WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 20, 2002 (Zenit.org).- A recent document that assails campaigns aimed at converting Jews to Christianity does not represent a formal position of the U.S. bishops’ conference, says Cardinal William Keeler.
Nor does “Reflections on Covenant and Mission” represent a formal position taken by the bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (BCEIA), said the cardinal, who is archbishop of Baltimore and the U.S. bishops’ moderator for Catholic-Jewish relations.
The document, made public Aug. 12, represents the state of thought among the participants of a years-long dialogue between the Church and the Jewish community in the United States, the cardinal observed.
The Catholic portion of the “Reflections” says that “campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church.”
The document was made public in order to encourage serious reflection on these matters by American Jews and Catholics, the cardinal said.
Cardinal Keeler said there has been growing respect within the Catholic community for the Jewish tradition and the lasting covenant which God made with them. At the same time, he said, the faithful should be open to the action of God’s grace to bring people to accept the fullness of the means of salvation which are found in the Church.
Participants in the ongoing consultation are delegates of the BCEIA and the National Council of Synagogues (NCS) which represents the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
The document derives from a meeting which the BCEIA-NCS Consultation held in New York last March. The full text is at www.nccbuscc.org/comm/archives/2002/02-154.htm#reflections.