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Pope says Christians should not try to convert Jews March 10, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, Ecumenism, General Catholic, silliness, Society.

Wow.  Sorry for the Distorter link, it’s the only place I’ve seen this story, so far:

After excerpts from the second volume of the pope’s book on Jesus made the rounds last week, featuring his rejection of the idea that “the Jews” killed Christ, the full text adds another point with important implications for Christian/Jewish relations — in effect, that Christianity “must not concern herself with the conversion of the Jews.”

The comment comes in Benedict XVI’s book Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week, the full text of which was released today.

While the pope does not affirm a theory propounded by some theologians holding that the Jews will be saved independently of Christ, experts say, he does clearly suggest the church should not be targeting Jews for conversion efforts.“Israel is in the hands of God, who will save it ‘as a whole’ at the proper time, when the number of Gentiles is full,” the pope writes. The historical duration of this “proper time,” Benedict says, cannot be calculated.

In terms of the proper Christian attitude in the meantime, Benedict approvingly quotes Cistercian abbess and Biblical writer Hildegard Brem: “The church must not concern herself with the conversion of the Jews, since she must wait for the time fixed for this by God.”

Although Benedict XVI stipulated in the first volume of his book that he writes as a private theologian rather than authoritatively as head of the Catholic church, his comments inevitably carry weight as indications of the way Benedict is likely to approach these questions as pope………..

As a way of a rebuttal, the article by John Allen quotes Cardinal Dulles:

Almost ten years ago, the late Cardinal Avery Dulles was critical of a joint statement from the National Council of Synagogues and the Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference to the effect that “targeting Jews for conversion to Christianity” is “no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church.”

Dulles replied that the church cannot curtail the scope of the gospel without betraying itself: “Once we grant that there are some persons for whom it is not important to acknowledge Christ, to be baptized and to receive the sacraments, we raise questions about our own religious life,” he wrote.

Subsequently, the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine issued a clarification in 2009 that most experts regarded as largely upholding the position taken by Dulles. Its conclusion was, “The fulfillment of the covenants, indeed, of all God’s promises to Israel, is found only in Jesus Christ.”

This is the view I have held, that ALL people must hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, crucified for our salvation and reborn, constantly offering to the Father the ONLY Sacrifice acceptable to Him for atonement for our sins and as the vehicle of Grace for our salvation.   The Pope may only be trying to say that the Church should not institute a program specifically targeting the conversion of Jews (although, I don’t know why the Church should not do this, unless Jesus Christ is only intended for some people), but that’s frankly a stretch.  It certainly runs counter to what my sensus fidei tells me, and what I have read throughout Scripture and Tradition. 

So, Mrs. Baker, what do you make of this?   This Pope is lately making me do mental gymnastics.

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