‘The Jews are beloved of God’

‘The Jews are beloved of God’ December 29, 2019

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

I wanted to break my silence today, to post something following the horrific attacks in my own backyard, close to where I live.

Let us hold all those impacted by this horror close to our hearts in prayer.

These words were spoken by St. John Paul II, during a visit to Rome’s synagogue in 1986:

Once again, through myself, the Church, in the words of the well-known Declaration Nostra Aetate (No. 4), “deplores the hatred, persecutions, and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at any time and by anyone”; I repeat: “by anyone.”

We wish to deepen dialogue in loyalty and friendship, in respect for one another’s intimate convictions, taking as a fundamental basis the elements of the Revelation which we have in common, as a “great spiritual patrimony” (cf. Nostra Aetate No. 4).

We are all aware that, among the riches of this paragraph No. 4 of Nostra Aetate, three points are especially relevant. I would like to underline them here, before you, in this truly unique circumstance.

The first is that the Church of Christ discovers her “bond” with Judaism by “searching into her own mystery”, (cf. Nostra Aetate, ibid.). The Jewish religion is not “extrinsic” to us, but in a certain way is “intrinsic” to our own religion. With Judaism therefore we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers and, in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.

The second point noted by the Council is that no ancestral or collective blame can be imputed to the Jews as a people for “what happened in Christ’s passion” (cf. Nostra Aetate, ibid.). Not indiscriminately to the Jews of that time, nor to those who came afterwards, not to those of today. So any alleged theological justification for discriminatory measures or, worse still, for acts of persecution is unfounded. The Lord will judge each one “according to his own works”, Jews and Christians alike (cf. Rom 2,6).

The third point that I would like to emphasize in the Council’s Declaration is a consequence of the second. Notwithstanding the Church’s awareness of her own identity, it is not lawful to say that the Jews are “repudiated or cursed”, as if this were taught or could be deduced from the Sacred Scriptures of the Old or the New Testament (cf. Nostra Aetate, ibid). Indeed, the Council has already said in this same text of Nostra Aetate, and also in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium (No. 16), referring to Saint Paul in the Letter to the Romans (11,28-29), that the Jews are beloved of God, who has called them with an irrevocable calling.

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