If one wants a learned analysis of Christian doctrine on Judaism and supersessionism, then let me suggest you head over to Fr. John Hunwicke’s singularly excellent web-log. It’s timely stuff, what with the Commission on Religious Relations with Jews issuing a polarizing new document, The Gifts and Calling of God Are Irrevocable. For those who have been living under a rock for the last 24 hours, the document — which everyone and their brother is reminding us is non-magisterial — is the clearest official expression yet of the so-called “Two Covenants” theory. As a matter of policy (which a Catholic may or may not have to abide by), the document calls for an end to institutionally evangelizing the Jewish people while suggesting strongly that Salvation can come without confessing Jesus Christ. This is not a matter of drawing up exceptions for those suffering from “invincible ignorance,” mind you. This about doing an end-run around one the core tenets of the Apostolic Faith.
Now, some may say, in solidarity with the document, that the Jews “are different” for God gave them the Law and the Prophets; but Judaism rejects the One who came in fulfillment of the Scriptures. It would be wrong, nay, insulting to tell a devout Jew that his path is “ok” because mine, too, is “ok.” If he had a shred of self-respect, he would reject such a claim out of hand as gross. By the lights of a devout Jews, Christianity is an abomination for it is (allegedly) overrun with idolatry, impiety, and ignorance. The Christian believes, much to the horror of the orthodox Jew, in the Incarnation. Jesus, by Christian lights, is the Christ. He’s not simply a “nice guy” with some “good ideas.” How arrogant of the Vatican to try and whitewash over what devout Jews actually believe about Christianity by acting as if two religions with fundamentally opposed answers to the most important question in human history (“What think ye of Christ?”) are somehow capable of being equally true and existing in harmony with one another. St. Justin Martyr must be rolling over in his reliquary as St. Romanos the Melodist composes a lamentation in the Heavens.
The conservative Catholic establishment is trying to do some damage control here. They are stressing to all who would listen that this new document is not magisterial. Ok. But so what? The fact of the matter is that The Gifts and Calling of God will be treated by the vast majority of Catholics as quasi-magisterial in much the same way as some well-intentioned (though mistaken) Catholics believe the so-called “Balamand Statement” means that Catholics should never proselytize the Eastern Orthodox. Moreover, faithful Catholics are kidding themselves if they believe this statement is not the first (loud) step toward another doctrinal revolution, one which will attempt to relativize Christianity and the Catholic Faith while opening the door further to the false belief that there are “multiple pathways” into Paradise. Today it starts with Judaism; tomorrow it will be Islam, and so on and so forth.