Equality, Supersession, and Anxiety
The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, is a Jewish holy site in Jerusalem where Pope John Paul II placed a prayer on March 26, 2000 signifying his recognition of Judaism as incontrovertibly valid. Echoing what St. Paul had said in Romans 1, the pope was essentially saying that Judaism's continuity was no longer justified by the expected ultimate fusion of the Jews into the Catholic fold. Not long after, however, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (who would become Pope Benedict XVI) issued an official statement in which he reiterated the supremacy of Catholicism as the “only true Church.” According to Cardinal Ratzinger, it is not possible to espouse interreligious dialogue, or respect for other religions, yet continue to defend supersessionism. In a commentary on Matthew 15:26 by the English Protestant divine Matthew Henry (1662–1714), he mentioned the metaphor of the Jewish dog and its accompanying anxiety. Since then, the image of the “Jewish dog” has become common and surfaced especially in the context of “the children's bread” and those who endangered it or its recipients.
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