So… what is the problem with the “Reflections” thingie
A very sharp reader writes a persuasive case for the real problems with the Reflections document:
The most serious problem in the document lies, not in some proposed limitation on Christ’s universality (though many folks will read it that way because of its studied ambiguities), but rather in the document’s misguided missiology (which means, of course, an error in ecclesiology.) The document has a defective theology of the Church and its mission that blatantly contradicts Scripture, Tradition, and common sense. It’s not just offering a proposal for the best (that is, least offensive, most effective) strategy of bringing Jewish people to Christ; it’s saying that evangelizing them is “theologically inappropriate” (emphasis added). That’s a different matter altogether, and that’s not at all what Vatican II (Ad Gentes and Nostra Aetate) were saying.
Actually, there was recently issued a related, and similarly problematic, statement from Ratzinger about how it would not be wrong for a contemporary Jew to be still waiting for the Messiah to come. But I haven’t read the original of that yet; I’m still looking for it before I can think address it fairly.
Okay. I can see this as an issue for further study. I am skeptical about Ratzinger’s highly nuanced statement being truly problematic (I’d have to look at it, but he’s usually extremely careful.)
The consoling thing about all this is that the American bishops chose to do this *after* they had squandered their ability to be taken seriously. For the vast majority of people it’s just a bit of bureaucratic blather from the people that brought you meditations on farm subsidies.
Historical perspective is helpful for me right now. There was a time when, as St. Jerome says, the whole world woke and groaned to find itself Arian, a vastly more serious problem than some committee issuing a problematic “reflection”. At times in the Church’s history, huge numbers of bishops (a lot more than were involved in this document) have plumped for some stupid theological position and God preserved the Church and brought it back to an even keel. He will do it again. It’s precisely what infallibility is for, to protect us from the stupidity of the Church’s members.