New text from Benedict XVI: Judaism has a special place for the Church


But a lot of “clarification” and “deepening” still needed

Judaism has a “special” position which must be recognized as such by the Church, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI emphasizes in a previously unpublished text published by the German edition of the journal of theology Communio for July-August 2018.

The theory that the Church has taken Israel’s place in the covenant with God — the theology of substitution — has “never existed as such,” says the former Sovereign Pontiff in this text reported by Vatican News. Conversely, the theory of the “never-revoked covenant” between God and the Jewish people is “correct.” Judaism, he insists, is not a religion “like the others.” It occupies a “special” position, which the Church must recognize.

However, the details of this approach still need “a lot of clarifications and deepening.” Because in the long run, it “does not sufficiently express the greatness of the reality.” For Benedict XVI, the formula of “the never-revoked covenant” was above all a “great help” for the dialogue between Catholics and Jews after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). 

This text of Benedict XVI, dated October 26, 2017, and titled “Mercy and vocation without regrets,” was not originally intended to be published. It was a reflection for Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. However, the cardinal has convinced the pope emeritus to make it public.

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