JERUSALEM – The global Jews for Jesus organization has denounced the Vatican for its recent pronouncement instructing the Catholic Church to refrain from to converting Jews to Christianity, saying that the Vatican is pandering to Jewish leaders.
David Brickner, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement that Jews for Jesus finds the Vatican’s position “egregious, especially coming from an institution which seeks to represent a significant number of Christians in the world.”
The policy against converting Jews appeared in a document released Thursday by the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. The release of the document, called “The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable,” marked the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, a declaration from 1965 by the Second Vatican Council that paved the way for formal Catholic-Jewish relations.
The new Vatican document claimed that Christianity’s roots in Judaism means that the Church is “obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views.”
The document stated: “In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews.”
Brickner harshly condemned the Vatican for disregarding evangelization in favor of being more acceptable to important figures in Jewry.
“How can the Vatican ignore the fact that the Great Commission of Jesus Christ mandates that his followers are to bring the gospel to all people? Are they merely pandering to some leaders in the Jewish community who applaud being off the radar for evangelization by Catholics? If so, they need to be reminded that they first received that gospel message from the lips of Jews who were for Jesus,” he said.
Jews for Jesus operates in 13 countries and 25 cities and calls itself the “largest Jewish mission agency in the world.”