I have just added an article to my “Other Stuff” pages, which I promised Stephen K some time ago in reply to his comment on this post about Jewish/Christian theologies of one another. The comment was unrelated to the post, but rather related to a tweet I tweeted on Twitter
Namely, that in Jewish eyes, Christians have made a god of a 1st century Jewish eccentric and indeed committed the blasphemy of equating him with the Yahweh of their special covenant? Namely, that in Christian eyes, the Jews have failed to see in Jesus the fulfilment of their special covenant in a larger more generous direction?
This essay is not exactly a response to Stephen, but is an instance of a need for a somewhat more nuanced theology of one another’s theology – at least for the sake of our mutual dialogue. I wrote in response to an editorial that appeared in the Australian Council for Christians and Jews newsletter. It was sparked by the continuing argument over the Extraordinary Rite’s Good Friday “Prayer for the Jews”.
Of course, this essay barely opens up the whole can of worms. I had the opportunity recently of spending a bit of time with Fr John Pawlikowski OSM. Fr John is a proponent of the “two covenant theory” of Jewish Christian relations, a theory that was put forward by a subcommittee of the USCCB some years back. Eventually the USCCB came out quite strongly against this theory but the question continues to be asked: What is the authentic relationship (in Catholic theology) between the Church’s mission to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and the Church’s affirmation of God’s on-going commitment to the People of the First Covenant?
It is a part of a much wider question, affecting two expressions of the Church’s mission at this point in time: the New Evangelisation and Interfaith Dialogue. There are some proponents of Interfaith Dialogue who are very wary of Pope John Paul’s / Pope Benedict’s / and (now) Pope Francis’ enthusiastic endorsement of “The New Evangelisation” because they see it as a call to go out and convert everyone to Catholicism – something which Interfaithers have (for decades) been assuring other religious communities with whom we are in dialogue that the Church has no such intention!
Well, I am not about to solve that little debate right here – but I hope that my essay will start some discussion.