Apostle Paul would be 'horrified' by Vatican's position on Judaism, say Jews for Jesus

Jews for Jesus has slammed a document released by the Vatican last week that said Catholics don't need to convert Jewish people.

The Vatican document clarified the relationship between the Catholic Church and Judaism.Wikimedia/David Iliff

Executive director David Brickner said in a statement that the Vatican's position on the matter was "egregious, especially coming from an institution which seeks to represent a significant number of Christians in the world."

"How can the Vatican ignore the fact that the Great Commission of Jesus Christ mandates that his followers are to bring the gospel to all people?" Brickner added.

"Are they merely pandering to some leaders in the Jewish community who applaud being off the radar for evangelization by Catholics? If so, they need to be reminded that they first received that gospel message from the lips of Jews who were for Jesus.

"The title of this new document, 'The Gifts and Calling of God are irrevocable,' is taken from Paul's words in Romans 11:29. We believe that the Apostle Paul, whose name is invoked frequently in the Vatican document, would be horrified at this repudiation of the words with which he started his letter in Romans: 'For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.'"

The Vatican's document clarified the relationship between the Catholic Church and Judaism, and condemned missionary work aimed at converting Jews.

"The Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards the Jews," it said.

Jews are not excluded from salvation, it added, even though "they don't believe in Jesus Christ as the messiah of Israel and Son of God."

"The Church is therefore obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views".

The document was released 50 years after the Nostra Aetate was published, which formalised a radical change in the way that the Catholic Church viewed Judaism. It officially exonerated Jews of any collective guilt for the death of Jesus and affirmed that God's covenant with them was intact.

Jews for Jesus is the largest Jewish mission agency in the world, with the specific mandate to share the gospel with Jewish people.