But I still want to approach this subject and I think we can discuss it without complaining or degrading anyone. Further I'd like my readers help in understanding the issue. Here's what happened.
The other night I was perusing the USCCB website and found this. Those are the USCCB Guidelines for Jewish Catholic Relations. I am used to seeing various inter-religious dialogue documents but one paragraph rose the hairs on the back of my neck and made it difficult to sleep.
Proselytism, which does not respect human freedom, is carefully to be avoided. While the Christian, through the faith life of word and deed, will always witness to Jesus as the risen Christ, the dialogue is concerned with the permanent vocation of the Jews as God's people, the enduring values that Judaism shares with Christianity and that, together, the Church and the Jewish people are called upon to witness to the whole world.
I cannot rectify this paragraph with the Christian religion. I cannot rectify this passage with Scripture. In fact, I can't rectify this with the new Catechism. First, lets take the Christian Religion.
I understand the concept of Invincible Ignorance. There are a lot of traditionalists out there who are probably ignorant of invincible ignorance but I am not one of them. It is hard to say who is and who does not qualify for this distinction but I would venture to guess 99% of those in the Jewish faith are probably not invincibly ignorant. Either Jesus is God, or he is not. If he is and salvation achieved through him then why would we not evangelize the Chosen People of God who have rejected him? It seems silly to me at first but not when you consider the martyrs. Not when you consider St. Stephen or Christ Himself. The Catechism says this regarding the Jewish people:
The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, "the first to hear the Word of God."The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews "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"; "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."
I read this and it says nothing about salvation whatsoever. It doesn't say the Jews are saved as long as they remain good Jewish faithful. It also doesn't mention the permanent vocation of the Jewish people is to reject Christ here on earth if they have the chance not to. A lot of my traditionalist friends think it says that. A lot of liberal Catholics preach is says that. It doesn't. His Chosen People need Christ to be saved too right? Well, the USCCB document seems to downplay this and I can't understand why.
Evangelizing of the Jewish people is called for by Our Lord in Scripture. For example here is a section from Acts chapter 18:
1 After these things, departing from Athens, he came to Corinth. 2 And finding a certain Jew, named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with Priscilla his wife, (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome,) he came to them. 3 And because he was of the same trade, he remained with them, and wrought; (now they were tentmakers by trade.) 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, bringing in the name of the Lord Jesus; and he persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. 5 And when Silas and Timothy were come from Macedonia, Paul was earnest in preaching, testifying to the Jews, that Jesus is the Christ.
6 But they gainsaying and blaspheming, he shook his garments, and said to them: Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. 7 And departing thence, he entered into the house of a certain man, named Titus Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house was adjoining to the synagogue. 8 And Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized. 9 And the Lord said to Paul in the nights, by a vision: Do not fear, but speak; and hold not thy peace, 10 Because I am with thee: and no man shall set upon thee, to hurt thee; for I have much people in this city.
I don't take that to be anti-Semitic behavior. Its evangelizing. Further, it seems that by the USCCB condemning the evangelizing of the Jews they are almost repudiating our Own Lord. Should He not have fed the 5 thousand? Because feeding people and preaching at the same time is proselytizing?
As Holy Scripture testifies, Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her visitation,(9) nor did the Jews in large number, accept the Gospel; indeed not a few opposed its spreading.(10) Nevertheless, God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues-such is the witness of the Apostle.(-Nostra Aetate)
I actually enjoyed my re-reading of Nostra Aetate. I found it, when read in light of the Church's tradition and most specifically the Council of Trent, to be even kind of edifying. But it says nothing anywhere in the document that somehow Jewish people who outright reject Christ are saved because they are Jewish. This also isn't evident anywhere in the Old Testament, where we know by example that they did not always please him and perished in abundance.
I am seriously wont for understanding in the matter. I desire only to be a faithful son of the Church. However, it appears the USCCB guidelines are in outright error on this issue of proselytism. In the paragraph I cited above from the Guidelines, it mentions that proselytism does not respect human freedom. Yet, we have people knock on our door all the time doing that very thing and here I sit, free as can be, still a Catholic. I fear by so much focus on "ecumenism" we are placing those outside the Church in grave peril of losing their souls. We get together and have conferences and pray together. We discuss our theological agreements and teach each other about our religions to help understand each other better. All that makes the others quite less than invincibly ignorant.
So, have I gone wrong here? I hope some more experienced Catholics can help me out on the matter.