are Jews saved without converting to catholicism?

Pope Francis has stated that the old covenant with the Jewish people has never been revoked. In his latest exhortation, the Pope did not state that the Jewish people should be converted?

So are Jews saved without converting to catholicism?

Great question. I discussed this with a friend before posting. Really, I don’t know. In the OT as you know, the Jews were God’s chosen…and the Holy Father says that covenant has not been broken… so… till I hear otherwise, I would say no unless they seem to be seeking. Then I would begin a conversation, carefully.

There ARE Jews who do not believe in God. If find that very odd, but it is true. I have heard it directly from several Jews. [Meltzerboy, where are you?] I would be quicker to strike up a conversation with THOSE Jews.

I will be interested in what others have to say.

My understanding is – evangelize, yes; proselytize, no.

Everybody is to be evangelized. Even Catholics.

It is my understanding, according to Catholic eschatology, that the Jewish people will eventually recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah,but that this will not occur until near the end times. We both worship the same God,just as Muslims do :the God of Abraham. As far as evangelizing goes,our lives are supposed to be a witness for Jesus Christ.

Please go to this site.

Go to July 2nd 2014. Roy Schoeman does a fine job answering the nuances demanded of your question.

God bless.


PS. If I recall correctly it is at about the 35 minute mark (but don’t hold me to remembering this please. Just an educated guess) of the audio file.

I come from a Jewish background. My grandparents were a mix of agnostic Jews and Jews who converted to Catholicism.

It’s been my experience with my family that we must share Christ’s message with all, no matter who they are. Those who are believing Jews (as well as anyone believing in a religion other than ours) need to be respected. Those who are more on the agnostic side may be more open to Christ. It really just depends upon how seriously they take their religion, and if they’re open to change.

Judaism is not only a religion, but it is an umbrella term for a very vast ethnic group. Someone can be a Jew and a Catholic, a Jew and an atheist, a religious Jew, etc. It’s no different than someone claiming that they’re Italian.

I grew up with Yiddish culture, and consider myself a member of the Jewish people. Most Jews do the same. Especially (as in my case) if the Judaism is on their mother’s side, then by Halachic law (Jewish law), they’re “members of the tribe”, no matter their religious affiliation.

Sorry if that got too detailed. I’ve found that many don’t realize that Judaism is, first and foremost, an ethnic identity, and then a religion. From Ashkenazim to Mizrahim, “Judaism” is an umbrella term for those of us whose ancestry sooner or later finds itself in the Hebrew people.

Take St. Edith Stein for example. While a convert to Catholicism, she was still a Jew, and still regarded the Jews as her “people”, even as she parished in the Holocaust.

Hey latinbyzcath, welcome to the forum…I was referring to those who actively practice the “Jewish religion”. I believe that there are different sects within this religion and of course all of which are much different than the Jewish religion practiced before Jesus’ death.

We are definitely meant to evangelise Jews. Jews cannot be saved without conversion - nobody can. The old law will not save them. This is the teaching of the Church. All Jews, if they are not converted before death, will go hell.

Yes, absolutely we should evangelize them, but we need to do it delicately and with great reverence for their own religion, which worships the same God we do. They just decided to replace the Temple with Torah reading and prayer, while we replaced the Temple with Jesus Christ.

Keep in mind that over the last 2000 years, a selective reading of the New Testament has been used to justify the persecution of Jews. Particularly Matthew 27:25’s “His blood be on us, and on our children,” which probably reflected a partisan anti-Jesus crowd and not the whole Jewish people, scripture has been read with antisemitism in mind. In the wake of the Holocaust, it is critical to dialogue with our Jewish friends and relatives in a way that recognizes the deep wounds that many Jewish families still carry.

That being said, I think it is useful to contrast Jesus with those other people who claimed to be redeeming Israel. In 66-70 CE, the Zealots took over Jerusalem (an offshoot of the Shammaite Pharisee movement to which Paul probably belonged in an earlier form), with the motto, “No king but God.” The Romans under Titus destroyed them, Jerusalem, and Herod’s Temple. In the 130s, a man known as Simon bar-Kokhba led another rebellion against Rome. He printed coins starting with the year 1, reflecting the belief that he had refounded Israel, and featuring the Temple that the new king was going to rebuild. The coins only reached the year 3, after which the Romans destroyed him and expelled Jews from the Holy Land. And all of these events were against the historical backdrop of the victory of Judas Maccabeus over the Seleucid empire, a victory that was clearly on the mind of even the followers of Jesus (in Luke 24:21, his followers tell the man they don’t recognize, “we were hoping that [Jesus] would be the one to redeem Israel”; similar statement in Acts 1:6).

Jesus, on the other hand, was crucified under the sign INRI – Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. And the kingdom he proclaimed was radically different from that espoused by the nationalists of his time. The Pharisees in the Gospels were probably Shammaites, which have been shown to be the predominant ideology during the time of Jesus (as opposed to the dominance of the teachings of Rabbi Hillel, which rose to prominence after the Roman wars following a “conclave” at Yavne/Jamnia). The Shammaites were known for their “zeal” (a term Paul echoes in describing himself). Jesus’ kingdom was not one of violence and force, his anointing as messiah was at the hands of a woman in a leper town (Bethany) that halakha required be located far from the Temple, and his victory came in his crucifixion and resurrection. Most modern Jews will not warm easily to this message, and it takes great care to respect them.

Why then doesn’t Pope Francis specifically state that the Jews must be converted to the true faith in order to be saved? I do not think that he believes in the doctrine of supersession.

I am not sure what you mean by the statement “His anointing as messiah was at the hands of a woman in a leper town.” Who are you referring to?

Not correct.


Given what Pope Francis has said about wanting encourage all to know Jesus and all the benefits that come from knowing and loving Him, I doubt he would be so uncharitable and discriminatory as to want to hide Him or deny Him to any group! (We should of course not force Him on anyone or use deceptive methods to seek conversions).

I think the confusion some people have is between the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants. The Mosaic is what was revoked, not the Abrahamic. God has not revoked the promise made to Abraham and his descendants. The promise of that covenant was first made to the Jews, but the Gentiles can also partake of it through faith, just as Jews can. That doesn’t mean all Jews and all Gentiles automatically do partake of it, since it is through faith in Christ that we do.

In other words, the Jews have not been definitively cut off–when a Jew places his faith in Christ, God will still honor the promise made to Abraham and his descendants. If God revoked the Abrahamic covenant with the Jews, placing their faith in Christ would avail them nothing–but this is not the case. Romans deals with this a lot. In fact, it is prophesied that one day all Israel will acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah and be saved.

This of course does not mean that someone who currently believes in the Jewish religion will definitely not be saved–God can lead them to that faith without which it is impossible to please Him, even in ways known only to Himself.

Here’s an article which summarizes how the relationship between these two covenants are explained in the writings of Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI):…fm?recnum=7878

Here’s a longer article on the relationship of the Jewish people to the various covenants God has made with man by Cardinal Dulles and why saying they are called to convert is not “suppressionism:”

That being said, there are some Saints who believed we should focus on converting the Gentiles first, since Scripture says the Jews will not be converted until the full number of Gentiles comes in (obviously there are always some Jews in every age that convert, as a sign that the Church is still connected that root).

For example, in St. Bernard’s book “On Consideration” he wrote for Pope Bl. Eugene III (essentially a handbook for being a good Pope–many Popes have been known to keep a copy close and to consult it) he exhorted the Pope to work toward the conversion of pagans, heretics, and schismatics. But with regard to Jews, he said:

“Granted, time excuses you from dealing with the Jews: they have their boundary which cannot be passed. The full number of the Gentiles must come in first.”

Luke 22:20 Jesus says This cup is the new covenant in my blood which will be poured out for you.

I believe that Jesus completed the old covenant with the new. I believe that the old covenant is no longer viable.

Just my opinion.

There is a lot of personal opinion in this thread, and much interpretation of single Scripture verses apart from the rest of scripture and apart from the Church. There is much error on this thread.

Let’s please recall that Moses, King David, Judas Machabeus, Elisha, Samuel and Daniel were all Jews and are all Catholic Saints. Lets not leave out the holy women Rachel, Ruth and Deborah to name a few. Some Jews are already there. Elijah the Jew was taken taken up to heaven in fiery chariot. The Carmelite Order traces its origins to Elijah. The Roman Catholic Church celebrates his memorial 20 July. Abraham is the Father of Faith, obedient to the point of sacrificing his own son on the mountain. Abraham’s memorial in the Roman Catholic Church is October 9.

The Church teaches that the Jews are included in God’s plan for salvation but we don’t know how, that’s all, and at the end of time we will all be one. Jesus will not forsake his own people.


When it is said that the Old Covenant was never revoked, that does not mean that it is a parallel covenant to the New Covenant and one can be saved by either one or the other. What it means is that the Old Covenant pointed toward the New Covenant and was fulfilled in the New Covenant. This is why it says, “the end of the law is Christ” (Rom. 10:4), and, “Love therefore is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10). Therefore, God did not take the Old Covenant and throw it out the window. He was faithful and fulfilled the covenant in Christ.

The saints prior to Christ were saved before the institution of the New Covenant, but they were still saved in virtue of their faith in the Christ that was to come with varying degrees of explicitness.

St. Paul says, “man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ; we also believe in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: because by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Galatians 2:12)

And St. Peter said, “Neither is there salvation in any other [than Jesus Christ]. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)

And Christ himself says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

I’m curious how you reconcile what you have quoted with Romans 12:25-29?


I don’t suppose that my reading is the final authority on the meaning of this or any other passage, but this is how I read it.

Recall that the preceding discussion is about the blindness of the Jews. He speaks of the people of God as an olive tree from which the Jews were broken off and the Gentiles grafted in. He then says that the gentiles should not boast because they can be broken off again and the Jews can be grafted back in again (v. 23): And even the others, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. He then explains that the Jews are natural branches.

Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved.

Like Paul said earlier, there is a saved remnant of the Jews even though most are hardened against the Gospel. I am inclined to believe that he means that at the end of the world, the remaining Jews or at least a significant number forming a representative body will be converted. Another possibility is that he means that a portion of the Jews will always remain separated from the tree in order to leave room for gentiles to be grafted in without saying anything about the final conversion of the Jews, in which case “Israel” signifies the Church rather than the Israelites (cf. Gal. 6:16: “they who are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.”) Either way, it does not say that the Jews who abide in unbelief will be saved if they abide in unbelief.

as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
“and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

This obviously is speaking about the New Covenant.

As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.

I do not regard “election” as necessarily speaking of predestination to salvation, but the fact that Jews are naturally part of the people of Israel. When he says that they are beloved for the fake of their forefathers, that is because the descendants of the patriarchs did not receive the promises God made on account of their own merits, but on account of the patriarchs’ merits.

“The gifts of God are irrevocable” in this case concerns the covenants between God and his people. Compare with Romans 9:4-5: Who are Israelites, to whom belongeth the adoption as of children, and the glory, and the testament, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises: Whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ, according to the flesh, who is over all things, God blessed for ever. The Jews have a natural claim to the gifts given to the descendants of Israel. Nevertheless, this will not avail them for salvation without faith. Think of the prodigal son. They will not have eternal life unless they are grafted into the tree.

Anyone (Jews or whoever) who rejects Jesus is God will not be saved but they have until their dying breath to accept him.

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