USCCB Clarifies Key Points From Reflections On Covenant And Mission Statement (2002)
WASHINGTON—A statement clarifying two points of Catholic teaching relative to the Jewish community was released June 18, 2009, at the spring meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). A Note on Ambiguities Contained in Covenant and Mission was jointly issued by the Committee on Doctrine and Pastoral Practice and the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. The statement can be found at http://www.usccb.org/bishops/covenant09.pdf.
“Our most important concern here is a pastoral one,” said Archbishop Wilton Gregory, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. “The 2002 document, Covenant and Mission, raised many questions among Catholics in the United States about how the Church relates to the Jewish community. Today’s statement helps to answer these questions clearly.”
Bishop William Lori, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine and Pastoral Practice, stated that there were two key points at issue.
“The USCCB reaffirms what the Holy See has stated repeatedly: that while the Catholic Church does not proselytize the Jewish people, neither does she fail to witness to them her faith in Christ, nor to welcome them to share in that same faith whenever appropriate.” Bishop Lori said. He added that current debates over the question of how Catholics understand the covenant with Moses in relation to Christ were equally important. The covenant with Moses, that continues to be adhered to by Jews today, is fulfilled, Christians believe, in Jesus.
“As followers of Jesus, we see his covenant as fulfilling God’s plan for the salvation of all peoples, both now and at the end of time,” Bishop Lori said.
Archbishop Gregory commended the on-going work of scholars and pastors in Catholic-Jewish dialogue. “Pope John Paul II once referred to Jews as ‘our elder brothers and sisters in faith’”, he said. “By continuing our study together, we hope to deepen our understanding of Jesus and our relationship with each other in God’s redemption of the world.”