One of my reader’s points out these quotes from the Reflections document:
“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.”
“Sincere individual converts from any tradition or people, including the Jewish people, will be welcomed and accepted.”
Okay. Work with me here, you guys who are telling me the Church is abandoning its mission in this document. What again is the problem? I’m asking sincerely. The document affirms that Jesus is the savior of all (whether they realize it or not). So it’s not proposing that Jews don’t need the salvation of Christ, it’s merely saying they can encounter him by fidelity to the covenant (since the covenant is from God and is, according to Roman 11 and Nostra Aetate, not abrogated). It affirms in the statement above that the Church will “always” witness to Jews. So it doesn’t seem to be abandoning its mission either. I’m willing to hear the case that its missiology is all messed up. But so far I’m not seeing it. Help me out here. Right now it looks to me like the Church basically says much the same sort of thing that it said with respect to other Christian traditions: they participate, in various ways and degrees, in the revelation of God (the fullness of which is in the Catholic Church) and, by faithful adherence to that revelation, they can enter into relationship with God. The old covenant is also a true revelation of God which can be transcended (by baptism and entry into the new covenant) but it cannot be broken. So just as I don’t “evangelize” Evangelicals (since they are already participants in the revelation) but still can call them to full participation in the life, teaching and worship of the Church which is present in the Catholic communion, so Jews (who are also participants in the revelation) should not be “converted” (as though they were not already participants in the revelation as, for instance, an animist is not) but I can still speak of my faith with them (and they with me) as a fellow participants in the revelation. Just as, with Evangelicals, I believe the Catholic faith completes and perfects what is found there, so I think the same with Judaism. Catholic faith denies nothing that Judaism affirms. Karl Stern, an orthodox Jewish convert noted the same thing.
Anyway, I’m having a hard time seeing the heinousness of this document again. I hope my reader whom I quote below can help me see the problem with the missiology better, if there is one.