Traditional Catholic thought did not support Zionism. This can be traced to the traditional Christian theological view on the status of the Church in relation to the Jewish people and Judaism. "Supersessionism" or "replacement theology" argues that the Church has replaced the Jews as God's chosen people and that the New Covenant has replaced or superseded the Old (Mosaic) Covenant.
Various alternatives to supersessionism instead argues for some form of continued special role for Jews, with the most extreme form being dual-covenant theology, according to which both covenants are valid. Such non-supersessionist beliefs are often associated with demands for a more (argued) literal interpretation of the Bible and with the belief that the gathering of the Jews in Israel is a prerequisite for the end time (and the desired reward for those having the right beliefs).
Such beliefs started to appear after the Protestant Reformation. The term Christian Zionism began to be used mid-20th century and is associated with Evangelicalism and in particular with Dispensationalism.
Christian Zionism does not necessarily imply a long-term concern for the Jewish people or Judaism, since the desired end time can be interpreted as causing the death of most Jews (and most of humanity) with the rewarded remnant all being Christians.
However, since the biblical text is filled with references to God's chosen people, it is common for Christian Zionists to emphasize the Jewish roots of Christianity, and even to promote Jewish practices and Hebrew terminology as part of their own practice (see also Judaising and Noahidism).
A 2014 survey of different US religious groups stated that "Evangelicals also hold very positive views of Jews, with white evangelical Protestants giving Jews an average thermometer rating of 69. Only Jews themselves rate Jews more positively. But that warmth is not mutual: despite evangelicals’ warm feelings toward Jews, Jews tend to give evangelicals a much cooler rating (34 on average)." Jews gave Evangelicals the lowest rating of all religious groups.
- Christian Zionism: The New Heresy that Undermines Middle East Peace
- Christian Zionism: Dispensationalism And The Roots Of Sectarian Theology
- Evangelicals turning to Jewish customs? It's complicated
- Among Evangelicals, A Kinship With Jews
- Why Judeo-Christians Support War
- Regina Sharif, Non-Jewish Zionism, Its Roots in Western History, Zed, 1983, page 10 "Prior to the Reformation, traditional Catholic thought had no place for the possibility of a Jewish return to Palestine nor any such concept as the existence of a Jewish nation."
- Kevin MacDonald. Christian Zionism. http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2010/03/kevin-macdonald-christian-zionism/
- How Americans Feel About Religious Groups http://www.pewforum.org/2014/07/16/how-americans-feel-about-religious-groups/