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No 'historic agreement'

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | May 15, 2009

 During the Pope's visit to Jerusalem, the Askenazic Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger announced to reporters that, in answer to his (the rabbi's) request, he (the Pope) had promised that the Catholic Church would "cease all missionary activity among Jews." This, the rabbi told reporters, was a "historic agreement."

We don't know exactly what the Pope said, in his private conversation with Rabbi Metzger. The Vatican's account of their meeting mentions nothing about this topic. But two things should be clear:

  1. The Catholic Church does not make a "historic agreement" on the basis of a private conversation. If and when there is a new understanding of the Church's relationship with the Jewish people, it will be made clear in a magisterial document. Until that happens, we can safely be guided by the teaching of Nostra Aetate
  2. The Church cannot cease missionary activity-- anywhere, any time, among any people-- without violating the Lord's command to "make disciples of all nations.



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