'Vatican's call not to convert Jews won't change anything'

Anti-missionary group says nothing new in Catholic declaration that Jews don't need Jesus, largely because of who's missionizing.

Nitsan Keidar,

Pope Francis
Pope Francis
Reuters

The Vatican report published Thursday calling not to convert Jews as they don't need to believe in Jesus to be saved was received with a degree of apathy by Yad L'Achim, a group countering Christian missionary activity in Israel.

While the report is a welcome message, according to the organization it will not bear any great importance regarding the Christian attempts to force Jews to abandon their faith.

Yad L'Achim chairman Rabbi Shmuel Lifschitz told Arutz Sheva that "this step is important because it gives validity to something that we already knew - that the official line of the Catholic Church is to prevent missionizing."

"They worked to missionize intensively 50 and 60 years ago, but over the years the church made it known that that isn't its way, and it can be said they haven't worked to missionize for the last several dozen years. The Vatican also addressed the matter in 2011, and this (new) document is also important."

However, Rabbi Lifschitz stated that the practical impact of the declaration by Pope Francis's Vatican is in fact very limited.

"The thing is that the Catholics are one large movement in Christianity. But there's the Protestant movement, which isn't any less large, and they do not accept the authority of the pope and work to missionize intensively, mostly against Jews," said the rabbi.

As a result, he predicted that the Vatican's new report will have little impact.

The Protest movement are "those who Yad L'Achim works to save various communities from them, mostly (Jewish) poor people - who they (the missionaries) try to catch by their naivety and manipulate it."

"The movement of Messianic Jews was also created from Protestant Christianity as a great fraud. They come with Torah scrolls and talitot in order to give Jews in Israel and abroad a feeling that they're entering a synagogue, but in fact it's all about the same man (Jesus), idol worship, Christian baptism and everything connected to it."

Appraising the Vatican's new statement, Rabbi Lifschitz said, "basically there's nothing new, nothing that will change the map, due to this document of the pope."

"What's more the Jewish people have more than a few accounts with the Catholic Church," he added. "There is a troubling claim that the Church has lists of Jewish children from the period of the Holocaust, and they refuse to show it to Jews."

In conclusion, the rabbi called the declaration "an important matter, but not as big as the noise it's made."








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