I’ve now read the portions of Pope Benedict’s book [Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week] about the conversion of the Jews. The relevant passages are on the commentary on the eschatological discourse of Jesus.
Pope Benedict quotes Bernard of Clairvaux, with regard to the conversion of the Jews: “Granted, with regard to the Jews, time excuses you; for them a determined point in time is fixed, which cannot be anticipated.”
And he quotes the Abbess Hildegard Brem: “In the light of Romans 11:25 [a certain blindness has occurred in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has arrived], the Church must not concern herself with the conversion of the Jews, since she must wait for the time fixed for this by God….”
Benedict clearly agrees with both quotes. However, he attributes this conversion of the Jews in the future as a conversion of the whole people. And so there is no implication that the Church or her members cannot seek the conversions of individual Jews:
“the nucleus of Jesus’ eschatological message includes the proclamation of an age of the nations, during which the Gospel must be brought to the whole world and to all people: only then can history attain its goal. In the meantime, Israel retains its own mission. Israel is in the hands of God, who will save it ‘as a whole’ at the proper time, when the number of the Gentiles is complete. The fact that the historical duration of this period cannot be calculated is self-evident and should not surprise us.”
[The above quotes are from pp. 44-46]
Since the Church’s mission is “to the whole world and to all people,” the Pope is not excluding the conversion of individual Jews. But the conversion of the whole of the Jewish people the Church should not seek at this time.
I agree with this assessment. However, I disagree that the timing of this conversion of the whole Jewish people cannot be calculated. My forthcoming book, The Second Part of the Tribulation, deals with the events around the time of the Return of Jesus, including the conversion of the whole of the Jewish people: all Jews at that time will either convert to Catholic Christianity, or fall away from faith altogether. And the same is true for all Muslims at that time.
The timing of this event, in my eschatology, is after the fall of the Antichrist from power, just before Jesus returns, in the year 2437 A.D.