EWTN Catholic Q&A
St Paul/Galatians
Question from Tim on 11-05-2012:

How could Galatians apply to contemporary Christians even if they have never been concerned with whether there is any need to observe customs and laws of the Jewish religion?

Also, how could Paul's teachings about freedom relate to contemporary beliefs? Thank you.

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 11-06-2012:

The Epistle to the Galatians was principally about the attempts of conservative Jewish Christians--Judaisers--to force Gentile Christians to accept some or all of Old Covenant ritual requirements, especially circumcism. Saint Paul was passionate in his condemnation of this for two reasons: theologically it placed essential conditions upon salvation that were not intended and could make void the essential merit of the Cross; practically it would impose upon Gentiles what even Jews had trouble keeping, that is, ritual laws and sabbath laws that were overly demanding.

This issue should was theologically settled at the first full council of the Apostles at Jerusalem but it took a generation or two for this issue to subside and go away. As to modern application, I would not see issues with anything within Catholicism but as to non-Catholic denominations and others, whose to say...

Thanks, Tim

Father Echert