The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement on Thursday to clarify the Church's stance on how it relates to the Jewish community.
The statement was jointly issued at the spring meeting of the USCCB by the Committee on Doctrine and Pastoral Practice and the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs spoke of the pastoral concern at hand. “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,” he said.
“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,” said Bishop Lori, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine and Pastoral Practice.
Bishop Lori went on to state the importance of current debates over Catholic understanding of the covenant with Moses in relation to 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,” he said. Jews today still adhere to the covenant with Moses, which Christians believe to be fulfilled in Christ.
Archbishop Gregory called to mind Pope John Paul II’s reference to Jews as “our elder brothers and sisters in faith.” Applauding the efforts at furthering dialogue between Catholics and Jews, he added, “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.”