Last week the Vatican announced Catholics should not try to convert Jews (see the article far below). This announcement ties in with the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate (In our Time) declaration, which conceded there was a certain amount of truth in all religious faiths and that it was possible for members of all other works-righteousness creeds to earn their salvation. Nostra Aetate took an especially conciliatory tone towards Jews. See my earlier post here.
No one should be surprised by last week’s statement. The current pope says even atheists can merit Heaven if they are “good” so why would Catholics even think about converting Jews? Truth be told, efforts to convert Jews to Catholicism were probably next to nil anyway. The Catholic church can’t even convince its own membership to obey its obligatory rules let alone converting Jews (only 24% of American Catholics attend weekly mass and only 12% go to confession at least once a year).
In contrast to works-righteous Catholicism, God’s Word says no one is “good,” which is why God the Son, Jesus Christ, came into this world and died for our sins. All those who accept Him as Savior will have their sins forgiven and will be given the gift of eternal life.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23
The Catholic church claims to be the “one true church” guided by the Holy Spirit through the infallible papal successors of Peter the apostle. But this curious ex-Catholic wonders about the following:
- For over one-thousand years the Catholic church attempted to forcibly “convert” Jews. Jews who resisted baptism in various Catholic city-states and countries were often either expelled or killed. Was the Holy Spirit guiding the church in this endeavor? Was the Holy Spirit guiding devout Catholics when they herded Jews into ghettos or instigated pogroms? Was the Holy Spirit guiding church inquisitors when they tortured suspected crypto-Jews?
- Readers of the New Testament know Peter, Paul, and the rest of the early church ceaselessly tried to reach both Jews and Gentiles with the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. So what do Catholics think when the pope implies Peter, Paul, and the rest of the early church had it all wrong by declaring there is no need to try to convert Jews?!?! Were Peter, Paul, and the other apostles right about winning Jews to Christ or are the modern popes right?
But Catholics surely don’t preach the Gospel that was preached by Peter, Paul and the early church anyway. Catholicism teaches salvation by sacramental grace and perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments and church law. Because religious Jews also believe in salvation by being “good” it follows that the current pope would say, “Good enough.”
Vatican Says Catholics Should Not Try to Convert Jews
By Gaia Pianigiani