Dialogika

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Recognitio of Change in Adult Catechism

Backgrounder for Recognitio of Change in Adult Catechism

Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs
Chairman: Archbishop Wilton Gregory

  • The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (USCCA), produced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is intended to provide a basic and concise introduction to the Catholic faith. It is not a theological textbook but rather a catechetical text.
  • The Holy See has granted a recognitio to a modification of a passage in the USCCA that refers to God’s covenant with the Jewish people. The original passage was an attempt to reference a complex teaching in a concise yet faithful manner. Some had misunderstood the teaching that the earlier version of the passage was trying to convey. Providing a fuller explanation of this teaching to counter misunderstandings would disproportionately expand one small section of the USCCA. The revision of the passage that has now been granted a recognitio by the Holy See moves this section of the text to a generic level that is more in keeping with the purpose of a book designed as an introduction to the Catholic faith.
  • By making the change in the USCCA, there is not a change in the Church’s teaching. Catholics believe that all previous covenants that God made with the Jewish people are fulfilled in Jesus Christ through the new covenant established through his sacrificial death on the cross. The prior version of the text might be understood to imply that one of the former covenants imparts salvation without the mediation of Christ, whom Christians believe to be the universal savior of all people.
  • The new version of the text has a stronger basis in the New Testament, and echoes what the Catholic faithful hear during the celebration of the Good Friday liturgy (Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite). “To the Jewish people, whom God first chose to hear his Word, ‘belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ.’ (Rom 9: 4-5; cf. CCC, no. 839)” Catholics believe that the Jewish people continue to live within the truth of the covenant made through Abraham, and that God continues to be faithful to them. As the Second Vatican Council taught and as affirmed in the USCCA, “this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts he makes nor of the calls he issues.” (Lumen Gentium, no. 16)

 


 

United States Catholic Catechism for Adults
(Washington, D.C.: USCCB Publ., 2006)

Revision on pages 130-131

Prior version:

The Catholic Church also acknowledges her special relationship to the Jewish people. The Second Vatican Council declared that "this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts he makes nor of the calls he issues." (LG, no. 16).When God called Abraham out of Ur, he promised to make of him a "great nation." This began the history of God revealing his divine plan of salvation to a chosen people with whom he made enduring covenants. Thus the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them. At the same time, "remembering, then, her common heritage with the Jews, and moved not by any political consideration, but solely by the religious motivation of Christian charity, she [the Church] deplores all hatred, persecutions, and displays of anti-Semitism leveled at any time or from any source against the Jews." (Second Vatican Council, Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions [Nostra Aetate; NA], no. 4)

New version:

The Catholic Church also acknowledges her special relationship to the Jewish people. The Second Vatican Council declared that "this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts he makes nor of the calls he issues." (LG, no. 16). When God called Abraham out of Ur, he promised to make of him a "great nation." To the Jewish people, whom God first chose to hear his Word, "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ." (Rom 9: 4-5; cf. CCC, no. 839). At the same time, "remembering, then, her common heritage with the Jews, and moved not by any political consideration, but solely by the religious motivation of Christian charity, she [the Church] deplores all hatred, persecutions, and displays of anti-Semitism leveled at any time or from any source against the Jews." (Second Vatican Council, Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions [Nostra Aetate; NA], no. 4)

 


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

U.S. BISHOPS GET VATICAN ‘RECOGNITIO’ FOR CHANGE IN ADULT CATECHISM

Adult catechism going into second printing
Newer version clarifies teaching on Jewish covenant
Change approved in summer 2008 by bishops

WASHINGTON—The Vatican has given its “recognitio” to a change in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, which is set to go into a second printing.
The change clarifies Catholic teaching on God’s covenant with the Jews. The first version, in explaining relations with the Jews, stated, “Thus the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them.” The revised text states, “To the Jewish people, whom God first chose to hear his Word, ‘belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ.’ (Romans 9: 4-5; cf. CCC, no 839)

The change was approved by the U.S. bishops following the bishops’ 2008 June meeting in Orlando, Florida.

The clarification is not a change in the Church’s teaching.

The clarification reflects the teaching of the Church that all previous covenants that God made with the Jewish people are fulfilled in Jesus Christ through the new covenant established through his sacrificial death on the cross. Catholics believe that the Jewish people continue to live within the truth of the covenant God made with Abraham, and that God continues to be faithful to them. As the Second Vatican Council taught and the Adult Catechism affirms, the Jewish people “remain most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts he makes nor of the calls he issues.” (Lumen Gentium, no.16).

The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults was approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in November 2004 as a basic and concise introduction to the Catholic faith. It is a catechetical text rather than a theological textbook.

A “recognitio” is a statement from the Vatican that a document is in keeping with Catholic teaching.