Hebrew Catholics (in Hebrew: קתולים עבריים Qatholim Ivriym) are Christians of Jewish derivation who are members of the Catholic Church and keep their Jewish traditions in light of the Gospel and the Church's Magisterium. Some reside in Israel but the greatest number are to be found in the United States.
Hebrew Catholics subscribe to the doctrines of the Catholic faith and are in full communion with the Vatican. One point of differentiation lies not in dogmatic beliefs but in liturgical practices. For example, their liturgical calendar differs from Latin Catholics in their use of Jewish holidays. Hebrew Catholics celebrate Passover, Rosh Hashana, Shavuot, etc. Some Hebrew Catholics wear traditional ritual wear like Kippahs, Tallits, Tefillin, use Mezuzahs and keep many commandments in the Torah as a sign of their heritage.
The movement is not a sectarian nor a schismatic group inside the Catholic Church. Their identification as both Hebrew and Catholic derives from their spiritual background as belonging to the Hebrew people and to the Catholic faith as stated by the founder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics, Fr. Elias Friedman, O.C.D.
They do not respond to any other "catholic" denominations but only to the "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church" at the Vatican See. Their Masses are held principally in the Latin Rite (and in fact in the Roman Rite) but in the Hebrew Language in Israel. In Israel they are under the pastoral care of Monsignor Fouad Twal, current Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Hebrew Catholics is a worldwide ecumenical movement and voluntary movement of Catholics of both Jewish and non-Jewish origins. The main associations of the movement are the Association of Hebrew Catholics (AHC), Remnant Of Israel (ROI), and Miriam Bat Tzion. The AHC and the ROI are English-speaking organizations, and Miriam Bat Tzion is French-speaking. There is also another group of Spanish-speaking Hebrew Catholics in Maracay, Venezuela, who also having a Davidic dance ministry with a comprehensive website on the internet. [see http://www.mixristos.es.tl/]
According to David Moss (2000), the current president of the AHC, their number is around 10,000 people. The countries with the largest membership are the USA and Israel, but members are also found in Canada, France, Italy, Australia, Spain, England, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Germany.
Hebrew Catholics should not be confused with Messianic Jews, who are independent Hebrew Christian denominations, many of them Sabbatarian Protestants, some of whom follow Calvninist doctrine but celebrate Jewish holy days and emphasize Jewish elements of Christianity. Hebrew Catholics are in full communion with the Vatican and are not an independent movement.
Some Halachic Points of View
According to Bloomer (2008) "There is a broad range of Hebrew Catholics. From those who observe nothing much of the Jewish ways up to those who observe the same as Orthodox Jews. There are many different opinions but they all try to accept each other whatever their level of observance."
Furthermore, Fr. David Neuhaus (2008), a priest for the Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Jerusalem and a Jew born himself, declares as follows: "Dietary laws are not obligatory for those who live in Christ. I would only understand dietary laws being observed by Jewish Catholics if they had always practised these laws before becoming Catholic. It certainly does no harm. But adopting the laws as Catholic (or as secular Jews who have become Catholic) does not make much sense as we have the fullness of the promise in Jesus." Other Hebrew Catholics especially those who prefer the name Jewish Catholics or Catholic Jews observe the Kosher Food Laws and see much spiritual significance in such Torah observance.
See also Dual-covenant theology.
Notable Catholics of Jewish origin
- St. Angelus of Jerusalem
- St. Juan de Ávila (Counsellor of St. Teresa de Jesús)
- St. Teresa de Jesús (de Ávila, the discalced Carmelite founder)
- St. Juan de la Cruz (the discalced Carmelite founder)
- St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) - Philosopher, Carmelite nun, martyr, and saint of the Catholic Church, who died in Auschwitz.
- Fr. Luis de León (Spanish writer friar and translator)
- Luis de Carvajal (Spanish Conqueror of Nuevo León, México)
- Fr. Hermann Cohen (priest), O.C.D.
- Fr. Francis Libermann, C.S.S.R
- Auguste and Joseph Lemann, Brothers (Jewish twins who became Catholic priests)
- Marie Ratisbonne and Maria Theodor Ratisbonne - (Jewish brothers who became Catholic priests)
- Msgr. Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger (Archbishop of Paris)
- Eugenio Zolli (Israel Zoller, former Chief Rabbi of Rome during World War II)
For further information about Notable Catholics of Jewish origin, go direct to: Converts from Judaism to Roman Catholicism
Notable Hebrew Catholics
- Fr. Elias Friedman, O.C.D. (Founder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics)
- Fr. Arthur Klyber (Founder of ROI)
- Fr. Cyril Axelrod
- David Goldstein
- Fr. Bruno Hussar (Founder of NSWAS, Neve Shalom - Wahat al Salam, Oasis of Peace)
- Msgr. Jean-Baptiste Gourion (Former Auxiliar Bishop of Jerusalem)
- Christendom Awake (Mark Alder)
- Saint James Youth Group - Israel
- Hebrew Speaking Catholic Vicariate in Israel (Hebrew, English, French and Russian)
- The Association of Hebrew Catholics
- Catholics for Israel: Catholics for Israel and Catholics in Israel committed in fostering dialog and friendship between Jews and Catholics
- Hebrew speaking Catholics in Israel (Hebrew) Portal Notzri Qatholi
- Remnant of Israel (Mark Drogin)
- Salvation is From the Jews (Roy Schoeman)
- Second Exodus (Marty Barrack)
- Yeshua's Light
- Rakhem Adonay - Católicos Hebreos - Hebrew Catholics(Spanish and English)
- Mashíaj - Asociación de Católicos de Carisma Hebraico y de Tradición Hebrea, Maracay, Venezuela A Spanish Site
Friedman, E. (1987) Jewish Identity. The Miriam Press. New York. ISBN:0-939409-003(HB), ISBN: 0-939409-01-1(PB).ru:Католики еврейского происхождения