U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: Don't evangelize Jews
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement Monday saying that Catholics should evangelize non-Christians—but not Jews. "The command of the Resurrected Jesus in Matthew 28:19 to make disciples 'of all nations' means that the Church must bear witness in the world to the Good News of Christ so as to prepare the world for the fullness of the kingdom of God," says Reflections on Covenant and Mission.
However, this evangelizing task no longer includes the wish to absorb the Jewish faith into Christianity and so end the distinctive witness of Jews to God in human history. Thus, while the Catholic Church regards the saving act of Christ as central to the process of human salvation for all, it also acknowledges that Jews already dwell in a saving covenant with God. The Catholic Church must always evangelize and will always witness to its faith in the presence of God's kingdom in Jesus Christ to Jews and to all other people.
Rabbis from the National Council of Synagogues (representing Reform and Conservative groups) also joined in the statement. "It should be obvious that any mission of Christians to the Jews is in direct conflict with the Jewish notion that the covenant itself is that mission," the document says. "The pious of all the nations of the world have a place in the world to come." (These comments come under "Jewish reflections," so it appears that the Catholic bishops didn't necessarily agree to this specific sentence. Nevertheless, it is part of the larger Reflections on Covenant and Mission statement.)
The document is just starting to receive media attention, and most analysis isn't very deep. The Associated Press ran a four-sentence summary, stating ...1
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