The Vatican calls on Christians to walk with our Jewish brothers and sisters

For Catholics who came of age after the Second Vatican Council it can be difficult to appreciate the epochal shift in Catholic-Jewish relations represented by the council’s “Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions” (“Nostra Aetate”). A statement released by the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews on Dec. 10 not only recalls and clarifies these significant changes in the church’s teaching but also highlights how far the delicate relationship between Christianity and Judaism has come in the 50 years since the council.

The new document, “The Gifts and the Calling of God Are Irrevocable,” invites readers to study and reflect on the profound but ultimately mysterious interdependence of God’s covenant with Israel and the Church of Christ. Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, told America that he found two aspects of the statement to be exceptional. First, it formally declares that “the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed toward Jews.” Second, the document echoes previous statements in denouncing anti-Semitism in “even the slightest perceptible forms,” but it is the first to call for the church and the Jewish people to combat together such discrimination and other injustices in concrete ways.

Advertisement

On Jan. 17, Italy’s annual day for Christian-Jewish dialogue, Pope Francis will demonstrate his and the church’s deep affection for the Jewish people by visiting the Great Synagogue in Rome. The Vatican statement calls on all Christians to follow the pope’s lead in walking with our Jewish brothers and sisters, reminding readers that texts “cannot replace personal encounters and face-to-face dialogues.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
William Rydberg
2 years 9 months ago
What's the likelihood of a Synod defining the Church Official Teaching on Supercessionism, anybody know?
Henry George
2 years 9 months ago
I am a little unclear on this whole issue. Christ tells us in the New Testament to: "Go and Preach the Gospel unto the ends of the Earth. likewise we are taught: "If you wish to be saved you must repent and be baptised in the name of Christ Jesus.' Is the Catholic Church going to teach us that we have no obligation to preach/witness the Gospel to those of Jewish heritage ?

Advertisement

The latest from america

 10.17.2018 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago before a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
“We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 20, 2018
Catherine Pakaluk, who currently teaches at the Catholic University of America and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, describes her tweet to Mr. Macron as “spirited” and “playful.”
Emma Winters October 19, 2018
A new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security could make it much more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards in the United States. But even before its implementation, the proposal has led immigrants to avoid receiving public benefits.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 19, 2018
 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then nuncio to the United States, and then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, are seen in a combination photo during the beatification Mass of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., Oct. 4, 2014. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In this third letter Archbishop Viganò no longer insists, as he did so forcefully in his first letter, that the restrictions that he claimed Benedict XVI had imposed on Archbishop McCarrick—one he alleges that Pope Francis later lifted—can be understood as “sanctions.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 19, 2018