In an article in that great liberal voice of the Jesuits America magazine (September 17, 2001, pp. 13-14), Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, explains the new position of the Conciliar Church with regard to the Jewish confession. "As you know," he wrote, "the old theory of substitution is gone since the Second Vatican Council."
What Kasper calls the "theory of substitution" is the New Testament's teaching that the old covenant between God and the Jewish people was broken by the crime of Deicide and the apostasy of the synagogue. The Gentiles were called and replaced the Jews, forming a new covenant with God, which Saint Paul called the law of grace that took the place of the law of blood.
Kasper continues: "For us Christians today the covenant with the Jewish people is a living heritage, a living reality. There cannot be a mere coexistence between the two covenants. Jews and Christians, by their respective identities, are intimately related to each other." Kasper, without explaining how these identities are linked, thinks it is enough for the moment to say that they are "intimately related to each other." He suggests the matter be discussed in further dialogue.
The new German Cardinal continues with an air of authority: "I wish to say that the document Dominus Jesus does not state that everybody needs to become a Catholic in order to be saved by God. On the contrary, it declares that God's grace, which is the grace of Jesus Christ according to our faith, is available to all. Therefore, the Church believes that Judaism …. is salvific for them [the Jewish people], because God is faithful to his promises."
It is curious to note the spin that Kasper gives to the principles defended in Dominus Jesus. In the document Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger maintained that there would be a "Church of Christ" different from and larger than the Catholic Church. The members of that "church," which would include Protestants and Schismatics, would normally be able to achieve eternal salvation.
Now, we have Kasper's interpretation of the same document that goes even further. The President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity claims that it says that even the Jewish religion would be able to open the doors of Heaven to its followers. My reader knows that Kasper is purposely forgetting a "small detail," i.e., that this assertion is absolutely opposed to all the Catholic teaching prior to Vatican II.
Pope Innocent III declared ex cathedra "There is but one Universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one is saved at all" and this was ratified at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. (Henry Denzinger's Enchiridion Symbolorum, 430 , The Sources of Catholic Dogma, St. Louis, Mo., 1957 (Imprimatur).
But, for a moment, let me follow along with Kasper's dream that the religious Jews and rabbis who adhere to that false religion would be saved. What would they find in Heaven? The first person they would meet there would be Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who taught us that He would be our reward exceedingly great. Now then, this same Jesus Christ Whom the Jewish religion so vehemently denies, hates, and would crucify again if He were among us would stand before the "saved" Jews to share with them His eternal happiness. Would this be the paradise they desire? I doubt it. In the real paradise, these "saved" Jews would be extremely unhappy. To be consistent with what they believed and preached in their false religion, they would choose to be far removed from Our Lord Jesus Christ, far removed from the Holy Trinity Whom they also deny, and far removed from Our Lady and all the Catholic Saints. They would choose to be as far distant from all this as possible, and eternally so, otherwise they would not be "happy."
So what would a "paradise" pleasing to them be? Is it the Heaven taught by Catholic doctrine? Or would it be another far distant place, as far removed from it as possible? The reader can see that Kasper's "heaven" is a bit different from the real Heaven. A matter of interpretation… Heaven knows someone's wrong and I would venture to assure you it is not the universal Infallible Magisterium of the Church that supports the Dogma proclaimed by Innocent III.