You are correct in surmising that this document does not reflect the official teaching of the Church. Even though the panel that put it together was comissioned by the US bishops, it was immediately recognized as greatly flawed as a stand alone document, and in any case was never officially endorsed or adopted by the bishops (a similar thing happened with a document on homosexuality, “Always Our Children”).
Press Release from the USCCB Office of Communications, August 16, 2002
“Reflections” Represent Present State of Dialogue, Cardinal Says
WASHINGTON - Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore said today that a document made public August 12 represents the state of thought among the participants of a dialogue that has been going on for a number of years between the U.S. Catholic Church and the Jewish community in this country.
Cardinal Keeler, the U.S. Bishops’ Moderator for Catholic-Jewish relations, said that the document, entitled Reflections on Covenant and Mission, does not represent a formal position taken by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) or the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (BCEIA). The purpose of publicly issuing the considerations which it contains is to encourage serious reflection on these matters by Jews and Catholics in the U.S.
These considerations provide a basis for discussing both the similarities and the significant differences between the Christian and Jewish understandings of the call given by the one God to both peoples.
Cardinal Keeler said that, within the Catholic community, there has been a growing respect for the Jewish tradition and the lasting covenant which God made with them. Judaism is “already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #839), a response to God’s grace that requires religious freedom and respect for the faith relationship between God and the human person. This same respect for the freedom of faith requires us to be open at the same time to the action of God’s grace to bring any person to accept what Catholic belief understands as the fullness of the means of salvation which are found in the Church.
Participants in the ongoing consultation are delegates of the BCEIA of the USCCB and the National Council of Synagogues (NCS) which represents the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
The Reflections derive from a meeting which the BCEIA-NCS Consultation held in New York last March
However, that has not stopped certain groups from distributing documents like this to the unsuspecting as if it were official Church teaching. It certainly isn’t somethingthat should be passed out at RCIA where people may be less able to see it in the context of a “working discussion” document.
Here is a reply to a question about this from This Rock magazine:
Q: God promised the Jews that they would attain heaven if they kept their covenant (the Old Covenant) with him. Since God doesn’t break his promises, doesn’t this mean Jews don’t have to follow Jesus, who brought the New Covenant?
A: This is the apparent confusion at the heart of the recent “Reflections on Covenant and Mission” issued by a U.S. bishops’ subcommittee that generated so much attention last year. To begin with, the Old Covenant is no longer in effect—Christ has fulfilled it (Col. 2:14–17). It never had any ability to save apart from Christ (Heb. 10:1–10). It was always anticipated that salvation would come through the Messiah (Gal. 3:8, 16). Since the Old Covenant never justified anyone (Gal. 3:11), attempts by Jews to be put right with God only by keeping the Old Covenant would not bear fruit (Gal. 3:10).
It was always expected as part of the Old Covenant that the Jewish people were obliged to accept the Messiah when he came (Deut. 18:15). Deliberate failure to do so would be spurning the Son of God—a mortal sin. Jesus told his Jewish audience, “I told you that you would die in your sins . . . unless you believe that I am he” (John 8:24).
A Jew may be innocently ignorant of the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and thus not be held accountable. Such a person may be saved provided he is otherwise in good conscience seeking to follow God. But he would be saved on the basis of Christ, not of the Old Covenant. Remember, Jesus also said, “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).
Here are some other Catholic Answers articles you and your husband may find helpful:
It may also be helpful to you to read two other Church documents on this subject:
DOCTRINAL NOTE ON SOME ASPECTS OF EVANGELIZATION