'Catholics should not try to convert Jews' says Vatican

Catholics should not try to convert Jews instead should side with them in struggle against anti-Semitism Vatican says

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Catholics should not try to convert Jews and should work with them to fight anti-Semitism, the Vatican said on Thursday

Updated Dec 11, 2015

The Vatican has said in a major new document that Catholics should fight against anti-Semitism in cooperation with the Jewish community, pulling the Church further away from uneasy inter-religious relations of the past.

The document from the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations with Jews said, Christianity and Judaism are associated and God never revoked his covenant with the Jewish faith.

"The Church is therefore obliged to view evangelisation to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and worldviews," the document said.

Catholics should be sensitive towards the importance of the Shoah, the Hebrew word for the Holocaust, and dedicated "to do all that is possible with our Jewish friends to repel anti-Semitic tendencies."

"A Christian can never be an anti-Semite, especially because of the Jewish roots of Christianity," it said.

The document corresponds with the 50th anniversary of a revolutionary Vatican statement abandoning the term used for collective Jewish guilt for Jesus' death, launching a theological dialogue to which traditionalists have objected.

"In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews," said the document.

"Principled rejection of an institutional Jewish mission."

Until about 1960, prayers at Catholic Masses on Good Friday.

Calls for their conversion was eliminated from general use after the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council started to refer to a new missal, or prayer book used during Masses.

However, the Society of Saint Pius X, whose members reject the reforms of the Second Vatican Council later used a prayer which was allowed to stay in old-style Latin Mass, sometimes called the Tridentine Rite.

Former Pope, Benedict, in 2008,  arranged the prayer used by the traditionalists to remove the language Jewish groups found offensive, such as "the blindness of that people".

Anti-Semitism  is the term that includes prejudice , hatred of, or discrimination against Jews as an ethnic, religious, or racial group and is widely considered to be a form of racism.

While the Christian world intends to launch a renewed approach for the betterment of relations between two religions and to eliminate anti-Semitic discourse in Christian doctrine, Islamophobia and anti-Muslim approach is on the rise in Christian world.

The US republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump called on Monday for the banning of all Muslims from entering the United States while ex-Australia PM Abbott said on Wednesday “West should proclaim superiority over Islam.”

Israel, have also frequently been criticized by the international community for pursuing a racial and religious discrimination against Palestinian Muslims in the occupied territory.

Although the major issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are unrelated to religion and are actually questions of international law and human rights, religious fanaticism plays a role in perpetuating the conflict.

Jewish chauvinism and fundamentalism in the occupied lands present significant challenges for Palestinians Muslims.

TRTWorld and agencies