Christians still have a “mission to convert” Muslims and members of other religions to Christianity even in the face of persecution in the Middle East, one of Pope Francis’s most senior aides has insisted.
But Cardinal Kurt Koch, the Vatican’s head of ecumenical relations, emphasised that Roman Catholic teaching rules out missionary activity aimed at Jewish people because they are regarded as God’s “chosen” people.
He said that, despite fundamental differences in beliefs between the two faiths, especially over the figure of Jesus, Christians should view Judaism as a “mother”.
But, although Islam also shares common roots with the two religions, it did not have the same “unique relationship” as Christianity and Judaism, he insisted.
The Cardinal was speaking after an intense two-day round of interfaith dialogue between senior Catholic and Jewish leaders behind closed doors, organised through the Woolf Institute in Cambridge.
Those taking part in the high-level talks – co-chaired by the Woolf Institute’s director Dr Edward Kessler – was Abraham Skorka, the Argentine Rabbi and close friend of Pope Francis.
They discussed a landmark document published recently by Cardinal Koch’s Vatican department, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, setting out Catholic teaching on the Church’s relationship with Judaism.
It argues that although the Catholic Church teaches that people receive “salvation” through Jesus, Jews also have an ancient and “irrevocable” covenant with God.
Crucially, it makes clear that the Catholic Church no longer supports missionary work directed at Jewish people.
“It is clear we are separate religions but the same family, we are a divorced family,” Cardinal Koch explained after the meeting.
“We are the same family, we have the same roots …and in this sense the reconciliation between church and synagogue, between Judaism and Christianity, is a great challenge for the Church.”
But he added: “I don’t think that we have the same relationship with Islam that we have with Judaism.
“It is very clear that we can speak about three Abrahamic religions but we cannot deny that the view of Abraham in the Jewish tradition and the Christian tradition and the Islamic tradition is not the same.
“In this sense we have only with Jewish people this unique relationship that we have not with Islam.”
Asked whether this meant Catholics must seek to convert Muslims to Christianity, he said: “We have a mission to convert all non-Christian religions’ people [except] Judaism.
We have written a series of articles on the present paganism that is beguiled in Judaism. We also know that the present day Israelites are impostors who moved into Israel after the destruction of Jerusalem as prophesied by Christ. So this is just another day in office for the Pope. The overall goal is to unite all pagan religions in her false system of worship and it is working.
Imagine all the paganism within the catholic church and yet call Judaism same family?