Diocese of Rome
Italia 25/01/1983This document was published during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 25, 1983) by the Ecumenical Commission of the Diocese of Rome; its objective is to promote the advancement of ecumenism in the whole diocese.
The emphasis is put on different ways of developing an ecumenical mentality in the faithful. It is interesting to see that the diocesan Ecumenical Commission has judged it opportune to devote a whole section (nos. 137-143) to relations with the Jews, not only in order to bring Christians together by returning to their common source, but in the context of a search for a wider reconciliation which embraces the whole People of God, of both Old and New Testaments. It is this particular section which we produce here.
V. Relations with the Jews
137) The diocesan Ecumenical Commission has been mandated to promote contact and dialogue with the Jewish community of Rome. Ecumenical experience has shown that the search for Christian unity leads to a search for a wider reconciliation which embraces the whole People of God, of both Old and New Testaments.
138) From a doctrinal point of view, this dimension has already been emphasized by the Second Vatican Council which recalled the words of the Apostle Paul with regard to his own people: to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ (Rom. 9:4-5) the son of the virgin Mary. (Nostrae Aetate 4)
139) Moreover, the Council spoke of the spiritual ties which link the people of the New Covenant to the stock of Abraham and specified the various ways in which the Christian people is linked with the Jewish people. The Church of Christ recognizes herself as sharing a common belief in one God and the call of Abraham in faith, and she also relives the salvation mysteriously prefigured in the exodus of God's chosen people from the land of bondage. (Nostrae Aetate 4)
In fact the history of Judaism did not end with the destruction of Jerusalem, but rather went on to develop a religious tradition. And although we believe that the importance and meaning of that tradition were deeply affected by the coming of Christ, it is still nonetheless rich in religious values. (Guidelines and Suggestions for implementing Nostrae Aetate 4, III)
140) It also emphasized the common eschatological destiny of both Jews and Christians, even if seen from different points of view. (Nostrae Aetate 4)
The Jews wait for the Messiah as he who it to come; for Christians he has already come, he comes and he will come again in glory. This eschatological expectation, motivated in different ways, is a gift from God, which creates for both Jews and Christians a common tension and a special way of being and acting in the day,to-day commitment to history. Consequently the awaited Messiah is not only the subject of divergent opinions, but is also the one who in some way unites both together in a common expectation.
141) Furthermore, the Diocese of Rome recognizes alongside this general bond the particular and more immediate link it has with the Jewish community in Rome. The Church in Rome was actually founded by the Apostles Peter and Paul, who were of Jewish stock. Moreover, there is in Rome two thousand years of history shared by both Jews and Christians, history which — while unhappily interwoven with too many negative events — has nevertheless created in our diocese a social and cultural pattern which has, and must have in the fu`ure, repercussions in the religious context.
142) With these brief directives the Diocese of Rome hopes to encourage and promote relations inspired by what has been written here.
a) In the first place, the necessary condition for dialogue is to strive to learn by what essential traits the Jews define themselves in the light of their own religious experience. (Guidelines and Suggestions... I)
b) Particular attention must be paid to the content and language used in different pastoral situations; preaching, catechesis, liturgy, teaching of religion, publication etc., giving special care to the celebration of Holy Week, in order to avoid both explicit and implicit antisemitism and to rediscover and give value in the liturgy to our Jewish roots.
c) To develop any initiatives (meetings, conferences, publications etc.) likely to make the faith and religious traditions of the Jews better known, both in their historical development and the way in which they are lived today.
d) Reading the Old Testament together is particularly recommended, so that the light shed by Jewish tradition in its differents modes (normative, narrative and mystical) may help to develop an approach to the sacred text which can be especially helpful in plumbing the depths of the Word of God.
e) Once mutual respect has been established, to initiate and encourage knowledge of and familiarity with both synagogue and family worship, in which are to be found the roots of our own Christian liturgy.
f) To encourage a common commitment to a more humane and brotherly lifestyle in the city of Rome, upholding the dignity of man, made in the divine image and likeness... the right to life... the values of the family... human rights... religious liberty... young people in trouble... the fight against drugs... (Discourse by the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Dr. Elio Toaff, on the occasion of a papal visit to the parish of S. Carlo ai Catinari)
g) To propose as an objective collaboration between the Jewish community and the parish community.
143) The question of marriage between a Jew and a Catholic is dealt with in nos. 135 and 136.1
Pastoral action need not present a difficulty if in such marriages the human and religious values common to both Judaism and Christianity are brought out and emphasised in the manner suggested in 135 and 136, so that the conscience and liberty of both partners is respected.
1 Marriage between a Catholic and a non-baptised person.
135) For reasons already given, marriages between a Catholic and a non-baptised person are to be found in our diocese. Where there is just cause, the competent office of the Roman Vicariate can dispense from the diriment impediment. This dispensation is necessary for the validity of the marriage.
136) These marriages require a different kind of pastoral care. The unity of the couple must be based on a search for human and religious values other than Christian ones; the Catholic partner will be invited to deepen his or her own faith along the lines laid down by Saint Paul: the non-believing husband will be sanctified by his wife, and the non-believing wife will be sanctified by her believing husband (I Cor. 4:14).
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