My sone came home Wednesday and told me that Vatican Council II taught us not to convert Jews because they are okay where their at. I told him that all baptized Chrstians are called to evangelize but that proselytizing is not correct. I told him that I doubt seriously that is what was really taught but that there is a misunderstanding.
Would someone elaborate, preferably with references?
Lumen Gentium, the 1964 Dogmatic Constitition on the Church, explains the position:
16. Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.(18) In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh.(125) On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.(126) But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohammedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,(127) and as Saviour wills that all men be saved.(128) Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.(19*) Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.(20*) She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”,(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.*
This makes it clear that non-Christians still need the gospel message, but we are also reminded that we cannot place limitations on God and decide who will benefit from His mercy. Thus we are called to evangelise, but not arrogantly or with false certainties regarding the way in which God chooses to offer salvation to others.
Maybe your son has seen pg. 131 in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults published under the auspices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2006 (ISBN-13: 978-1-57455-450-2). where by mistake the USCCB approved this paragraph:
“The Catholic Church also acknowledges her special relationship to the Jewish people. The Second Vatican Council declared that ‘this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts he makes nor the calls he issues’. When God called Abraham out of Ur, he promised to make of him a ‘great nation’. This began the history of God’s revealing his divine plan of salvation to a chosen people with whom he made enduring covenants. Thus the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them. At the same time, ‘remembering, then, her common heritage with the Jews and moved not by any political consideration, by solely by the religious motivation of Christian charity, she (the Church) deplores all hatreds, persecutions, displays of antisemitism leveled at any time or from any source against the Jews.’”
The amended CCC now quotes St. Paul and is far less ambiguous:
“To the Jewish people, whom God first chose to hear his word, '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.”
Vatican 2 never said such a thing. What it did do, in the document Nostra Aetate (Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions), was to promote respect for Judaism by highlighting our common heritage with Judaism, and by insisting that it was not Judaism in general that was responsible for the death of our Lord. That’s it.
As far as converting them, the Church proposed dialogue instead of proselytism as the means of conversion. The Committee on Religious Relations with Jews issued a report in 1974 stating, “To tell the truth, such relations as there have been between Jew and Christian have scarcely risen above the level of monologue. From now on, real dialogue must be established. Dialogue presupposes that each side wishes to know the other, and wishes to increase and deepen its knowledge of the other.”
So you don’t go to a Jew (or other non-Christian) with an attitude of “You are wrong! Wrong! Wrong!” We can convert without proselytizing. We need to approach dialogue in mutual respect and humility. Many advocate the method of preaching just by your actions, which have converted many (not just Jews).
Two other points need to be considered:
If the Catholic Church has ever stated that a non-Christian may be saved outside the visible boundaries of the Church, she has nevertheless simultaneously insisted that they will be saved by a Grace that has been given by God through none other than the Church. That is what “outside the Church there is no salvation” means.
If a non-Catholic has the possibility of salvation, they must be outside the Church by virtue of invincible ignoarnce - in other words, they are outside the Church through no fault of their own. Anyone who willfully rejects the Church through malice, or with full knowledge that she is true, places their salvation in danger.
Thank you for the information. Thank you. Thank you, mardukm, in particular for reiterating what I had already presumed based upon the materials I’ve read and the shows I’ve listened to over Catholic radio. I will pass this on to my son. It should help him in his faith.