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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


Nostra Aetate

; 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.