For the record: New Vatican document on Jewish-Christian dialogue calls for “principled rejection” of “institutional” missionary work to Jews

For the record: New Vatican document on Jewish-Christian dialogue calls for “principled rejection” of “institutional” missionary work to Jews

[The Jews are off limits for proselytizing]

Posted by Augustinus on 12/10/2015 at

So pre-Vatican II!

The Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, headed by Cardinal Kurt Koch of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, issued today a new document on Christian-Jewish dialogue. (Full text on Vatican Radio: The Gifts and Calling of God are irrevocable.) To our knowledge, this document contains the most explicit rejection so far by the Vatican of any attempt to convert Jews to Catholicism, even as it affirms the “universal and therefore also exclusive mediation of salvation through Jesus Christ”. It also contains an extended attack on supersessionism, which is explicitly named as a target of the document.

With the surprise revival in recent days of pressure from some hierarchies against the Good Friday Prayer inserted in the 1962 Missal by Benedict XVI, this issue is certainly of interest to Traditional Catholics, and bears watching.

The document is described early on as “not a magisterial document or doctrinal teaching of the Catholic Church”, but we have little doubt that it will be treated in practice as having magisterial authority. Here we post its most relevant (for us) portions, with our emphases.

On Supersessionism:

On the part of many of the Church Fathers the so-called replacement theory or supersessionism steadily gained favour until in the Middle Ages it represented the standard theological foundation of the relationship with Judaism: the promises and commitments of God would no longer apply to Israel because it had not recognised Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God, but had been transferred to the Church of Jesus Christ which was now the true ‘new Israel’, the new chosen people of God. Arising from the same soil, Judaism and Christianity in the centuries after their separation became involved in a theological antagonism which was only to be defused at the Second Vatican Council. With its Declaration “Nostra aetate” (No.4) the Church unequivocally professes, within a new theological framework, the Jewish roots of Christianity. While affirming salvation through an explicit or even implicit faith in Christ, the Church does not question the continued love of God for the chosen people of Israel. A replacement or supersession theology which sets against one another two separate entities, a Church of the Gentiles and the rejected Synagogue whose place it takes, is deprived of its foundations. From an originally close relationship between Judaism and Christianity a long-term state of tension had developed, which has been gradually transformed after the Second Vatican Council into a constructive dialogue relationship.

On mission to the Jews:

It is easy to understand that the so-called ‘mission to the Jews’ is a very delicate and sensitive matter for Jews because, in their eyes, it involves the very existence of the Jewish people. This question also proves to be awkward for Christians, because for them the universal salvific significance of Jesus Christ and consequently the universal mission of the Church are of fundamental importance. The Church is therefore obliged to view evangelisation to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views. In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews. While there is a principled rejection of an institutional Jewish mission, Christians are nonetheless called to bear witness to their faith in Jesus Christ also to Jews, although they should do so in a humble and sensitive manner, acknowledging that Jews are bearers of God’s Word, and particularly in view of the great tragedy of the Shoah.

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6 comments on “For the record: New Vatican document on Jewish-Christian dialogue calls for “principled rejection” of “institutional” missionary work to Jews

  1. There is a problem here and it cannot be hidden under a blanket. The Jews believe in the God of the Old Covenant and we believe in the Trinitarian God of the New Covenant, particularly the 2nd Person of that God, Jesus Christ. Yes, they believe in God and for that we are thankful but that does not mean we give up our efforts to bring them to the Truth. We can cooperate in many things but giving up our mission of evangelization is not one of them. In doing this we are respectful of their position but we trust in the words of our Saviour who said: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father ,and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” If we did not do this, we would not be faithful to our God much as the Jews wish to be faithful to theirs.

    • One of the main things that modernists want to do is to use false ecumenism to disarm the truth of the catholic faith. When they do away with the missions and turn them into peace corp operations with very little religion, then paganism creeps in and the faith goes out the window. That will free us conservatives to renounce that and go our own way as Lefebvre did to continue the truth rather than go with the church of the anti-Christ. Infallibility lies in the true teachings of the preconcilar church, not a man who espouses false teachings. Rome is becoming more and more corrupt and therefore God abandons people who choose corruption and shakes the sand from His “sandals” and walks on His way leaving them to their own fate. We must follow the true teachings and not this secularization of the faith by socialistic liberals who are unbelievers in disguise. Follow Christ, not the devil!

  2. [Although the statement is “not a magisterial document or doctrinal teaching of the Catholic Church,” the American Jewish Committee is accepting it as “Gospel truth” although not without reservation]

    AJC Critical of New Vatican Document on Catholic-Jewish Relations

    Published: December 10th, 2015

    Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s International Director of Interreligious Affairs, was disappointed at the Vatican’s failure to recognize the value of the Land of Israel to the Jews, even as it was attempting to heal very old wounds between the two religions.

    Rabbi Rosen welcomed a new Vatican document on Catholic-Jewish relations, issued on the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate—the document stating that the Jews are no more responsible for the death of “that man” than are the Christians. The new document, “A Reflection on Theological Questions Pertaining to Catholic-Jewish Relations,” was issued by the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, and approved by Pope Francis. It explores theological issues that have emerged since the issuing of Nostra Aetate in 1965, and calls on Catholics to fight anti-Semitism and to not try to convert Jews to Christianity.

    In a historic first for the release of a Vatican document written for Catholic audiences, Rabbi Rosen and Dr. Edward Kessler of Cambridge University were invited to provide Jewish responses to the new document. They joined with Cardinal Kurt Koch, president, and Father Norbert Hoffman, secretary, of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, in addressing the press conference.

    “Nostra Aetate revolutionized Catholic teachings about Jews and Judaism,” said Rosen, adding, “The new ‘Reflection’ document clearly repudiates replacement or supersessionist theology; and expresses an increasing appreciation and respect for Jewish self-understanding, reflected in recognizing the place of Torah in the life of the Jewish people.”

    However, Rosen expressed disappointment that the new document fails to acknowledge “the centrality that the Land of Israel plays in the historic and contemporary religious life of the Jewish people,” and the groundbreaking role of Nostra Aetate in leading to the diplomatic accord between the Vatican and the Jewish State.

  3. If, for sake of discussion, we were to agree that God still honors and grants salvation through the Old Covenant, we would still be faced with the difficulty that there are no Old Covenant Jews in the world today. Are we now expected to believe that salvation comes through the observance of the Talmud?

    in XTO,

  4. [Comment from an Evangelical Protestant organization of Jews converted from Judaism as well as for the conversion of Jews to Evangelical Christianity; no comment yet from the Association of Hebrew Catholics]

    Vatican Is Wrong, Jews Need Jesus for Salvation, Says Messianic Group


    A leading Messianic group in America has responded to the Vatican’s recent claim that Jews do not need to be believers in Jesus Christ to be saved, by saying that the Apostle Paul would have been “horrified” at the suggestion.

    David Brickner, executive director of Jews for Jesus, said in a statement late last week that the suggestions of the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jews are “… egregious, especially coming from an institution which seeks to represent a significant number of Christians in the world.”

    He further pointed out that the document’s title, “The Gifts and Calling of God are irrevocable,” is taken from Paul’s words in Romans 11:29, but said that the New Testament figure would greatly disagree with how they have been applied here.

    Brickner said:

    “We believe that the Apostle Paul, whose name is invoked frequently in the Vatican document, would be horrified at this repudiation of the words with which he started his letter in Romans: ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.'”

    The Commission released its document last Thursday, which stated that although all people need Christ to be saved, there is a “divine mystery” surrounding how Jewish believers fit in the plan.

    “That the Jews are participants in God’s salvation is theologically unquestionable, but how that can be possible without confessing Christ explicitly, is and remains an unfathomable divine mystery,” the document argues.

    “Since God has never revoked his covenant with his people Israel, there cannot be different paths or approaches to God’s salvation,” it added, however.

    “The theory that there may be two different paths to salvation, the Jewish path without Christ and the path with the Christ, whom Christians believe is Jesus of Nazareth, would in fact endanger the foundations of Christian faith.”

    The theologians behind the document, including Cardinal Kurt Koch and Fr. Norbert Hofmann of the Vatican Commission, also spoke out against Christian missionary efforts to convert Jews, but at the same time said that Christians are called to share their faith with others.

    In his response, Brickner suggested that the document is an attempt to “pander” to Jewish community leaders.

    “How can the Vatican ignore the fact that the Great Commission of Jesus Christ mandates that his followers are to bring the gospel to all people? Are they merely pandering to some leaders in the Jewish community who applaud being off the radar for evangelization by Catholics?” he asked.

    “If so, they need to be reminded that they first received that gospel message from the lips of Jews who were for Jesus.”

    Jews for Jesus, which has branches in 13 countries and 25 cities, describes itself on its website as “the largest Jewish mission agency in the world and has, at its core, the goal of proclaiming the message that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and Savior of the world.”

    * * *

  5. The Fraud Continues

    by Christopher A. Ferrara
    December 15, 2015

    The document just issued by the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews (to which I provide no link for the reason explained below) is but another example of the ongoing fraud on the faithful that has been perpetrated by the Vatican apparatus over the past fifty years in the name of the Second Vatican Council. By this I mean the use of pseudo-doctrine to give the false appearance of a change in the actual doctrines of the Faith. Authentic Catholic doctrine can never change, of course, because the truth revealed by God and the doctrines proceeding from it can no more change than God could change His mind — or, for that matter, than 2 + 2 could become 5.

    Unlike other stealthy attempts to suggest a change in teaching where none is possible, however, this new document, entitled “The Gifts and Calling of God are irrevocable,” (“Gifts and Calling”) freely admits in its Preface that “The text is not a magisterial document or doctrinal teaching of the Catholic Church, but is a reflection prepared by the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews on current theological questions that have developed since the Second Vatican Council.”

    In other words, this “reflection” is utterly worthless by the authors’ own admission. It is not a teaching of the Catholic Church! So, why has it been published by the Vatican as if it were? I will tell you: to cause confusion about what the Church actually teaches concerning the Jewish people.

    In fact, the purpose of this document is to engender confusion even about the teaching of Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate, the brief conciliar declaration concerning non-Christian religions which devotes a mere 800 words to Judaism. Based on those 800 words, post-conciliar Modernist “theologians,” including those who clearly infest the Vatican apparatus today like termites in a wood frame house, have generated millions of words of pseudo-doctrine falsely proclaiming that the Old Covenant remains valid and subsisting for the Jews. From this lie it would follow that Jews have no need of conversion to Christ or baptism in order to be saved.

    As is the case with all the other documents of this pseudo-Magisterium, this one falsely depicts the teaching of Nostra Aetate, n. 4, which (for all its troublesome ambiguity) does at least state clearly that the Catholic Church is the new people of God, or the New Israel in more traditional terms. To quote Nostra Aetate: “Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures.”

    The Church has never taught that the Jews as a people are accursed and rejected, but neither has she ever taught — nor does Nostra Aetate teach — that the Old Covenant remains valid and subsisting for them. Yet the authors of “Gifts and Calling” falsely suggest that Nostra Aetate did so teach: “The Church is called the new people of God (cf. ‘Nostra aetate’, No.4) but not in the sense that the people of God of Israel has ceased to exist…. The Church does not replace the people of God of Israel, since as the community founded on Christ it represents in Him the fulfillment of the promises made to Israel.”

    First of all, nowhere does Nostra Aetate say that “the Church does not replace the people of God of Israel.” Only the “reflection” of the authors of “Gift and Calling” makes that claim, along with all the other literature in this pseudo-theological category. Indeed, the authors themselves admit that the idea that “the covenant that God made with his people Israel perdures and is never invalidated… cannot be explicitly read into “Nostra aetate” (No.4).” So where does this novel idea come from? As the authors assert: “This statement was instead first made with full clarity by Saint Pope John Paul II when he said during a meeting with Jewish representatives in Mainz on 17 November 1980 that the Old Covenant had never been revoked by God.”

    So, we are supposed to adopt an utter theological novelty, not supported even by Vatican II — i.e., that the Old Covenant remains in force — because of something John Paul II said to some Jewish people in Mainz in 1980? Is this a joke? Well, yes it is. It is also a theological fraud.

    Secondly, notice the double talk: the Church is the new people of God, but there is still “the people of God of Israel.” So, now we are supposed to believe — at least since 1980 — that there are two peoples of God: the Christian people of God, who follow Christ, and the Jewish people of God, who need not follow Christ. Even a well-catechized ten-year-old would recognize this claim as heretical.

    There is only one people of God, and that is the Church that Christ founded on His Jewish apostles, all of whom were converts to new religion He inaugurated in the New Covenant of His Blood, the perfection of the Old Covenant, which was to pass away. All men, including Jews, are called to belong to the New Covenant people of God. As Peter, the first Pope, declared to his fellow Jews at Jerusalem in the days following Pentecost:

    Therefore let all the house of Israel know most certainly, that God hath made both Lord and Christ, this same Jesus, whom you have crucified.
    Now when they had heard these things, they had compunction in their heart, and said to Peter, and to the rest of the apostles: What shall we do, men and brethren? But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call. And with very many other words did he testify and exhort them, saying: Save yourselves from this perverse generation. They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls. (Acts 2: 36-41)

    Ignoring all of Tradition beginning with Peter, however, the authors of “Gifts and Calling” blithely comment that today there is a “principled rejection of an institutional Jewish mission…” Really? On whose authority? On nobody’s authority. As the authors themselves admit, they are not presenting Catholic teaching. Rather, they are undermining that teaching — like everyone else who writes in this fictional genre.

    Finally, pay no attention to the hysterical press coverage of “Gifts and Calling,” such as John Allen’s breathless exclamation that “revolution is the new routine.” Nor should you pay any attention to the document itself. I examined this worthless piece of trash only so that you won’t have to. But then my journalistic beat is the current “diabolical disorientation” in the Church. Viewed from the Fatima perspective.

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