Catholics should not try to convert Jews and should work with them to fight anti-Semitism, the Vatican said on Thursday in a major new document that drew the Church further away from the strained relations of the past.
The document also said that Catholics should be particularly sensitive to the significance to Jews of the Holocaust, and pledged “to do all that is possible with our Jewish friends to repel anti-Semitic tendencies.”
The document coincided with the 50th anniversary of a revolutionary Vatican statement that repudiated the concept of a so-called “mission” to convert Jews to their religion.
“In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews,” said the document.
A Vatican expert in Catholic-Jewish dialogue said it was the first time a repudiation of active conversion of Jews was so clearly stated in a Vatican document.