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Who Are the Modern Day Pharisees?

 

John Bergsma at The Sacred Page has a brilliant post in which he accurately describes the relationship between Christ and the Pharisees in regard to their teachings:

 

Finally, let us reflect for a moment on the fact that, in the Sermon on the Mount, Our Lord consistently raised the moral requirements of true discipleship vis-à-vis the Pharisees and contemporary Jewish practice, rather than lowering them.

He says clearly: “I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:20).

The Pharisees were content if one did not murder; Jesus forbids even unjust anger.

The Pharisees were content with avoidance of adultery; Jesus forbids even lustful glances.

The Pharisees were content if a certificate of divorce were legally issued; Jesus forbids divorce.

The Pharisees were content with keeping oaths; Jesus forbids oaths.

The Pharisees limited retaliation to the lex talionis; Jesus forbids personal retaliation.

The Pharisees were content with love of neighbor; Jesus advocates love of enemies.

The idea—which seems to be widespread—that Jesus’ morally teaching was somehow less demanding or more relaxed than that of the Pharisees is quite incorrect.  It is true that Jesus did not endorse the plethora of ritual washings and other purity regulations practiced by the Pharisees, but on matters of moral law he was more, not less, stringent.

Go here to read the rest.  Catholicism is a historical faith, and it is badly distorted when knaves, taking advantage of the wide- spread historical ignorance today, misuse history to win current battles by appealing to fools who do not know the history.  Those Catholics who are against the Church extending communion to those living in adulterous second marriages are not being Pharisees.  They are attempting to uphold the teaching of He who stood against the Pharisees when they exalted human needs above divine commandments.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

5 Comments

  1. Who are the Modern Day Pharisees?
    The Roman Pontiff, Cardinals Maradiaga, Wuerl, Dolan and Kasper. They are not “pharasitical” in holding to Church teaching as handed down through the centuries, but rather what they think the Second Vatican Council, the bestest, most supercalifragilisticexpeialidocious Council ever, teaches – or should teach.

  2. I think the pharisees got involved in politics– our clerics today are encouraged not to do that.
    I know “involvement” is hard to define… (Cuba)
    I remember Fr. Drinan.
    All the loving and generous and, in fact, bleeding, hearts, claim the truth of their “another” religion because it is heartfelt. of course pharisees did and do not plan to be bad or to have bad effects. They are sincere. and to quote my dad…”Sincerely wrong”.

  3. The new Pharisees are clearly those who don’t care about the lost people, the ones that don’t won’t to use their hands to save those who are already condemned, those who see liturgy as a new religion and as a ideology rather then as a mean to strengh the links between men and God through the path of mercy and charity.

  4. Appearance over the substance they claim— caring about what people think more than if they’re actually promoting the good they argue for, valuing feeling like you’ve done good more than checking the results of the actions.

    Yeah, that’s really hard to connect to a modern movement….. -.-

  5. The New Pharisees are those alleged “Go With The Flow” Types, who believe in a repetitive failure for Personal Gain. They are dangerous especially when proved wrong. I went down that road when, as a sworn Peace Officer in New York City, along with one other, we suffered at the Hands of Internal Profiteers, who justify everything with The Words “Everybody Does It.”
    They knew that when two of us followed what the Law actually said and not their private interpretation for personal profit, as well as for the rest of this City’s Legal Fixers, that Justice was served. The conditions were corrected. But these Modern Day Pharisees, like those of Christ’s Time, know that the consequences are of their demise of Power and Personal Revenue Growth, will bear false witness and destroy careers via “Concerns For Mental Health”, which is for preserving their lack of Credibility, via The Gang Tactics which they never hesitate to employ.
    M

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