This research assesses the theological position implicitly or explicitly held by the authoritative Magisterium of the Catholic Church vis-à-vis ‘Zionism’ (an affirmation of the bond of the Jewish people to their historical homeland and of the existence of a Jewish polity in that land) between 1948 and 2005. I argue that beginning in 1948, the Catholic Church began to radically reinterpret its tradition of Supersessionism. This tradition had historically been the principal theological obstacle to any Catholic affirmation of Zionism. John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council undermined the foundations of Supersessionism but did not definitively reject it. After the Council, attempts were made to reject Supersessionism and affirm Zionism, but these fell afoul of political conflicts in the Middle East. John Paul II would reinvigorate the doctrinal trajectory and affirm that contemporary Jewish people are included in the gifts and calling of the irrevocable Covenant in continuity with their Biblical ancestors. John Paul II’s teaching, along with that of the Council, implicitly rejects Supersessionism. At other points in his Papacy, John Paul II theologically affirmed the bond of the Jewish people to the Land and, tentatively, offered a theological understanding of Jewish statehood in the Land. This research concludes that the Catholic Church theologically affirmed Zionism at the level of Ordinary Magisterium, but only in minimalist terms as it failed to apply this affirmation to the State of Israel itself.
|Date of Award||24 Jun 2021|
- The University of Bristol
|Supervisor||Gavin G D'Costa (Supervisor)|