To date, over 50 Jewish rabbis from around the world have added their names to an historical statement in response to ongoing Jewish and Catholic relations which have proved successful since the Vatican released Nostre Aetate some 50 years ago...and the number is growing.
In the first days of December of 2015, about 24 Orthodox rabbis signed a "statement on Christianity" released by the Israel's Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation, with the Vatican releasing its own document entitled "The Gifts and the Calling of God Are Irrevocable" just one week later. Both statements recognize each other's religion as divine, from the same source, and part of the same (albeit mysterious) providential economy of redemption from God.
While not totally new, especially since the papacy of St. Pope John Paul II, the Vatican document is a substantial culmination of formal statements and studies that came before over the last half century. Especially from the largely ignored but striking significance of the pontifical "The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible," the new 2015 document is a reiteration of all that has come before in one place, resounding the previous Scripture-study statement that the Church holds that the Jews are still the covenant people of God, that the covenant has never been revoked, and...
"In the past, the break between the Jewish people and the Church of Christ Jesus could sometimes, in certain times and places, give the impression of being complete. In the light of the Scriptures, this should never have occurred. For a complete break between Church and Synagogue contradicts Sacred Scripture."
The Jewish document states "that Christianity is neither an accident nor an error, but the willed divine outcome and gift to the nations." Unique because it is the stand of rabbis from the Orthodox branch of Judaism, the one with the previous unbending stand regarding Christianity that currently exists among Conservative, Reform and Post-denominational Judaism, the number of signing Orthodox rabbis continues to grow into 2016.
With the Catholic Church formally recognizing Israel in such a manner, putting a stop to all proselytizing of Jews as well as taking an active standing against antisemitism, the Jewish documents adds "we Jews can acknowledge the ongoing constructive validity of Christianity as our partner in world redemption, without any fear that this will be exploited for missionary purposes."
The view of the Catholic Church is, of course, a striking contrast from that of Jehovah's Witnesses who officially hold that God rejected his covenant people for rejecting Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, and that only a 144,000 Christians, with the Governing Body and other JW heavenly-claimants among them as the only human beings currently in a covenant relationship with the God of Abraham.
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