In the last few catecheses I spoke about two great doctors of the Church of the fourth century, Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, bishop of Cappadocia, in present-day Turkey. Today we add a third, Basil's brother, St. Gregory of Nyssa, who showed himself to be a man of meditative character, with a great capacity for reflection, and a vivacious intellect, open to the culture of his time. He showed himself in this way to be an original and deep thinker in Christian history ...
Especially after Basil's death, almost garnering his spiritual legacy, Gregory cooperated in the triumph of orthodoxy. He participated in various synods; he tried to settle divisions between the Churches; he took an active part in the Church's reorganization; and, as "a pillar of orthodoxy," he was a protagonist at the Council of Constantinople in 381, which defined the divinity of the Holy Spirit. (Benedict XVI, "On St. Gregory of Nyssa: A Pillar of Orthodoxy," August 29, 2007)
It is true, St. Gregory of Nyssa was indeed a pillar of orthodoxy, and given that Benedict says as much himself, it's worth examining what this pillar of orthodoxy, St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote of the people who Benedict calls his "elder brothers in the faith" with whom Christians "have a common mission."
The Lawgiver of our life has enjoined upon us one single hatred. I mean, that of the Serpent: for no other purpose has He bidden us exercise this faculty of hatred, but as a resource against wickedness. "I will put enmity," He says, "between you and him." Since wickedness is a complicated and multifarious thing, the Word allegorizes it by the Serpent, the dense array of whose scales is symbolic of this multiformity of evil. And we by working the will of our Adversary make an alliance with this serpent, and so turn this hatred against one another, and perhaps not against ourselves alone, but against Him Who gave the commandment; for He says, "You shall love your neighbour and hate thine enemy," commanding us to hold the foe to our humanity as our only enemy, and declaring that all who share that humanity are the neighbours of each one of us. But this gross-hearted age has disunited us from our neighbour, and has made us welcome the serpent, and revel in his spotted scales.
I affirm, then, that it is a lawful thing to hate God's enemies, and that this kind of hatred is pleasing to our Lord: and by God's enemies I mean those who deny the glory of our Lord, be they Jews, or downright idolaters, or those who through Arius' teaching idolize the creature, and so adopt the error of the Jews. (St. Gregory of Nyssa, Letter 17)
Now, I do not seize upon this statement by St. Gregory, which is typical to all of the Church Fathers, in an effort to stir up temporal animosity any more than St. Gregory intended to do so, but to demonstrate how double-minded it is of Benedict to on the one hand laud the orthodoxy of the Church Fathers who singularly identified Judaic practices, beliefs and those who uphold them as antithetical and inimical to Christianity, and on the other hand laud the "Jews" who today uphold these same beliefs and practices so opposed by the Church Fathers as our "elder brothers in the faith;" people with whom Christians "have a common mission."
Are they our enemies or our allies? They cannot be both. So, either Benedict or the Church Doctor Gregory of Nyssa and all of the Church Fathers are wrong here. I side with the Church Fathers.
Judaic beliefs have only become more hostile towards Christianity and Christians since St. Gregory's time. For the Vatican to make such a 180 degree turnaround from the position of the Church Fathers on this matter reflects a change on their part only and a most suspicious change at that.