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 If the covenant is no longer in effect then the root is no longer holy.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.