Relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish People

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Synod Assembly to all the Catholic Communities of the Diocese of Lyons

Francia       10/1993

The Church of Lyons wishes to take the opportunity of the Synod to proclaim its concern for openness and justice, in particular by rejecting all forms of exclusivism. This concern is already in accordance with the vocation of the Church today.

Openness to others is based on openness to the "Totally Other", God our Father, who asks us to accept his Word in Jesus Christ - a word delivered to us in the tradition lived by the Jewish People. In the Gospel Jesus tells us that he has come "not to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill them" (Mt. 5:17).

Christians follow the Jews in bearing witness to the One God, to God's Covenant and fidelity. The election and the vocation of the Jewish people remain: "the gifts of God are irrevocable" (Roms. 11:29).

As a people, the Jews did not recognise Jesus, whom we believe to be the Christ, the Son of God, as the long-proclaimed and expected Messiah. This fact in no way diminishes the part played by them in the realisation of God's plan at the very centre of our history. With the Jewish People we await the final and definitive fulfilment of all things when "God will be all in all" (I Cor. 15:28).

The Declaration Nostra Aetate of the Second Vatican Council states:

"As this Sacred Synod searches into the mystery of the Church it remembers the bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham's stock" (1965)

It follows that by studying its own mystery and returning to the origins of its life, the Church encounters the Jewish people and respects their dignity and liberty.

"When we meet Jesus Christ we meet Judaism" (John Paul II 1982). During the historic meeting in the synagogue of Rome the Pope clearly stated: "The Jewish faith is intrinsic to us, not extrinsic. We have, in consequence, a relationship with Judaism unlike that with any other religion. You are our elder brothers" (1986).

We cannot participate in God's plan if we fail to accept the living reality of the Jewish people alive today. For us this acceptance is an essential step, at once historical, theological and spiritual.

During the past our Church has indeed sinned against the Jewish people. As Catholics we bear the burden of our history in the course of which we have all too often tried to exclude our Jewish brethren from the Election which is theirs by right. "The teaching of contempt" denounced by Jules Isaac has amassed an untold weight of hatred, suffering and death, culminating in the ghastly paroxysm of the Nazi extermination program.

Christians and Jews, Church and Synagogue, we are invited by the One Lord in the same history of salvation. Is it not high time that we realised this and began to promote a "correct presentation of Jews and Judaism in the preaching and catechesis of the Catholic Church"? (Title of the Vatican Notes of 1985, approved by John Paul II).

"Les Actes du Synode" No. 18, 22 Oct. 93
(Special number of the official bulletin of the Diocese of Lyon)

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Inserito 01/01/1970