Vatican states Church doesn’t formally try to convert Jews

A new Vatican document has affirmed that the Catholic Church does not support any institutional mission to convert Jews.

Marking 50 years of Catholic-Jewish dialogue since Vatican II, the Pontifical Council for Religious Relations with Jews has published “The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable”.

The document states that Catholics are called to witness to their faith in Jesus before all people, including Jews.

But Christianity and Judaism are intertwined and God never annulled his covenant with the Jewish people, stated the document.

“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,” it said.

“In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews.”

The document explicitly states that it is not a “doctrinal teaching of the Catholic Church”, but a reflection.

Dr David Kessler, director of the Woolf Institute for the study of inter-religious relations in Cambridge, said it was the first time a repudiation of active conversion of Jews had been so clearly stated in a Vatican document.

How God will save the Jews if they do not explicitly believe in Christ is “an unfathomable divine mystery”, the document states.

The new document states “there can only be one single covenant history of God with humanity”.

At the same time, however, the document says God’s covenant with humanity developed over time: it was first forged with Abraham, then the law was given to Moses, then new promises were given to Noah.

“Each of these covenants incorporates the previous covenant and interprets it in a new way,” the document states

“That is also true for the New Covenant, which for Christians is the final eternal covenant and, therefore, the definitive interpretation of what was promised by the prophets.”


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