Although its relations with other faiths are far better than they were before the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has still not resolved all the complexities of that new relationship. The way forward is by theological exploration, dialogue and joint action. Theologians must not be discouraged from thinking outside the box, as happened in the Vatican’s disgraceful treatment of the late Fr Jacques Dupuis SJ; nor should political complications stand in the way of addressing awkward questions, such as whether the Church should recognise a specifically religious claim by the Jewish people to the land of Israel.
The Vatican II decree Nostra Aetate transformed Jewish-Christians relations, outlawing Christian anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism. But it glossed over the land issue, not least because Christian Arab leaders became concerned that Palestinian interests should also be recognised for the sake of balance. In its final form, Nostra Aetate also had important things to say about Catholic-Muslim relations, and indeed relations with other faiths, too. But there are still loose ends….