ISRAEL – The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) in Efrat and Jerusalem strongly protests the October 24 statements of Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros made at the Bishops’ Synod on the Middle East. His statements that “God’s promises to the Jewish People were abolished by the presence of Christ,” and that “the Jewish people are no longer a favored people” revive the old supersessionist theology responsible for so much Jewish suffering at the hands of Christians throughout history and deny the right of the Jewish people to their biblical, historical and covenantal homeland in Eretz Yisrael. These statements pain Jews all around the world, and they erode Jewish confidence in fruitful Catholic-Jewish dialogue.
Archbishop Bustros’s statements contradict Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, the pronouncements of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, as well as the teachings of Nostra Aetate and post-conciliar Church documents on the topic: “God does not take back the gifts he bestowed or the choice he made.” “They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race according to the flesh, is the Christ.” As such, Archbishop Bustros has confused Catholics regarding Church teachings toward Judaism and the Jewish people; the Church’s older brothers and sisters.
In light of these statements by a designated official of the Bishops’ conference, we call upon Pope Benedict to publically clarify the Church’s teachings toward the Jewish people and their living covenant with God, to affirm the principles of Nostra Aetate, and to ensure that these principles are an essential and explicit part of the Bishops’ synod final document.
We also call upon the Church to engage Jewish religious leaders in dialogue in Jerusalem to discuss their teachings about God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants, the Jewish people, God’s blessings and promises to His people and the Jewish religious connection to the Promised Land of Israel.
It is our prayer that this fraternal dialogue between Catholic and Jewish leaders produces greater understanding of each other and of God’s Word to His children, and to renewed respect for each of our holy spiritual traditions.
Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin, Chancellor CJCUC
Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn, American Director CJCUC
Mr. David Nekrutman, Executive Director CJCUC
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Contact Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn at 201-282-8082