Today, we look at three short sections that detail the Relationship with Judaism and interreligious dialogue.
235. We gratefully recognize the bonds that connect us to the Jewish people, with which we are united by faith in the one God and his revealed Word in the Old Testament.(Nostra Aetate 4) They are our “elder brothers” in the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We are pained by the history of misunderstandings that they have suffered in our countries as well. There are now many common causes that demand greater collaboration and mutual respect.
This sets the scene: the acknowledgement that Judaism has handed down to Christians faith in the One God. The subtext: let the misunderstandings cease. And be worked out as we work together and share a respect for who we are before Almighty God.
236. By the breath of the Holy Spirit and other means known to God, Christ’s grace can reach all those whom He redeemed, beyond the ecclesial community, and in different ways.* Explaining and promoting this salvation already at work in the world is one of the tasks of the church with regard to the Lord’s words: “be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
*Cf. Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Congregation for the Evangelization of peoples, Dialogue and proclamation, 1991, 29.
There is much fretting over conversion, anti-Semitism, the meaning of having new “relations” in the family of God. Is it enough to regard God as the source of grace, often working unseen and unknown to us?
Pope John Paul II underscores the importance of dialogue:
237. Interreligious dialogue, particularly with the monotheistic religions, is based directly on the mission that Christ entrusted to us, and it calls for wise articulation between proclamation and dialogue as constitutive elements of evangelization.(Novo Millennio Ineunte 55)
This presumes, as many of us would hold, that evangelization consists more of conversation and one-way preaching, not so much.
With that attitude the Church, “universal sacrament of salvation,”(Lumen Gentium 1) reflects the light of Christ which “enlightens everyone” (Jn 1:9). The presence of the Church among non-Christian religions is comprised of effort, discernment, and testimony, supported by theological faith, hope and charity.*
*Cf. Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Congregation for the Evangelization of peoples, Dialogue and Proclamation, 1991, n.40.
If you want to check the referenced document, it is here on the Vatican site. It’s a longer read, but worthwhile, especially if you want to pick topic headings, as they are plainly given in the text.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.