Pope Francins on Jews

In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis writes at paragraph 247:

“We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked, for “the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29).”


I thought Catholic doctrine was that the Old Covenant was replaced by the New Covenant. Does Francis mean that Jewish people do not need Jesus as Savior? Should we not attempt to bring them to conversion?

I also thought that theology of “one covenant for the Jews and another for everyone else” was part of the Dispensationalist strain of Protestant theology?

Any help in clarifying this issue is appreciated.




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 The Mosaic is what was revoked, not the Abrahamic.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 autimatically 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 Crhsit would avail them nothing–but this is not the case. Romans deals with this a lot.

Here’s an article which summarizes how the relationship between these two covenants are expalined in the writings of Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI):

First, we should always pray for their conversion, for them to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, that is important.

What Pope Francis is trying to say is the Jewish people are not excluded from Gods love and salvation, they are our “older brother” from whom Jesus came through. God formed this people in order to bring His Son into the world to atone for our sins. Although Jesus fulfills the law, and has made a new and everlasting covenant with us, it does not make the older covenants obsolete (God will never destroy all living things by a great flood again, a great nation will issue from the seed of Abraham, etc). Here is a link about the Davidic covenant and promises that were made by God to the Israelites.


Also, it’s important to understand what St. Paul was teaching in his letter to the Romans.

“Hence I ask, did they stumble so as to fall? Of course not! But through their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make them jealous. Now if their transgression is enrichment for the world, and if their diminished numbers is enrichment for for the Gentiles, how much more is their full number…For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the firstfuits are holy, so is the whole batch of dough; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.” (Rom 11:11-12, 15-16.)

“I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers, so that you will not become wise [in] your own estimation; a hardening has come upon Israel in part, until the full number of the Gentiles comes in, and thus all Israel will be saved” Rom 1125-26.

I recommend reading “Salvation is From the Jews” by Roy Schoeman, an excellent book on this subject, and it will help answer your questions :slight_smile:

I’m surely no expert on interpreting Papal statements, but from my non-Catholic perspective, Pope Francis didn’t come within a million miles of saying anything remotely like “Jewish people do not need Jesus”.

Jesus didn’t replace the Old Covenants, he fulfilled them. The promise is still there for the Jews. They remain God’s chosen people. We became a part of God’s chosen people by being grafted on to the tree. We became children of Abraham.

But of course they need Jesus. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob needed Jesus. How God will bring about their recognition of him remains to be seen.


I need to read his work, but why is he even bringing this up but to cause the feelings of love for Jews today that do not accept Jesus. I do not know if it is proper to extend to the Jews today that they are still the chosen people of God by being called “special”. This goes against everything said by Paul and Jesus, that there is no longer Jew or Greek. We are all guilty if we reject God’s Son, we all cease to be Israelites when we do. The whole world was made Israel when Jesus was Incarnated. I think Pope Francis is just trying to make friends, even if it means almost saying things that go against traditional teachings. He is careful enough to not say anything heretical, but I am beginning to wonder why he even brings up all this stuff that He knows will cause contraversy.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

It is my hope that all people will come to recognize this. :thumbsup:

double post

So you think that we should not love the Jews? I thought we were called to love everyone.

He is careful enough to not say anything heretical, but I am beginning to wonder why he even brings up all this stuff that He knows will cause contraversy.

:frowning: First of all, you only have to be “careful” not to say anything heretical if your thoughts lead that way. I hope you’re not saying you feel that the Pope’s thoughts lean toward heresy. (especially when you say you haven’t even read his work)

If he were never going to say anything that would cause controversy, he’d never open his mouth again. Someone, somewhere, would take it wrong. Sometimes deliberately.

“Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways.” The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, “the first to hear the Word of God.” The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews “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”, “for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” And when one considers the future, God’s People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus. -CCC 839-840

The Pope basically just summarized the CCC, nothing new here. He didn’t say, Jews shouldn’t embrace Jesus as their messiah and believe the Christology of the Church He founded because they’re already saved through their covenants, all he said is that God made covenants with them. As Christians we should respect the Jewish people for all the reasons listed in the CCC above as well as in obedience to Christ’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves. This in no way diminishes the need to evangelize nor does it imply that the Jews have a source of salvation outside of the Church, for Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant.

You misunderstood everything I said. When did I say we should not love Jewish people? I was saying that he is going out of his way to call Jews (Today) special and in Covenant with God. Why would a defender of the Christian faith give them special treatment, ignoring the fact that the Church and the Bible do not consider them Israelites anymore. So in a since their rejection doesn’t end the covenant, but they have rejected God’s furthering of the covenant. We of course love everyone, and many Jews probably do not reject Jesus, but rather don’t know that they should accept Him. But when you start calling out favorites based on race (Today), you begin to border heresy. Of couse ancient Israelites, the race, are forever cherished and are special, because they were not only a race, but followed God.

You are just attacking me by saying he shouldn’t open his mouth. Childish.

I’m sorry that I have made Pope Francis look as if he is not telling the truth. He said nothing heritical and does a lot of things out of Love, like Jesus. He is doing nothing more than being all things to gain all people. It can confuse a lot of Catholics into thinking he’s compromising though, which he has not.

I would not reading anything into what was said. Just listen to what was said…not what you think it may have meant.

I clearly did NOT say he shouldn’t open his mouth. I was pointing out the logical effect of what you said about him saying things that cause controversy.

THE MOST HIGH gave the Jewish people many gifts and they did not revoke them, but when He gave them the greatest trophy, they revoked it.

The view is not new, nor does it originate with Pope Francis. It is a reiteration of what the Church first published as early as in Nostra Aetate and as late in The Jewish People and the Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible. And it is as old as Romans chapter 11.

Many have opinions on the matter, but how many of us have read and studied these and the other official statements in full that have come from the Vatican on this subject?

The truth is that most of us Catholics don’t read these materials. We get a second, third, or later-hand view of these works, usually reduced to a blurb, and then we go off spouting our opinion and debating as if we were experts on the subject matter. I’ve been guilty of this myself.

We should take this time to re-familiarize ourselves with the Church’s view on the Jews, both as individuals and as a people. This would be a great time to become better students of the Word of God on the subject too.

Romans 11:16-21 teaches:

If the root [of Jewish patriarchs] is holy, so are the branches [their natural Jewish descendants]. But if some of the branches [individual Jews who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah] were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot [Gentile believer in Christ], were grafted in their place and have come to share in the rich root of the olive tree [God’s covenant people], do not boast against the branches.

If you do boast, consider that you [a Gentile Christian] do not support the root; the root supports you.

Indeed you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."

That is so. They were broken off because of unbelief, but you are there because of faith. So do not become haughty, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you either.

If God’s covenant with the Jews has expired then why are you, a wild olive shoot, happy to be grafted into the root? If the covenant is no longer in effect then the root is no longer holy. It the root is no longer holy then neither are the branches. If none of the branches are holy, then what does this say of the main Branch, Jesus Christ? (Isaiah 11:1) If the root is not holy but a useless root, then our faith is useless and you are truly without God in the world.

But this is not the case. Christ came to save all people, not merely the Gentiles but especially the children of Abraham. Just as it is written: “All Israel will be saved…for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.”–Romans 11:25-29.

When a Jewish person prays to the Father he is also praying
to Jesus because the Father and Jesus are one.

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