Jews can secure eternal salvation without converting to Christianity, senior Catholic theologians said in a report published Thursday, in the latest refinement of their stance on a vexed theological issue.
Addressing a question that has long blighted relations between the two faiths, the report also unequivocally stated that the Catholic Church should not actively seek to convert Jews to Christianity, and called for the church to work to eliminate anti-Semitism.
The document, issued by the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, not only effectively affirmed that Jews can be saved independently of Jesus, but described Christianity’s relationship with Jews as a shared patrimony.
“Although Jews cannot believe in Jesus Christ as the universal redeemer, they have a part in salvation, because the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable,” the report concluded, according to a summary released to the media.
The belief that the only way to salvation is through belief in Jesus Christ is a fundamental tenet of every strand of Christianity.
But it has also been blamed for creating an evangelical tendency responsible for some of the darkest periods in the history of religion, notably the anti-Muslim crusades of the Middle Ages and centuries of Christian anti-Semitism.
The latest report reiterates that it is only thanks to Jesus’s death and resurrection that all people have the chance of salvation, but accepts that Jews can benefit from this without believing in him.
The authors appear to acknowledge that they are effectively squaring a theological circle.
How Jews being saved while not believing in Christ “can be possible remains an unfathomable mystery in the salvific plan of God,” they say.
The report noted that Christian evangelism to Jews was particularly sensitive issue because it involves the “very existence of the Jewish people.”
“The Church is therefore obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views,” it said.You can read the rest of the article here.
Now to address the first paragraph of your comment. Many of us need to be catechized because not all of us know what the Catholic Church teaches. Furthermore, there are many Catholics who see nothing wrong with homosexuality, same sex marriage, pre-marital sex, abortion, and other issues that are simply NOT Catholic. So yes, even the ordinary Catholics who go to regular Sunday Mass and who see nothing wrong with homosexuality, same-sex marriage, pre-marital sex, abortion, etc. do need to be catechize. Yes, the ordinary Catholics who shack up with their boyfriends and girlfriends and practice birth control methods need to be catechized.
|Pope Francis prays at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem's Old City on May 26, 2014.|