Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has emphatically rejected accusations that, in an article published in Communio in September, he had spoken out in favour of missionising the Jews and called Jewish-Christian dialogue into question.
“Any such assertion is plain and simply wrong”, he states in an article entitled “Correction” and signed “Joseph Ratzinger – Benedikt XVI” in the December issue of the prestigious German theological monthly Herder Korrespondenz .
He was advocating dialogue and not mission as “Judaism and Christianity stand for two ways of interpreting Scripture”, he explains. For Christians God’s promises to Israel were the hope of the Church and whoever believed that was in no way calling the foundation of Jewish-Christian dialogue into question, Benedict emphasised.
Christ’s mandate “to make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) was universal – with one exception, namely the Jews, he accepted. “Missionising the Jews was not foreseen and not necessary for the simple reason that they already knew the ‘unknown God’. As far as Israel was and is concerned, not mission but dialogue on whether Jesus of Nazareth is ‘the Son of God, the Logos’ for whom – in accordance with God’s promises to Israel – and without knowing it the whole of humankind - is waiting.”