyed the Samaritan temple and ravaged the territory.
Around the time of Jesus' birth, a band of Samaritans profaned the Temple in Jerusalem
by scattering the bones of dead people in the sanctuary. In our own era which has witnessed
the vandalism of synagogues and the burning of black churches, we should be able to
understand the anger and hate such acts would incite.
The fact that there was such dislike and hostility between
Jews and Samaritans is what gives the use of the Samaritan in the Parable of the Good
Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) such force! The Samaritan is the one who is able to rise above
the bigotry and prejudices of centuries and show mercy and compassion for the injured
Jew after the Jew's own countrymen pass him by!
It is with those centuries of opposition and incidents
behind their peoples that we can understand the surprise of the Samaritan woman (John
4:9) when Jesus rises above the social and religious restrictions not just of a man talking
to a woman, but also of a Jew talking to a Samaritan.
You can find more about the story of the rift between Jews
and Samaritans in the various biblical dictionaries and commentaries, and scattered through
the historical and prophetical books of the Old Testament.
Idea Was It to Move the Tabernacle?
They moved the tabernacle in our church from the main
altar to a side altar. Whose idea was this? The pope's? Our pastor's?
The Second Vatican Council ended on December 8, 1965. As
part of implementing the Council's decisions, the Sacred Congregation of Rites issued
on May 25, 1967, Instruction on the Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery (Eucharisticum
Mysterium). In that instruction the Congregation spoke of the reservation of the
Blessed Sacrament and the place of the tabernacle. It said: "The place in a church
or oratory where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle should be truly
prominent. It ought to be suitable for private prayer so that the faithful may easily
and fruitfully, by private devotion also, continue to honor our Lord in this sacrament.
"It is therefore recommended that, as far as possible,
the tabernacle be placed in a chapel distinct from the middle or central part of the
church, above all in those churches where marriages and funerals take place frequently,
and in places which are much visited for their artistic or historical treasures."
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, Fourth Edition
(March 27, 1975), picks up on what the Congregation said, stating, "Every encouragement
should be given to the practice of eucharistic reservation in a chapel suited to the
faithful's private adoration and prayer.
"If this is impossible because of the structure of
the church, the sacrament should be reserved at an altar or elsewhere in keeping with
local custom, and in a part of the church that is worthy and properly adorned."
In 1978 the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy (part of
the U.S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops) published the statement Environment
and Art in Catholic Worship. In that statement the committee gives some of the theology
involved in locating the place of reservation of the Blessed Sacrament: "The celebration
of the Eucharist is the focus of the normal Sunday assembly. As such, the major space
of a church is designed for this action. Beyond the celebration of the Eucharist the
Church has had a most ancient tradition of reserving the eucharistic bread. The purpose
of this reservation is to bring Communion to the sick and to be the object of private
"Most appropriately, this reservation should be designated
in a space designed for individual devotion. A room or chapel specifically designed and
separate from the major space is important so that no confusion can take place between
the celebration of the Eucharist and reservation. Active and static aspects of the same
reality cannot claim the same human attention at the same time.
"Having the Eucharist reserved in a place apart does
not mean it has been relegated to a secondary place of no importance. Rather, a space
carefully designed and appointed can give proper attention to the reserved sacrament."
Many of us who predate Vatican II can remember that the
Church was aware of the confusion of which the bishops' committee speaks when Mass was
celebrated on the altar of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during Forty Hours Devotion,
for instance. To focus attention on the sacrifice of the Mass being celebrated, a standard
or veil was placed in front of the monstrance.
Your pastor isn't just making up things on his own in locating
the place of reservation of the Blessed Sacrament apart from the main altar. He is following
the direction of the pope and Holy See.
If you want to see what the U.S. bishops' committee had
to say about everything from images and vestments to church design, you can obtain a
copy of Environment and Art in Catholic Worship from the United States Catholic
Conference Publishing Services, 3211 Fourth Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017, for $7.95
plus $2.25 postage.
The answer to who said or did what can often be found in
the two paperback volumes, Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents ($15.95
each). Both volumes are published by The Liturgical Press, St. John's Abbey, P.O. Box
7500, Collegeville, MN 56321-7500. You should be able to order them through the publisher
or any Catholic bookstore including St. Francis Bookshop, 1618 Vine Street, Cincinnati,
OH 45210 (1-800-241-6392). Add $3 for postage.
Is the Society of St. Pius X?
Your June issue mentioned that one of the groups that
one should not belong to is the Society of St. Pius X. What is this group and why is
it named that?
The story and identity of the St. Pius X Society is very
much involved with that of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Lefebvre was the French archbishop
who rejected much of the Second Vatican Council. He rejected the new order of the Mass,
insisting on retaining the liturgy of the Eucharist as it came from the Council of Trent
and the Missal approved by Pope Pius V in 1570.
Lefebvre founded a group of followers called the Society
of Pius X. He was eventually suspended by Pope Paul VI for ordaining priests when forbidden
to do so. Later he was excommunicated by Pope John Paul II for ordaining bishops from
the Society of Pius X without papal approval.
Many of the Society of Pius X followed Lefebvre into schism.
Its members remain outside the authority of the Holy See well after the death of Lefebvre
in 1991, still rejecting the changes of Vatican II and celebrating the Mass in Latin
and according to the Missal of Pius V.
I presume the society was named for St. Pius X because
Pius X, at the turn of this century, opposed what was known as modernism in the Church.
Lefebvre saw himself and his followers as opponents of a new kind of modernism.
Say 'John Cardinal Smith' instead of 'Cardinal John Smith'?
Why are cardinals' names written with cardinal in the
middle of the name?
According to Jerrold M. Packard, author of Peter's Kingdom
Inside the Papal City, cardinals insert "Cardinal" in the middle of their
name because Pope Urban VIII (1644) felt the honor of being appointed cardinal was
so great that the title should become part of the person's name itself rather than
merely a prefix.
Packard says that this form is becoming unfashionable but
is still used on official papal documents. It was the same Urban VIII who gave cardinals
the unique style Eminence. Packard states that "Cardinal" is a title and "Eminence" a
style. Webster's dictionary calls "Eminence" a title.
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