In a Vatican document entitled: “NOTES on the correct way to present the Jews and Judaism in preaching and catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church” I am confused about two seemingly contradictory statements.
The Holy Father has stated this permanent reality of the Jewish people in a remarkable theological formula, in his allocution to the Jewish community of West Germany at Mainz, on November 17th, 1980: “the people of God of the Old Covenant, which has never been revoked”. (Emphasis added)
“In virtue of her divine mission, the Church” which is to be “the all-embracing means of salvation” in which alone “the fulness of the means of salvation can be obtained” (Unit. Red. 3); “must of her nature proclaim Jesus Christ to the world” (cf. Guidelines and Suggestions, I). Indeed we believe that is is through him that we go to the Father (cf. Jn. 14:6) “and this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (Jn 17:33).
Jesus affirms (ibid. 10:16) that “there shall be one flock and one shepherd”. Church and Judaism cannot then be seen as two parallel ways of salvation and the Church must witness to Christ as the Redeemer for all, “while maintaining the strictest respect for religious liberty in line with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (Declaration Dignitatis Humanae)” (Guidelines and Suggestions, I). (emphasis added)
How can the Church simultaneously affirm that the Old Covenant with the Jewish people has never been revoked, and also say that salvation may not be obtained through Judaism? Does this mean only “full” salvation may not be attained, but some measure of it might? Or: No salvation is obtained by the Jews, and the Pope in #1 above meant something else entirely (in which case, what??).
I thank you in advance for a well-reasoned response.