Read this brief post from Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed. (Taken down without explanation after I posted.) Then read the full text of the Vatican’s statement. (It’s a little verbose, which is the nature of rationalization).
The position paper is from a Vatican committee and not signed by the Pope himself. But its issuance through official Vatican channels makes it clearly a statement of the Pope’s own position.
Among other things, the document says (emphasis mine),
In spite of the historical breach and the painful conflicts arising from it, the Church remains conscious of its enduring continuity with Israel. Judaism is not to be considered simply as another religion; the Jews are instead our “elder brothers” (Saint Pope John Paul II), our “fathers in faith” (Benedict XVI). …
From the Christian confession that there can be only one path to salvation, however, it does not in any way follow that the Jews are excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God. …
That the Jews are participants in God’s salvation is theologically unquestionable, but how that can be possible without confessing Christ explicitly, is and remains an unfathomable divine mystery. …
In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews. While there is a principled rejection of an institutional Jewish mission, Christians are nonetheless called to bear witness to their faith in Jesus Christ also to Jews, although they should do so in a humble and sensitive manner, acknowledging that Jews are bearers of God’s Word, and particularly in view of the great tragedy of the Shoah [Holocaust].
I agree with much of what is written in the new position paper, until it declares that Jews are saved without faith in Jesus and declares it Catholic Church policy to have no mission activity toward Jews. This makes nonsense of Peter and Paul preaching salvation to the Jews in Acts and of Rom 9 – 11.
(Acts 13:26, 46 ESV) 26 [Paul said,] “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those [Gentiles] among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation.” … 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you [Jews]. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.
(Rom. 11:19-24 ESV) 19 Then you [Gentiles] will say, “[Jewish] Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They [the Jews] were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches [that is, the Jews], neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those [Jews] who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they [that is, the Jews], if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you [Gentiles] were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree [faithful Israel], how much more will these, the natural branches [unbelieving Jews], be grafted back into their own olive tree.
If you love your Jewish friends and neighbors, you’ll tell them about Jesus and urge them to follow the Messiah.
It’s a sad day. The Jews are once again being victimized by the Christians in pursuit of — what? political correctness?