Attending a “Catholic” Seder Meal

TO: All Members
FROM: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke International Director
SUBJECT: Attending a “Catholic” Seder Meal
DATE: March 19, 2018

Praised be Jesus Christ!

In answer to a request for clarification from a Marian Catechist who had been invited to a “Catholic” Seder Meal in a parish, I do not recommend participation in this type of meal for the following reasons:

First of all, the sense of the Seder Meal is the anticipation of the Messiah Who has not yet come. But the Messiah has come and lives in us through His Holy Church. Therefore, it does not make any sense for a Catholic to take part in a meal whose entire sense is the expectation of the Coming of the Messiah.

Second, the Holy Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, has replaced the Seder Meal for ever. It is the Sacrament of Our Lord’s Real Presence with us. Taking part in a Seder Meal could reflect a weakness of Eucharistic faith or induce such a weakness.

Third, if the Seder Meal is thought to be a form of interreligious dialogue or fraternity, such thought is erroneous. A “Catholic” Seder Meal is offensive to the Jewish religion because a good Jew knows that we, as Christians, believe that the Messiah has come with the Redemptive Incarnation of God the Son. It would seem to be playing with what, for the Jewish person, is very sacred. At the same time, as mentioned above, a good Christian knows that taking part in a Seder Meal would be a “make believe” act, that is, an act which in its very essence no longer makes sense. What does it say about the Eucharistic faith of the participants?

Finally, the Association of Hebrew Catholics, which is an excellent Catholic association of converts to Catholicism from Judaism, advertises a “Seder in the Light of Christ,” to be conducted by the well-known convert Roy Schoeman. It is not, in itself a proper Seder Meal but a kind of catechetical meal following the structure of the Seder Meal, by which it is shown:

  1. how the Passover Seder on Holy Thursday was transformed into the First Holy Mass;
  2. why God chose to have the Passion, Crucifixion and Death of His Incarnate Son on the eve of the Jewish Passover; and
  3. how the sacramental aspects of Judaism prefigure the Sacraments of the holy Catholic Church.

If the so-called “Catholic” Seder Meal is conducted in this way, that is, as an instruction on the definitive transformation of the Seder Meal by Christ, it can be acceptable; but it requires a leader of the preparation like Roy Schoeman. That is, it requires a devout and literate Catholic who also has a profound knowledge of Judaism.

I hope that the above is of assistance to you.

May God bless you, your family and all your labors, and may Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego, Saint Michael the Archangel, Saint Joseph, and Saints Peter and Paul intercede for your intentions.

Yours in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and in the Purest Heart of Saint Joseph,

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke.