Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pharisees and Saducees of Our Time

The Sandhedrin of the time of Jesus was the Council of
Sadducees and Pharisees
by Roberto de Mattei *
Criticism of the "Pharisees" is often found in the words of Pope Francis. In numerous speeches 2013-2015 he has spoken on the "disease of the Pharisees" (September 7, 2013), "accusing Jesus of not honoring the Sabbath day" (April 1, 2014), from the "temptation of self-sufficiency and  clericalism, that codifying of faith in rules and instructions, like the scribes, the Pharisees and the lawyers of the time of Jesus" (September 19, 2014). During Angelus of 30 August 2015, he said: "As  then for  the Pharisees there is also for us the danger that we order, or worse: to consider ourselves better than the other based solely on the fact that we keep the rules, the customs,  even if we do not love our neighbor, are hard of heart, proud and arrogant. "On November 8, 2015, he compared   the attitude of the scribes and the Pharisees and their "exclusion", to Jesus, who was based in "inclusion." The reference to the Pharisees is equally evident in the speech in which the Pope concluded last October 24  for the XIV. Ordinary Synod on the Family. Who else are the "closed heart, who often hide behind even the teachings of the Church or behind  good intentions to sit  in the chair of Moses and - sometimes condescendingly and with superficiality - to address  the difficult cases and the injured Families,"  if not "the Pharisees, who made ​​religion to an infinite chain of commandments (June 26, 2014)?" Pharisees seem to be anyone who defend with stubborn pride, the existence of absolute and incontrovertible commandments, laws, rules of the Church.

Who Were the Pharisees Really?

Who were the Pharisees really? When Jesus began his teaching years, the Jewish world was divided into different currents, about which we are told from the Gospels, among historians, like Flavius Josephus (3 -100 AD.) in his works "Antiquities of the Jews" and "History of the Jewish War ". The main sects were those of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. The Pharisees were concerned with the details of the religious rules, but had lost the spirit of truth. They were arrogant men who forged the prophecies about the Messiah and interpreted the divine law  according to their opinions. The Sadducees taught even more serious mistakes. They doubted the immortality of the soul and rejected the majority of the Holy Scriptures. Both were fighting for power in the Sanhedrin, who, when Jesus was condemned, was led by the Sadducees.
The Sadducees are even mentioned by Mark and Matthew three times, while the Pharisees occur repeatedly in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew.  Chapter 23 of St. Matthew in particular, is an open accusation against them: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Your tithe mint, anise and cumin, and left the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy and faithfulness. One must do the one thing without neglecting the others."

The St. Thomas Aquinas, Augustine and Bonaventure about the Pharisees

St. Thomas Aquinas explains in his commentary on this passage of Matthew that the Pharisees were not condemned by the Lord because they paid a tithe, "but only because they valued the lower more than  the spiritual commandments. But [deliver the tithe] in practice he seems to praise it, saying: 'These things shall be done' (Haec oportuit facere) according to the law, as Chrisostomos adds (Summa Theologica, II-IIae, q 87,. a. 2 ad 3).
St. Augustine said, referring to the Pharisees, of which St. Luke writes (18:10 to 14), that he has not been convicted of his works, but because he has boasted of his alleged sanctity (Epistola 121,1,3).  St. Augustine explains the same in his letter to Casulanus that the Pharisee was not condemned because he fasted (Luke 18,11ff), but "because he was inflamed in pride over the publicans" (Epistola 36,4,7). Because it is "fruitless for a man to fast twice during the week as the Pharisees, on the other hand, yet it is an exercise of religion in a  believer who is humble or  one who is a faithfully humble man  when Scripture does not say that the Pharisees had been condemned, but rather that the tax collector was justified." (Epistola 36,4,7).
The most concise definition of the Pharisees is found from St. Bonaventure: "Pharisaeus significat illos qui propter opera exteriora se reputant bonos; et ideo non habent lacrymas compunctionis" (De S. Mary Magdalene Sermo I, in: Opera omnia, Ad Claras Aquas, Florence 2001 Vol IX, col 556b..). "A Pharisees is described as one who thinks of themselves good because of their outer works  and therefore has no tears of penitence."

Pharisees were Proud Conservatives, the Sadducees Unbelieving Liberals

Jesus condemned the Pharisees because he knew their hearts: they were sinners, but considered themselves holy. The Lord wanted to teach his disciples that the external fulfillment of good works is not enough. That which is a good act is not only so in its own property, but the intention. Nevertheless, if it is true that good works are not enough, if good intentions are lacking, as it is also true that the good intentions are not enough, if good works are missing.   Gamaliel, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea (Antiquities of the Jews 20.9.1), and even St. Paul (Acts 23.6) who belonged to the party of the Pharisees, were better than that of the Sadducees, precisely because they, despite their hypocrisy, acclaimed the laws, while the Sadducees, from whose ranks the high priests Annas and Caiaphas came (Jewish Antiquities 18.35.95), also disregarded this.
The Pharisees were proud conservatives, the Sadducees unbelieving liberals. But both unified rejection of the divine mission of Jesus (Mt 3.7 to 10).
Who are the Pharisees and the Sadducees of our time? We can give an answer to this with quiet certainty. There are those who have tried before, during and after the Synod and will try to change the practice of the Church and through the practice of their teaching, on the family and marriage.

Pharisees and Sadducees rejected the divine teachings of Jesus

Jesus proclaimed the indissolubility of marriage as God had thought from the beginning, and she founded this on the restoration of the natural law, from which the Jews had removed, and strengthened them by the raising of marriage to a Sacrament. Pharisees and Sadducees rejected this doctrine by denying the divine Word of Jesus and introducing their own opinion. They appealed disingenuously to the law of Moses, as the innovators of our time invoked an alleged tradition of the early centuries, by falsifying the history and doctrine of the Church.
For this reason, a brave bishop and defender of the true faith, Monsignor Athanasius Schneider, speaks of a "neo-Mosaic practice". "The new disciples of Moses and the new Pharisees in the two most recent Synodal Assemblies (2014 and 2015) have veiled their practical denial of the indissolubility of marriage and their occasionally lifting the Sixth Commandment under the guise of charity, by expressions like  'way of distinction,' 'accompaniment', 'orientation by the bishop ', 'dialogue with the priest', 'internal forum', 'a more complete integration into the life of the Church' which are used to eliminate the accountability [in the law] of cohabitation in cases of irregular connections as much as possible (see. Relatio finalis, no. 84-86). "

The Pharisees and Sadducees of Today

The Sadducees are the innovators who openly claim to overcome the doctrine and practice of the Church. The Pharisees are those who, although they confess the indissolubility of marriage with  their mouths, still hypocritical deny it  by their deeds, by proposing a "from-a-case-by-case" - transgression of the moral law.
The real disciples of Jesus Christ belong to neither the Party of neo-Pharisees nor the party of neo-Sadducees, both modernist, but follow the school of St. John the Baptist, who preached in the spiritual desert of his time. The Baptist was, when he denounced the Pharisees and Sadducees as a "generation of vipers" (Mt 3,7) and admonished Herod Antipas for his adultery, not hard-hearted, but moved by love for God and for souls. Hypocrites and Hardhearted were the advisers of Herod Antipas, who wanted to bring his sinful and unrepentant loose life in harmony with the teaching of Scripture.  Herod had John the Baptist executed to bring the voice of truth to silence, but the voice of the forerunner is  still audible 20 centuries later. Whoever defends sound doctrine publicly, does not follow the exaample of the Pharisees and Sadducees, but the example of St. John the Baptist and Our Lord.
Translation: Giuseppe Nardi
Picture: Youtube (Screenshot)
Trans: Tancred


Anonymous said...

May God deliver us from Pope Francis.

Caimbeul said...

It can be difficult to understand what the Pharisees and Saducees really stood for, as well as who they were and how it relates nowadays to the current Crisis. Professor De Mattei does a good job of explaining it. Thanks for posting it.

LeonG said...

Of course, Our Blessed Lord did not condemn sound spiritual exercises but only made reference in a wider understanding and context of practice with sound virtue. The basic problem for charlatan liberal modernists is that they like to exploit a microcosm to consign the macrocosm to ridicule. Who could believe such nonsense as that which spews from their malicious mouths?

Tancred said...


Anonymous said...

The Pharisees were known for washing and cleaning rituals before meals the Pharisees of today must refer to those who voice concern about sacrilegious Communions , once again the Blessed Sacrament is been put on the same level as a "meal".Before long they will be trying to introduce take away .