Chapter 11. The Four Marks of the Church • 131
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 son-
ship, 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” (CCC, no. 839, quoting Rom 9:4-5). 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 hatreds, persecutions,
displays of antisemitism 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
; NA], no. 4).
The Church also recognizes that she has a unique relationship to
Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge
the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these
profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore
the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day” (CCC, no. 841,
citing LG, no. 16).
The Church engages in dialogue not only with Muslims but also
with Hindus and Buddhists. “She has a high regard for the manner of
life and conduct, the precepts and doctrines which, although differing
in many ways from her own teaching, nevertheless often reflect a ray of
that truth which enlightens all men” (NA, no. 2). These dialogues are
conducted on the local level and also on the international level through
the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
Dialogue is a form of evangelization. It is a way of making Christ
and his Gospel known to others, while at the same time respecting their
freedom of conscience and adherence to their own religious tradition.
The Church has received from Christ the mandate to make him known
to all people. She does this in many ways. Dialogue is one way, but
another way is the missionary activity of the Church. Through the work
of missionaries (priests, consecrated men and women, and lay people)
the Church makes Christ known as they teach the Gospel to others by
word and deed, inviting them to respond to this proclamation by the
commitment of faith.