Do Catholics Believe That Jews Can Get to Heaven?

Question: I am wondering about Jewish people, my son is marrying a Jewish girl soon, If Jews don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God In the second person of the trinity, how will they get to Heaven?  I was taught that one must believe In Jesus as the mediator between God and us.

There is a lot of discussion and debate in the church today about the question you raise. On September 1, 2002, a Christian Scholars Group published the following consensus statement:

“For centuries, Christians claimed that their covenant with God replaced or superseded the Jewish covenant. We renounce this claim. We believe that God does not revoke divine promises. We affirm that God is in covenant with both Jews and Christians. Tragically, the entrenched theology of super-sessionism continues to influence Christian faith, worship, practice, even though it has been repudiated by many Christian denominations and many Christians no longer accept it. Our recognition of the abiding validity of Judaism has implications for all aspects of Christian life.

“Christians meet God’s saving power in the person of Jesus Christ and believe that this power is available to all people in him. Christians have therefore taught for centuries that salvation is available only through Jesus Christ. With their recent realization that God’s covenant with the Jewish people is eternal, Christians can now recognize in the Jewish tradition the redemptive power of God at work. If Jews, who do not share our faith in Christ, are in a saving covenant with God, then Christians need new ways of understanding the universal significance of Christ.”

For development of these perspectives, consult the work of the Christian Scholars Group at the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College.

Fr. Thomas Ryan, CSP is the Director for the Paulist Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs