Pope emeritus clarifies relationship between Jews and Christians

The relationship between Jews and Christians is the subject of a correction Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has published in theological magazine “Communio.”

He was responding to a newspaper article alleging he favoured missionising the Jews and called Jewish-Christian dialogue into question.

Benedict’s correction affirms Christians are called to a “dialogue” with the Jews rather than a “mission,” as theologian Michael Böhnke claimed in German theological journal “Herder Korrespondenz.”

He also explains Judaism and Christianity are “two ways of interpreting the Scriptures.”

He says for Christians, the promises made to Israel are the hope of the Church, and “those who abide by it are in no way questioning the foundations of the Jewish-Christian dialogue.”

Böhnke had argued that Benedict XVI, in an article for the theological journal Communio, had demonstrated a problematic understanding of Judaism and had ignored the suffering Christians had inflicted upon Jews.”

Benedict says Böhnke’s accusation is “grotesque nonsense and has nothing to do with what I said about it. I therefore reject his article as a completely false insinuation.”

Regarding the Church’s “mission” to the Jews, Benedict says “A mission to the Jews is not foreseen and not necessary.”

Benedict explains that while it is true Christ gave His disciples a mission to all peoples and all cultures, “the missionary mandate is universal – with one exception:

“A mission to the Jews was not foreseen and not necessary because they alone, among all peoples, knew the ‘unknown God’.”

Benedict’s explanation continues, saying for Israel, the disciples’ responsibility was not a mission, but a dialogue about whether Jesus of Nazareth was “the Son of God, the Logos,” for whom, according to the promises made to His people, Israel, and the whole world without knowing it, was waiting.

This is “the duty given us at this time,” Benedict says.



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