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Cardinal says Christians can't hide mission role in talks with Jews

In their relations with Jews, Christians cannot conceal the strong missionary dimension of their faith, but also must recognise that Jews do not have to convert in order to be saved, Vatican official Cardinal Walter Kasper has said.

Kasper, president of the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, said last week that Christians take a different missionary approach toward Jews than toward followers of other non- Christian religions.

That's because Christians and Jews share a long biblical and religious tradition, a belief in the same God and a conviction that God will complete human history, he said.

The main difference between the two faiths - the salvific role of Jesus Christ - must also be acknowledged, he said.

"The universality of Christ's redemption for Jews and gentiles is so fundamental throughout the entire New Testament ... that it cannot be ignored or passed over in silence," Cardinal Kasper said.

"This does not mean that Jews in order to be saved have to become Christians; if they follow their own conscience and believe in God's promises as they understand them in their religious tradition, they are in line with God's plan, which for us comes to historical completion in Jesus Christ," he said.

Cardinal Kasper spoke at the Centre for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College. His text was made available to Catholic News Service by his office at the Vatican.

Catholic News Service

Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College } Report on Cardinal Kasper visit | text of address
Catholic, Jewish leaders discourage evangelising Jews (14/8/02)

11 Nov 2002