“Dies observatis, et menses, et tempora, et annos. Timeo vos, ne forte sine causa laboraverim in vobis!” Galatians 4:10-11

As Holy Week approaches a disturbing trend is apparent among certain Christians towards the attempted revival of the Sacraments of the Old Law, in particular of the Passover. Many people have begun to indulge in the practice of a more or less adapted Passover Ritual the ‘Seder Meal’ on Holy Thursday or at some other time during Holy Week. Some people do this out of a desire to express solidarity with the Jewish people or understand our Jewish roots. Some seem to be working out some sort of guilt for centuries of Christian mistreatment of the Jews. These motives may be worthy but the sacraments of the Old Law objectively signify that the Messiah has not yet come. To perform them signifies the denial of Christ.

As Pius XII explains in Mystici Corporis Christi,

“…by the death of our Redeemer, the New Testament took the place of the Old Law which had been abolished; then the Law of Christ together with its mysteries, enactments, institutions, and sacred rites was ratified for the whole world in the blood of Jesus Christ. For, while our Divine Savior was preaching in a restricted area — He was not sent but to the sheep that were lost of the house of Israel -the Law and the Gospel were together in force; but on the gibbet of his death Jesus made void the Law with its decrees, fastened the handwriting of the Old Testament to the Cross, establishing the New Testament in His blood shed for the whole human race. ‘To such an extent, then,’ says St. Leo the Great, speaking of the Cross of our Lord, ‘was there effected a transfer from the Law to the Gospel, from the Synagogue to the Church, from many sacrifices to one Victim, that, as our Lord expired, that mystical veil which shut off the innermost part of the temple and its sacred secret was rent violently from top to bottom.’ On the Cross then the Old Law died, soon to be buried and to be a bearer of death…”

At this point Pius XII footnotes the Decree of the Council of Florence which dogmatically defined that the rites of the Old Law cannot be followed. This definition commands the obedience of Divine and Catholic Faith. There is no room for doubt in this regard and the Council makes it quite clear that the gravely sinful nature of such acts is quite independent of whether one supposes their performance to be binding or necessary for salvation.

The Church has solemnly defined that the performance of the rites of the Old Law is mortally sinful.

“The sacrosanct Roman Church, founded by the voice of our Lord and Savior … firmly believes, professes, and teaches that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, of the Mosiac law, which are divided into ceremonies, sacred rites, sacrifices, and sacraments, because they were established to signify something in the future, although they were suited to the divine worship at that time, after our Lord’s coming had been signified by them, ceased, and the sacraments of the New Testament began; and that whoever, even after the passion, placed hope in these matters of the law and submitted himself to them as necessary for salvation, as if faith in Christ could not save without them, sinned mortally. Yet it does not deny that after the passion of Christ up to the promulgation of the Gospel they could have been observed so long as they were believed to be in no way necessary for salvation; but after the promulgation of the Gospel it asserts that they cannot be observed without the loss of eternal salvation. All, therefore, who after that time observe circumcision and the Sabbath and the other requirements of the law, it declares alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation, unless someday they recover from these errors. Therefore, it commands all who glory in the name of Christian, at whatever time, before or after baptism, to cease entirely from circumcision, since, whether or not one places hope in it, it cannot be observed at all without the loss of eternal salvation.”

– The Council of Florence 1438-1445 (17th Ecumenical Council) Cantata Domino, 4th February 1442 [D712]

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