Is the Church the True Israel?

I have no problem making a case for the Church as the true Israel from Scripture, but I have been challenged me to produce an authoritative Catholic document speaking of the Church in that way. Do you know of such a document or official proclamation by the Church? I know there must be something, but I'm at a loss of where to look. While the new Catechism calls the Church "the Chosen People" and "God's Covenant People" (which are clear Scriptural parallels for "Israel"), it is very "cagey" about speaking of the Church directly as "Israel," given that it doesn't want to confuse or offend anyone, such as our Jewish brethren or national Israelis. So, would you have any other suggestions for me?

Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, II, 9: All these things, however, were done by way of preparation and as a figure of that new and perfect covenant, which was to be ratified in Christ, and of that fuller revelation which was to be given through the Word of God Himself made flesh. "Behold the days shall come saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel, and with the house of Judah. . . I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their heart, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people . . . For all of them shall know Me, from the least of them even to the greatest, saith the Lord.(86) Christ instituted this new covenant, the new testament, that is to say, in His Blood,(87) calling together a people made up of Jew and gentile, making them one, not according to the flesh but in the Spirit. This was to be the new People of God.

Vatican II, Ad Gentes, I, 5: From the very beginning, the Lord Jesus "called to Himself those whom He wished; and He caused twelve of them to be with Him, and to be sent out preaching (Mk 3.13; cf. Mt. 10.1-42). Thus the Apostles were the first budding-forth of the New Israel, and at the same time the beginning of the sacred hierarchy.

John Paul II: Mulieris Dignitatem, VII, 23: But the fullest statement of the truth about Christ the Redeemer's love, according to the analogy of spousal love in marriage, is found in the Letter to the Ephesians: "Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her" (5:25), thereby fully confirming the fact that the Church is the bride of Christ: "The Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer" (Is 54:5). In St. Paul's text the analogy of the spousal relationship moves simultaneously in two directions which make up the whole of the "great mystery" ("sacramentum magnum"). The covenant proper to spouses "explains" the spousal character of the union of Christ with the Church, and in its turn this union, as a "great sacrament," determines the sacramentality of marriage as a holy covenant between the two spouses, man and woman..... 25 This is easily seen in regard to the person of the "bride." According to the Letter to the Ephesians, the bride is the Church, just as for the Prophets the bride was Israel. She is therefore a collective subject and not an individual person. This collective subject is the People of God, a community made up of many persons, both women and men. "Christ has loved the Church" precisely as a community, as the People of God.

JP2: Redemptoris Mater, Part 2, 25: "The Church 'like a pilgrim in a foreign land, presses forward amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God,' (52) announcing the Cross and Death of the Lord until he comes (cf. 1 Cor. 11:26)." (53) "Israel according to the flesh, which wandered as an exile in the desert, was already called the Church of God (cf. Nehemiah. 13:1; Num. 20:4; Dt. 23:1ff.). Likewise the new Israel . . . is also called the Church of Christ (cf Mt 16:18).

JP2: Redemptionis Donum, III, 8: This is how the special covenant of spousal love is made, in which we seem to hear an unceasing echo of the words concerning Israel, whom the Lord "has chosen as his own possession." For in every consecrated person the Israel of the new and eternal covenant is chosen. The whole messianic people, the entire Church, is chosen in every person whom the Lord selects from the midst of this people; in every person who is consecrated for everyone to God as His exclusive possession

JP2: Mulieris Dignitatem, VI, 20: From the moment of Christ's coming, the expectation of the People of God has to be directed to the eschatological Kingdom which is coming and to which he must lead "the new Israel."

Catholic Catechism: From the beginning of his public life, Christ called to himself those whom he desired, and they came to him. He appointed twelve to be with him in a special way, and he sent them out to preach even while he was still among them before his passion and death. Thus the apostles were the seed of the new Israel and at the same time the origin of a sacred hierarchy.

Robert Sungenis
Catholic Apologetics International
June 22, 2002

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