Salvation For Jews: A Reminder
I have recently read, in a book supposedly friendly to traditional Catholicism, suspiciously conciliatory remarks about the situation of Jews. It is probably fitting to remind the reader of a thing or two.
There are no two Covenants in place. The call to conversion that Jesus made was directed to the Jews just as well as to everyone else. In fact, in the very first years after Our Lord's Resurrection it was considered normal for the first Christians to consider themselves Jews who – in contrast to the others – had recognised the advent of the Messiah promised to them. This feeling was so strong, that St. Peter himself – erroneously – thought that a Gentile would have to convert to Judaism in order to become a Christian (error which, as we know, was opposed and defeated by St Paul at the First Council of Jerusalem).
There is no mistaking the fact that Peter and all his contemporary taught it a grave danger to his Salvation that any Jew would not recognise Christ as Lord and Saviour. Things haven't changed just because we have a Jewish friend who is awfully nice.
The other way of seeing it is this: whilst Judaism is the matrix out of which Christianity arose, a Jew is simply one who denies the divinity of Christ and of the Holy Ghost. If you don't see in this a very grave offence to the Holy Trinity, I must question your Christian credentials.
It is, obviously, reasonable to hope that, among these Infidels – make no mistake: a Jew is not a Christian and is, therefore, an Infidel – more will be saved than among Infidels of any other religion, because of the special bond that once existed between the chosen people and God. However, we must not think that a Jew can ever be saved qua Jew, that is: in his religion, and we must make every prudent effort to convert those around us who follow this now outdated, surpassed persuasion.
This does not mean aggressive Proselitysm, nor does it mean harassing people who do not want to listen to us. It means that we clearly formulate the tenets of our faith and, when the time is right – say: when we have an interlocutor willing to listen – make clear to the Jewish friend or colleague the risks of his position.
Whilst we recognise the Davidic persuasion as the nearest to Christianity, we must also profess that this persuasion is deeply wrong and offensive to God, and clearly outside of the Christian world.
This might seem superfluous, but I thought that it had to be said, as I have the impression that here and there there might be Catholics who even consider themselves conservative but think that it is, in a way, “OK to be a Jew”.
Everyone who is not a Christian is conversion material.
There are no exceptions.