The word of God in the life and mission of the church - Lineamenta

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Synod of bishops - XII ordinary general assembly

Città del Vaticano       25/03/2007

The Word of God: A Light for Interreligious Dialogue
28. Though always present in the Church in the course of her history, interreligious dialogue today poses new demands and unprecedented tasks. Theological research must thoroughly examine its challenges and assess its pastoral consequences. Keeping in mind the teachings of the Church’s Magisterium stated thus far on the subject,124 reflection and evaluation in the matter require consideration of the following points:

a - With the Jewish people
29. Special attention is given to the Jewish people. Christ and the Jews are Sons of Abraham, grounded in the same Covenant, because God, who is always faithful to his promises, has not revoked the first covenant (cf. Rm 9-11). Pope John Paul II maintains: “This people was gathered together and led by God, the Creator of heaven and earth. Thus, its existence is not a mere fact of nature or culture, in the sense that through culture man displays the resources of his own nature. It is a supernatural fact. This people perseveres in spite of everything, because they are the people of the Covenant, and despite human infidelities, the Lord is faithful to his Covenant.”125 They share a great part of the canonical books of the Bible, called the Old Testament by Christians. In this matter, the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s document, The Jewish People and Its Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible,126 provides a reflection on the close association of the two in faith, which is equally mentioned in Dei Verbum.127 In this regard, two aspects deserve special consideration: the original character of the Jewish understanding of the Bible and an effort to overcome every form of anti-Semitism.

5. The Word of God in Dialogue with the Jewish People
Is priority given to dialogue with the Jewish people? What points of encounter on the Bible might prove beneficial? Are biblical texts used to ferment attitudes of anti-Semitism?

Cf. Conc. Œcum. Vat. II, Decretum de activitate missionali Ecclesiæ Ad Gentes 22; Declaratio de Ecclesiæ habitudine ad Religiones non-Christianas Nostra Aetate, 2-4.; Congregatio Pro Doctrina Fidei, Dominus Iesus, 20-22: AAS 92 (2000), 761-764.
125 Ioannes Paulus II, To Participants at the Symposium, The Roots of Anti-Judaism in the Christian Milleu (31 October 1997), in L’Osservator Romano: Weekly Edition in English, 5 November 1997, p. 1.
126 Pontificical Biblical Commission, The Jewish People and Their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible (24 May 2001), Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City, 2001.
127 Cf. Conc. Œum. Vat. II, Const. dogmatica de Divina Revelatione Dei Verbum, 14-16.

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