Nostra Aetate deliberations

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The Council's Deliberations (3)


(The second Declaration On Jews and Non-Christians)

** continued **


12. Archbishop John Carmel Heenan

13. Archbishop Patrick Aloysius O'Boyle

14. Archbishop Peter Sfair

15. Archbishop Joseph Parecattil

16. Cardinal Lawrence Shehan

17. Archbishop Joseph Attipetty

18. Bishop Daniel Raymond Lamont

19. Bishop Jerome Joseph Podestà

20. Archbishop Joseph Tawil

21. Archbishop Joseph Descuffi

12. His Excellency John Carmel Heenan

Archbishop of Westminster (United Kingdom)

Venerable Brothers,

It is no wonder that the new redaction of the declaration On the Jews was greeted by them without joy. For the text of the draft On Ecumenism, published during the second session was well known to all even the Jews. It is natural to ask why these changes were made. It is impossible that one would not notice how this version differs in tenor and spirit. For, the present declaration is less kind, less gracious, less friendly. The document prepared by the Secretariat for Unity – after the observations of the Council Fathers have been carefully considered – is not in all its words the document that you have in your hands.

This tenderness (commonly speaking: “sensitivity,” “sensibilité”) could be the reason why in almost all their newspapers Jews complain about the quotation from St. Paul’s Epistle.1 Actually, the Apostle of the Gentiles is speaking in this passage2 eschatologically about the return of all people, even of the Israelites, to the unity of the true people of God. I have no doubt that this Pauline quotation was made as a sign of fraternal love and of the desire of the brothers of Christ for union with the rest of God’s children. In my opinion, therefore, the Jews less correctly judge this quotation as an invitation or a call to desert their religion immediately.

Nonetheless, may I be permitted to declare that in the context of an ecumenical movement the question of the conversion of either individuals or of communities is really out of place. For ecumenism is uniquely concerned with a mutual examination of religious truth. Both parties in the dialogue have in mind not to carry the victory but to grow in understanding and truth. Since, therefore, in our draft the issue is the unity of Christians, you will find not even a word about the conversion of the Orthodox or of non-Catholics in the West. Nonetheless, there does remain the firm hope for the return of all Christ’s brethren into one sheepfold. Indeed, we and our separated brothers themselves pour forth prayers that, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, all may be united in one, holy Church.

It is obvious that our intent was poorly understood by the Jews. Because of this fact, it would be better to leave the quotation from St. Paul out of our declaration. For, in the second part of the declaration where the other non-Christians are discussed,3 absolutely nothing is said about their conversion. On the contrary, these are the words in the text: “Although they differ in many things from our people they reflect a ray of that Truth that illumines every person who comes into this world.” If those people, however, have this kind of ray of truth, how much more luminous is the Jewish religion which is, at the same time, the root of our faith! As Pope Pius XI once said: “We are all Semites.”

Finally, I would like to made this addition concerning that notorious question of deicide. In the earlier version of our document the Jewish people was declared innocent of the crime of deicide. We should recall that the older text was published throughout the entire world. If, therefore, these words of innocence are removed, it will appear to the world that the Council Fathers, after carefully considering the matter for a year, have decided that the Jewish people, as a whole, at least at the time of Christ, were truly guilty of the crime of deicide.

The Jews in this century have endured serious, indeed inhuman injustices. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ who pardoned his persecutors on the cross, I humbly beg that our declaration plainly say that the Jewish people as such are not guilty of the death of the Lord. It would certainly be unjust to declare all the Christians of Europe guilty of the slaughter of six [million] Jews in our day in Germany and Poland.

In our prayers before this congregation we used these words: “Holy Lord, who loves supreme righteousness, do not allow us to be disturbers of justice. I say it would be a disturbance of justice4 to condemn the Jewish people because of the death of Christ. I have spoken


In the text submitted:

1. Line 25 of the second declaration p. 1.

2. As I may say.

3. Line 18.

4. Similarly I say that it is unjust.


13. His Excellency Patrick Aloysius O’Boyle

Archbishop of Washington, D.C. (United States)

Venerable Brothers,

In speaking about the declaration On the Jews and Non-Christians, I would like to propose some improvements that are prompted by practical considerations that naturally arise in the mind of a bishop in whose native land a larger number of Jews lives than in any other nation throughout the entire world, and who are currently expressing objections aimed at the contents of this declaration.

It is true, that declaration is presented as the statement of the Catholic bishops, and is aimed primarily at Catholics. Nonetheless, the spirit of this declaration is ecumenical, and what it finally proposes will be intensely studied by the Jews, who are its primary concern. Therefore, the spirit, the style, and the language of this declaration must be directed toward an ecumenical purpose. The charity of Christ impels us to express our thoughts in such a way so as not to give occasion of offense needlessly, and at the same time to speak in a way that is intelligible to Jews and in harmony with the hope and aspirations of the Jewish spirit.

This fact does not mean that the truths of the Catholic faith have to be concealed through false “irenicism.” But actually it means that our statements should be completely precise and exact, and should be directed by the gift of wisdom, or “knowledge that is animated by charity” that pays attention to the historical context under which our words are understood in the mind of every Jew. I fear that the declaration does not in some respects conform to this norm. Truly, in some places the declaration is wanting in truth and fails to pay attention to the delicate sensibilities that history has created in the souls of the Jewish people.

The first example in found in no. 32, lines 23-27: “the uniting of the Jewish people with the Church” and “the access of this people . . . to the fullness of the people of God” immediately suggest to the Jewish mind the ardent desire of Catholics for the “conversion” of the Jews. This word “conversion” recalls to the Jewish mind the memory of persecutions, sorrows, and even forced denials of all the truths that a Jew subjectively and in good faith sincerely loves. When, therefore, he hears the Catholics’ desire to gain a “conversion,” the Jew thinks of the renewal of that “proselytism” that through several centuries violated his rights and his personal dignity.

Quite certainly, the conversion of the Jews and of all other peoples to the Catholic faith is the object of the hope of all Catholics. But, as St. Thomas states, a hope for the neighbor must be governed with moderation. We can never forget that the hope of the Jews’ conversion does not give certitude of a happy outcome. The destiny of the Jewish people depends completely on the dispositions of divine Providence and the grace of God. Therefore, if we express our hope in words that lead the Jews to interpret them as a definite and conscious intention to work for their conversion, we will build another high wall that separates us from a holy and fruitful dialogue with the Jewish people.1

Likewise, consideration for truth and charity impel me to repeat the opinion of His Eminence Cardinal Meyer, that in no. 32, lines 28-32 the declaration must be completely changed. In these lines, as they now read, the declaration proposes only one half of the truth, and most certainly will afford offense to Jews. In speaking of the Jews’ part in the death of Christ, the declaration says that what took place in the passion of Christ is not to be blamed on the Jews of our time. Such a statement differs from the words in the Catechism of the Council of Trent and in the Summa of St. Thomas (III, q. 47, a. 5 ad corpus) – namely, that none of the Jews of Christ’s time was formally guilty of the subject crime of deicide, and that a greater part of the Jews of their time were not formally and subjectively culpable for the injustice of Christ’s death. When these insertions are made, we will present the full truth that the Jews are hoping for and desiring. Only such a statement will liberate the Jews from the derision that has been placed upon them for several centuries. The charity of Christ impels us to declare such a statement.2 I have spoken. Thank you.


In the written text submitted:

1. I can add: In expressing the hope for conversion of the Jews and of all the other peoples, the declaration in lines 23-27 goes beyond the limits of precise Catholic teaching. For, in the declaration the text of St. Paul's epistle to the Romans 11, 15 is cited where the apostle uses words that are so indefinite and mysterious that even Catholic exegetes propose very different interpretations. Therefore, it would be better if we would admit the limitations of our knowledge, and the hidden ways of divine Providence. It would be better if we were to express our hope for the conversion of the Jews in such a way that the Jews themselves would understand our respect for their sincerity and our humble knowledge of the truth that the mystery of salvation does not depend on us, but on the sublime action of God. I, therefore, propose that the following words be substituted for the paragraph in question: “It is worth remembering that the uniting of the Jews and ourselves is part of Christian hope. The Church with unshaken faith and with an earnest desire looks forward to this union from God in his time, in a way that is hidden in His wisdom (cf. Rom 11, 25-26).

2. I conclude by suggesting that the declaration include an act of humility and contrition that alone can draw hearts, and that our Lord asked of His Church in its daily prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses.” A truly Christian declaration concerning the Jews cannot leave out the fact that through several centuries injustice and cruelty have been inflicted upon this people by some Christians. The best way to show our love for the people long ago chosen by God, a people from whom Jesus and Mary came, a people who even now are dear to God because of their virtues and piety, consists in this: that we formally seek forgiveness from the Jewish people for the sorrows and injustices with which some Christians have sullied the history of this people.


14. His Excellency Peter Sfair

Titular Archbishop of Nisibis of the Maronites (Turkey)

Venerable Brothers

In the draft On Ecumenism and especially where there is1 “the declaration On the Jews and Non-Christians2 we read concerning the Muslims: “who adore one God who is personal and the rewarder.” This is excellent, although insufficient. But it is further said about the same Muslims: “they have drawn closer to us both in a religious sense and in very many communications of human culture.”

An observation must be made about this phrase, and I shall do so in a very few words.3

In my previous4 written communication that was submitted to the secretariat of the Council,5 that was not read in the presence of the Fathers, I said that Mohammed said that Christ was called the Word of God and the Word of Truth, and that Mary was exalted above women of the entire universe. In that same place I intimated that Mohammed affirmed that Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the bosom of Mary. It is not a question, then, of merely the virginal birth of Christ, but of the virginal conception by the Supreme Spirit.6

Now, however, I add that some Holy Fathers, such as St. John Damascene, and St. Maximus and others,7 thought that Islam was a Christian heresy. They did not consider the Muslims infidels.8 Moreover, it may be noted that Mu‘āwiyah, who was closely acquainted with Mohammed, and who set up the first Caliphate in the Monarchy, and with which Caliph he was made temporal Sovran as well, this Mu‘āwiyah,9 I say, before he came into possession of the Empire, had recourse to Calvary for the sake of prayer, and he also prayed at the tomb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Under his reign, the Administrator of the imperial treasury and military expenses even in time of war was Ibn Sargun who was historically called “the most Christian of people,” and he was the grandfather of St. John Damascene. There were several Christians permanently engaged in that administration along with him. Furthermore, since religious liberty was recently discussed here, it helps to remember now what Mohammed said: let no force and constraint ever be allowed in religious affairs.10

Whatever may be true about the more recent and even of the earlier abuses, therefore, the religions of the Far East and of the other areas are not closer to Christianity than the religion of Islam because this Islamic religion includes Christian dogmas within its truths that must be believed.11

I could add many other things, but these should be sufficient for the conviction12 that there is not a question here of communications of human culture, that are undeservedly in this context,13 but about things that Islam proposes for belief, and demands that they believed. It is a question of things that must be believed and not of a religious sense. This phrase, therefore, has to be completely changed, in my humble opinion, changed and14 amplified in keeping with the points I made above. I am not saying that all of them have to be inserted, but at least some of them,15 so that the Muslims may not be justly offended because of the fuller exposition given concerning the Jews in the aforementioned declaration, and so that the Catholic missions, which are very many among the Muslims, may not because of offending them incur any loss or further losses.

I say “so that the Muslims may not be offended” because the it is known that there is hatred between the Muslims and the Jews from olden times and it has always existed and now exists16 and the worse thing is that it seeks its origin in the Koran. The responses of the Dominican Fathers’ Institute in Cairo and the responses of the most Reverend White Fathers’ Institute in Tunisia, mentioned in the Report (pp. 28-31) will not reach the Muslim people who are scattered in every area, just as the decrees of the Council that, as Cardinal Bea said, aroused interest in the entire world, will reach even among the common people and the illiterate.

Therefore, I can conclude by saying: Let the Highest Authorities see to it that the Catholic Missions do not incur loss. 17 I have spoken.


In the written text submitted:

1. in.

2. p. (8) 48.

3. Lacking.

4. Lacking.

5. Last year.

6. Lacking.

7. Lacking.

8. Lacking.

9. Lacking.

10. Thing.

11. Lacking.

12. Must be known.

13. Cf. p. (8) 48, lines 22-23.

14. Lacking.

15. Lacking.

16. Lacking

17. Lacking.


15. His Excellency Joseph Parecattil

Archbishop of Ernakulam (India)

Venerable Fathers,

I would like to say a few words about nos. 33-34 that concern non-Christians. Even though I willingly accept the things said there, this point, it seems to me, must be further developed; for the mission of the Church is to preach the gospel to every creature1 and to present to every living being in this world the means of salvation. Since a large part of humanity still remains ignorant of this good news, it is utterly clear that we have a certain serious obligation towards them. Conscious of that obligation, our Most Holy Father Paul VI recently established the Secretariat for Non-Christians.

In our draft, in the numbers cited above, there is an exhortation, and indeed rightly so, that we are to deal with charity with the non-Christians and it is even said there “that we should reverently consider the opinions and teaching that, although they disagree from our opinions and teaching in many ways, nonetheless reflect the ray of that truth that illumines every person as they come into the world.”

This suggestion is truly praiseworthy. It seems, however, that we can make even further progress and find the true foundations that require Christ’s revelation in the sacred books of non-Christian religions. As the apostle Paul says, “the whole creation has been groaning in travail together”2 as it waits for the full revelation of the Son of God.

This, however, is especially true of the sincere and devote followers of the major non-Christian religions like the Hindus. For their sacred books are true documents of this groaning for Christ.3 And so in the Upanishads, the sacred books of the Hindus, we can detect certainly true aspiration for God, the director and liberator. Still not knowing Christ they actually seek Him. From this fact of the Holy Spirit’s working in the hearts of nations, many conclusions of assuredly greatest importance for our goal follow:

1. Christ has to be represented not as completely extraneous and unknown to the sincere followers of non-Christian religions, but rather as the awaited one of their hearts who will superabundantly fulfill their expectations.

2. Conversion for purely temporal reasons and by means of external persuasion without a real internal conviction should be discouraged. It is proper to let the Word of God of itself and through the exemplary life of Christians exercise influence on the non-Christians.

3. In the present situation of the imminent danger of atheism and materialism, the Christian minister should use every diligence and prefer that the nations remain fervent in their native religion rather than be deprived of every religious sentiment. This precaution should apply especially in the case of non-Christians who attend Catholic schools.

4. In order to present Christ correctly, we should establish a sincere dialogue with non-Christians. In this way, the many prejudices that each party may have will disappear. In New Delhi in India we recently held such a conference of the representatives of various religions. A dialogue of this sort with non-Christians seems not only useful but also indeed necessary nowadays.

5. The Church should freely acknowledge her need to take to herself the good things in human religions and cultures. She should be incarnate in every culture and in every human value.4 The Church has taken into her worship several feasts and ceremonies from Egypt and Phoenicia, she has accepted human laws from Babylonia, she has used Greek philosophy in developing her5 teaching, and imitated the administrative organization of the Romans. By taking from them in this way She gave herself to the nations and evangelized them. It will, therefore, be most useful to study the most ancient religions, e.g. of India and China, whose culture and philosophy are completely original and most ancient. The Catholicity of the Church demands that She enter into dialogue with these religions that, by learning their way of thinking and of conceiving, She may in a fuller and more intelligible way propose the divine, ineffable mystery to human beings.

If we acknowledge the invisible working of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the nations and admit that everyone sincerely seeking God is acceptable to Him, we should recognize also some unity of all the adorers of God in Spirit and in truth. It is fitting for us to express externally this unity by avoiding the scandal as well as the danger of indifferentism: namely by calling together interreligious groups for study and prayer, by letting even non-Christians pray in our Churches, and finally by active cooperation with them in social, political, cultural and moral affairs we can in some way now incipiently express this unity until all the servants of God are gathered together in His one Church. I have spoken.


In the written text submitted:

1. I.e., to communicate the good news of redemption.

2. Rom 8, 12 [sic] [read 22].

3. If we in some way acknowledge divine providence in the histories of these nations just as in the history of the chosen people, we can call their sacred books, as genuine expressions of religious sentiment, a certain universal Testament.

4. positive.

5. her.


16. His Excellency Lawrence Cardinal Shehan

Archbishop of Baltimore (United States)

Venerable Fathers,

Inasmuch as all the arguments, in my opinion, for the declaration On the Jews have been quite strongly and well treated, I would like to submit my observations to the general secretary in writing.

The text submitted in writing:

I speak in the name of almost all the bishops of the United States of America.

We are in general very pleased with this declaration. The first part of this declaration really ought to promote mutual and friendly relations between the Church and her children and the Jews. In it our esteem, benevolence and charity toward the Jews should be so expressed that they may be correctly understood by the Jews so that the Jewish people may be well disposed to receive the light of all truth.

For our part, while strictly adhering to the same truth is to be taken for granted, we must first keep before our eyes two principles in presenting those issues that touch upon the abovementioned points:

1) Nothing should be said that would seem to be gratuitously offensive to the Jews.

2) One must openly state all those things that we deem necessary to remove from our midst the sources of disagreements between us and the Jews.

Because of these mentioned principles I propose the following improvements to the text of the declaration:

1) Under the direction of the principle “of not saying anything that would seem gratuitously offensive to the Jews,” let the words on page 7, lines 23-27, inclusive, be removed from the declaration.

The reason for this deletion is: All Catholics well know the duty they have to hope, to pray, and to work “for the access of this people to the fullness of the people of God that Christ has established.” All non-Catholics as well, and the Jews are no exception, well know this desire of the Church. What is the point of repeating this statement in our declaration?

In the context of the declaration, these words, produced, as it were, to complete our teaching, instead affords a ground for suspicion on the part of the Jews of what kind of benevolence they manifest on the part of the Church. For the Jews take these words, in this very short declaration, rather as the hope of destroying the Jewish nation as such rather than the hope of the glorious culmination of the destiny of the same people. And such words are all the more taken as offensive since there is not even a word found in the whole declaration about the conversion of the Muslims or of other non-Christians. If indeed the Fathers judge that it was proper to make an explicit mention of the union with the Church of all people, whom, actually, God wishes to be saved, the least unsuitable place to speak about this subject would be at the end or conclusion of the declaration.

2. Under the directive of the second principle "of openly speaking those things that are necessary to remove the sources of disagreements,” we think that three improvements have to be made.

a) The Ecumenical Council must condemn utterly and in the very same words without any ambiguity or timid reservation the accusation of the crime of deicide.

The very Eminent reporter [Cardinal Bea] very clearly explained that the Jews, even those at the time of Christ and living in Palestine, according to the testimony of Sacred Scripture, were not formally guilty of the crime of deicide. Then, it is false and unjust to ascribe such a monstrous crime to the Jews, either collectively as a people, or as individuals, of that time or any other time. But for centuries now, but in different ways, this accusation has been part of that obscure aggregate of ideas and passions that nurture and foster antisemitism. In the minds of the Jews of our age this accusation is one of the more significant causes of antisemitism and especially of the detested manifestation of antisemitism that led in this century to the tragedy of the Jewish people that is indeed a sorrowful memory for all of us. If the Supreme Pontiff did not hesitate to remove from the Latin Liturgy of the sixth day of the Second Week in the Time of the Passion of Our Lord the sufficiently ancient words “perfidious” and “perfidy (treachery)” in relation to the Jews, lest they be understood incorrectly, how much more should we condemn the accusation of deicide that is simply false and unjust.

I propose, therefore, that in line 30, page 7 after the word “let them show” these words be added: “or let them be denounced as deicides.”

b) I propose that in line 31 of the same page these words be substituted “to produce hatred and contempt for the Jews” in place of “to alienate from the Jews.”

The reason for this improvement is – that in view of the modern tragedy of the Jewish people, that was recalled above, the words in the text seem too weak. The statement containing the words that really express the force of antisemitism seem more suitable.

c) Finally, on the same page, lines 28-32, let the sentence order be so changed that the entire section reads as follows: “Therefore, let all take care lest, either in giving catechesis and preaching the word of God, or in daily conversations they present the Jewish people as a condemned nation, or accuse them of deicide and lest they charge the Jews of our times for the things that were committed in the Passion of Christ. Finally, let them be careful not to say anything else or to do anything that could produce in [people's] minds hatred or contempt for the Jews.

The reason for this improvement is that there be a better order in the section, as it goes from particulars in the first sentence to the pronouncement of a general principle in the second. Otherwise the first sentence, as found in the text, would seem as if it were some sort of postscript and addition.

In addition to the concerns of justice and truth which should be paramount, we who have already lived as neighbors with the Jews for many years, and amicably meet with them, know other excellent reasons for a clear, sincere, and frank declaration that the Council has to produce without any hesitation. The welfare of the Church in our country depends especially upon the good will both of Catholics and non-Catholics. In order for the Church to remain free in these lands from the trials that can arise from weakening taxes, and in order that our schools – which should be listed among the major causes of the strength of the Church in the United States – may receive from the civil government certainly the assistance, owed to it, we must not only be just but must also appear just. The declaration concerning the Jews will make a very great contribution to this end since nothing that is gratuitously offensive may be found in it and nothing that it should clearly and openly declare has been left unsaid.


17. His Excellency Joseph Attipetty

Archbishop of Verapoly (India)

Venerable Brothers,

May I be permitted to make the following observation in the name of very many bishops of India.1

In line 20, page 8,2 one reads “Let us in this way embrace especially also the Muslims ...” Such a statement seems to have to be expressed in another way. For, we should embrace with the same charity Muslims and others, whether devoted to Hinduism, or Buddhists, or followers of Confucius, etc. This kind of preference for the Muslims seems offensive and liable to equivocal interpretations. Nor does this fact that is pointed out in the draft, give support: “they adore one God, who is personal and rewarder, with a religious sense and draw closer to us with very many sharings of human culture.”

1. Because quite a few other human beings devoted to Hinduism adore a personal God who is also a rewarder, and are endowed with an intimate religious sense.

2. The fact that the Muslims draw closer to us than other people is merely historical: now, however, we intend to draw closer to the people of these religions of India and Africa, and they themselves also wish to draw close to us.

I would prefer that the sentence be changed in this way: “Let us especially embrace all those who adore God and are endowed with a religious sense, as happens among the Muslim, the Hindus, and very many other worshippers of the religions of Asia, Africa, and other nations.” I have spoken.

In the written text submitted:

1. No. 32. This section is satisfactory to a degree. In lines 31-32, in place of “Let them take care not [to ascribe] to the Jews of our time the things which. . .” let it read: “Let them take care not [to ascribe] to the Jews what in the Passion ...” I explain: what happened in the Passion of Christ is to be attributed to the persons who took part in them. The collective guilt of the entire Jewish nation, by the very fact that the people of that time belonged to it, is not to be admitted either or the moral plain or on the juridical plain.

2. 21, page (8) 48.


18. His Excellency Daniel Raymond Lamont

Bishop of Umtali (Zimbabwe)

Venerable Brothers,

In his report His Eminence Cardinal Bea1 so clearly and honestly indicated why we are dealing with the Jews in the Council2 that no doubt should any longer remain concerning the question in the minds, indeed, of those who3 continue to repeat that this sort of question was introduced into the Council for reasons that (to say the least) were not theological. Along with the reporter [Cardinal Bea], let us say again and again that the question, now under consideration, has absolutely no hint of political opportunism or of any other reason whatsoever that would be less worthy of the Council’s toil.4

Because (as our most Eminent reporter said) many will pass a good or poor judgment about the Council on the basis of the approval or non-approval of this declaration, and since, as far as possible, all suspicion of political consideration must be further removed, it seems to me to make a big difference if this declaration On the Jews and Non-Christians5 would seem logically united with the earlier declaration. For such a connection exists, even if this is no so apparent according to the present disposition of the two declarations.6

Therefore, I propose that the order of paragraphs be changed a bit in the second declaration so that paragraph 33 be treated first7 and immediately afterwards that paragraph “On the common patrimony of the Christians with the Jews.” In this way the material would appear like this: First, “concerning religious liberty,” where the principles concerning our relation towards all people are put forth; secondly, as it was flowing from these principles, the discussion of the paragraph8 “All people have God as their Father”;9 finally, “concerning the Jews,” who have such intimate relations with us in the history of Divine Providence.

When this sequence of the issues has been set up, it seems to me, that it would be more clearly apparent that we are dealing with the Jews in the Council because we are moved by theological reason, and only these.10 It happens that the logical order that progresses from the genus to the species supports this point.

Nor could anyone reasonably say – if we undertake to treat of the Jews in the first place after all people taken generically – that we are heaping too much honor on the chosen people of the Old Covenant: consideration of the action of God in relation to us does not assert otherwise.11 Is not the chosen people of the Old Covenant the rock from which the chosen people of the New Covenant are chiseled? Not to treat of our brothers, the Jews, in the Council12 would be as absurd as to compose a history of Europe without making mention of the Roman Empire!13

Secondly. In paragraph 3214 we read these words: “Therefore let them all be careful, either in handing on catechesis and preaching the word of God or in daily conversations, not to present the Jewish people as a condemned nation.” That is an excellent sentence indeed, but I ask the question: Is it necessary for the Council to introduce this admonition, and expressed in such words? Is antisemitism really so widespread in the Church in our days that the Council has to threaten the catechists and preachers not to make any statement against the Jews? I am not convinced of this. Indeed, from my own experience I can testify that both in my native land and in so-called mission lands I have never heard in catechesis or in preaching Jews condemned as an accursed nation. Moreover I am certain that among us who are present here no one has ever permitted or does permit the preaching of such a hateful teaching.

I think that we must proceed cautiously, lest while we excuse the Jews we may unjustly declare ourselves guilty of a crime, or lest we bequeath to future ages the suspicion that in this time the Church of God or any bishop who represents the Church was guilty of this crime. The Jews themselves do not accuse us of this, and therefore, it would be wantonly unseemly to burden ourselves with the sins of others. I ask, therefore, that, in another way, very clearly, however, and without any ambiguity, we express, in a more positive fashion,15 our sincere desire that all Christians hold the Jewish people in honor.

Finally, may it be permitted to hope that the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity may also continue after the Council, lest the work that it has so happily begun and the rich fruits that have come from it come into peril. I have spoken


In the written text submitted:

1. He already explained why we were dealing with the Jews in the Council; and this.

2. He made.

3. I do not know why --.

4. We can never repeat this enough.

5. (I do not know why this tautology is permitted in the title).

6. And so, I say for the attainment of our goal, it would be completely better if that connection were clearly seen to exist.

7. “All people have God as their Father.”

8. The title to which.

9. Where it is shown that all people are brothers in the divine family.

10. Lacking.

11. Are not we Christians spiritually the children of Shem, and do we not discover our origin in Judaism?

12. Pastoral.

13. For the rest, those who do not understand this or do not want to understand it, and assign to us motives that are less worthy because we make mention of the Jews in the Council, either do not want to behold the truth or manifest a crass and supine ignorance of the history of humanity.

14. Lines 28-32.

15. In the most solemn way possible.


19. His Excellency Jerome Joseph Podestà

Bishop of Avellaneda (Argentina)

Venerable Fathers, Observers, dearly beloved Male and Female Auditors,

You are already satiated. You have already been made rich. Since, however, I speak in the name of several bishops of Latin American I will say something about the declaration concerning the Jews. Namely1 let us say that we are very pleased with the idea of this declaration, both because of the form of the declaration, and because of the text itself.2

For, the form of the declaration involves a certain character of solemnity that is consonant with the seriousness of the subject being treated.3

As far as the text itself is concerned, it should be noted that it has proved to be richer4 than the earlier text that was proposed last year;5 with, of course, the addition of the mention of universal fraternity, and the special mention of the Muslims, of which certainly some of the Oriental Fathers do not quite approve, and6 the explicit condemnation of every kind of discrimination, all of which reflect the mind of our Supreme Pontiff in his Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam suam, recently published.7 Nonetheless, some proposals can be offered8 for a better understanding, as it seems9 of the text, which should be read and will be read not only by Catholics, but even by non-Christians.10 Therefore, it is proposed:11

1. In lines 31 ff, no. 32 where it is stated: “Let them take care moreover not to charge the Jews of our time with what was done in the Passion of Christ” – after the word moreover, let the following words be added:12 “lest they charge the Jewish people, as such, and much less the Jews of our day with deicide,” etc, as is found in the text cited above.13 Then at the end of this sub-paragraph let these words be added (they are partly from the earlier text of the draft) namely:14 “in the economy of salvation, that includes all people15 the Lord Himself washed away with His passion and death the sins of all people that were the cause of the Passion and Death of Our Lord."16 The reason for both additions is: the accusation of deicide, that is even now sometimes brought against the Jews as if they were a condemned nation17 is not theologically tenable, and brings great harm, as is obvious, to the esteem and dignity of the Jews themselves. The words thereafter are found in the first version of the draft.18

2. It would be better to transfer the proposition of eschatological hope, expressed in lines 23-28 of the same no. 32, to the end of no. 33, namely after the mention of the other non-Christian religions and Muslims, and, with the text so changed, so that in addition to the expectation of the uniting of the Jewish people with the Church in the one people God, there would also be an expression of the desire of the uniting of all people in the Kingdom of God. The reason is: according to the apostle in the epistle to the Romans19 the entire fullness of the nations ought to enter that then “Israel becomes saved.” Moreover, there is a danger that the Jews may understand these words, in the passage where they are now read,20 as directed to achieve their conversion while saying nothing similar about the other religions. Indeed, on the other hand the expectation21 of our eschatological union with the people of Israel is utterly special,22 and has23 a special place in the New Testament.

The proposed text is as follows: “The Church firmly believes that all people are called to pursue unity in the Kingdom of God; it considers the achievement of this unity, by the ministry of the word and by example, to be a special part of its office. Moreover, it is worth remembering that the mystery of the unification of the Jewish people with the Church is a part of Christian hope.”

3. At the end of no. 32 it would be useful to add an explicit declaration to preclude and avoid any political interpretation of the text concerning the Jews. This declaration could be expressed in almost these words: “The Holy Synod openly declares that all the things said here about the Jews have only a religious meaning, without in any way originating from political consideration, or being aimed at political ends. Therefore, it would not be right24 to twist this doctrinal declaration into any political meaning whatsoever, as if the Council had wished to speak for or against anyone in political affairs.”

The reason is, as seems quite evident, because of the complicated question of the Middle East.

A certain minor observation:25 in line 6 of no. 32, “out of the land of slavery” might be better expressed “Out of the land of exile,” lest either Egypt or Mesopotamia (i.e. present-day Iraq) be bothered by this name. Thank you.


In the written text submitted:

1. Lacking.

2. Which, nonetheless, seems to need some improvements.

3. For, it is better to deal with this thing in a certain special declaration rather than in the chapter of the draft On Ecumenism as was earlier done.

4. Under some aspects.

5. Lacking.

6. Concerning.

7. Lacking.

8. Therefore.

9. Lacking.

10. And indeed especially by the Jews whom it concerns, and whose great expectation it is, as we rightly know from the text itself.

11. We propose some.

12. In its place let it be said: let them, moreover, take care.

13. Let those things that took place in the Passion of Christ be attributed.

14. Finally, one must always bear in mind that.

15. Lacking.

16. Cf. Lk 23, 34; Act 3, 17; 1Cor 2, 8.

17. It is historically not well founded in regard to the people as such and.

18. And there does not seem to be a reason for their deletion, but, on the other hand, it affords an occasion for a false interpretation.

19. 11, 25.

20. Let them defile the simplicity of intention of this declaration.

21. The expectation, it must be confessed.

22. To be special.

23. To obtain.

24. And therefore not right.

25. Lacking.

[Names of the bishop who concur:] Chile; Silva Henriquez, Silva Silva, Salas Valdès, Valle, Valenzuela, Fresno, Castro, Tagle, Larraín, Salinas, Sánchez B., Oviedo, Yañez, Hartl, Santos, Piñera, Durán, Menchaca, Gillmore. Paraquay: Benitez. Bogarin, Maricevich, Sosa. Uruquay: Balaguer, Cabrera, Cárceres, Mendiharat, Nuti, Partelli, Viola, Baccino. Ecuador: Garaigordobil. Mexico: Méndez Arceo. Bolivia: Manríquez, Gutierrez. Argentina: Plaza, Segura, Quarracino, Pironio, Devoto, Aguirre, Tato, Zaspe, Angelelli.


20. His Excellency Joseph Tawil

Titular Archbishop of Myra, vicar of the patriarchate of the Melchites (United States)

Venerable Fathers,

We may not discern a definite object or purpose for this draft. Is it a question of affirming that the Church originated out of the Synagogue; that Christ, and his Holy Mother and apostles took their origin from the chosen people, from the people of the Sacred Scriptures and prophets? No one denies this.

Is it a question of absolving the Jewish nation of our day from the murder of our Lord Jesus Christ? But Christ Himself spared them, and all Christians, worthy of this name, have to do the same. Or do we wish to avoid the fact that the Jews of our time are judged responsible for the crimes of their fathers? But this crime can no more be ascribed to them than original sin, many national crimes, and genocides can be ascribed to all of humanity.

Or does the conciliar declaration want to condemn antisemitism under all its forms, discrimination based on race or religion, etc.? But, if such is the case, why are we considering only the Israelites? Or should not this most holy Council also reverently remember, e.g., the Christian Churches "of silence” that are suffering persecution for the faith?

The most holy Synod has always with extraordinary care weighed the effects of it acts and declarations. Now, however, doesn’t this declaration that is friendly to the Jews touch upon a white-hot problem indeed and one that has not yet died out? Does not this declaration threaten the dangerous and unhappy land of Palestine, out of which thousands upon thousands of Arabs were unjustly and violently expelled, stripped of their lands and homes by the people in whose favor the Council is making this declaration? Does not this declaration in a single moment bring on the danger of alienating the complete sympathy of these peoples from the Catholic Church? What is the point of the Council’s declaration about the Muslims when their friendship1 is already lost? Now, indeed, is this what the Council is pursuing? Didn’t the most Eminent Cardinal Bea from the first day declare that we must choose an open-door policy? This way of acting is rather to close the door, not to open it.

Venerable Fathers! Quite a few drafts, during the Council, have been changed because their pastoral or ecumenical character was insufficient. Under this heading, some small works were completely refused. We earnestly beg of the Council Fathers that they judge inopportune a declaration that could bring serious damage to the Church, and of itself alienate the entire Muslim peoples.2 We beg finally that they vote non placet [it does not please] and that another declaration be put in place of this one, that would condemn antisemitism and any other discrimination. I have spoken.


In the written text submitted:

1. Affection.

2. Lacking.


21. His Excellency Joseph Descuffi

Archbishop of Smyrna (Turkey)

Venerable Fathers,

Pardon me, the unfortunate last speaker.1 In the new and suitable draft of the decree On Ecumenism the second declaration concerning the Jews and Non-Christians also seems useful for the defense of the memory of Pope Pius XII in regard to the calumnies made concerning this affair in the world. But because this declaration is inspired3 not by human feelings but by a Spirit of faith and2 by pure charity toward all non-Christians, we hope, not in vain, that it will produce in their hearts, with God’s help, good benefits of fraternity and cooperation, and not bitter fruit of discordant4 suspicion or even political disturbance. I saw with5 joy at the end of paragraph 336 the name called of the Muslims7 who are connected with our common father Abraham not through Israel but through Agar’s son Ishmael.

We cannot deny what is said in this passage about their faith in one God, who is personal and a rewarder, about their religious sense, about their access, in certain areas,8 to a more perfect degree of human culture. Indeed, may I be permitted, in their praise, to add that many elements common with our own, from which they were borrowed, are found in their religion. Granted that they do not know the Trinity, the Incarnation and Redemption, they do, however, acknowledge Jesus Christ as the true9 prophet ...

Moderator: Your Excellency, other Fathers have already said this. Please, conclude because your time has already elapsed.

Speaker: ... and teach that he will come to judge the living and the dead, even the Muslims. They affirm many miracles10 and his miraculous birth. They acknowledge the Blessed Virgin Mary’s immaculate conception, her purity, her virginity, and her singular perfection, and praying to her as their Mother with a devout and sincere heart, they confidently beg and obtain marvelous favors, healings, and indeed I will say miracles.

What I am now reporting is not the fruit of imagination or exaggeration along with the hope of some gain, but the fruit of ten years of experience, that I saw with my own eyes in the city of Ephesus, in a place called Panaga Kapulu, namely, the House of Mary, of Our Lady Mary.11 Ten years ago, we saw about a hundred thousand Muslims a year join with about the same number of Christians, and together with them, and this is the only place in the world that this happens, venerate the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus!

If in these singular acts, we can join the Muslims: the observance of the natural law written in the Decalogue, alms, fasting, and prayer, the exercise of hospitality, it is permissible for us to find them nearer to the Jews.

Therefore, if a divine dialogue has already happily begun with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Muslims, why will we not express the hope for an earthly12 dialogue with them, that is humanly based on sincerity and charity, with the desire for peaceful cooperation, along with real religious liberty, on the social and political level, so that it would be clear to all that we embrace in the same charity, all our brothers and sisters as human beings13 children of God so that the truth and true14 happiness, that God promised to those of good will, may benefit all.15


In the written text submitted:

1. Lacking.

2. That

3. Lacking.

4. Lacking.

5. Great.

6. Page 8.

7. Inscribed.

8. Lacking.

9. Lacking.

10. They tell of [miracles] done by him that are unfortunately taken from apocryphal gospels.

11. Lacking.

12. Lacking.

13. Lacking.

14. Lacking.

15. I have already handed over to the Secretariat for Non-Christians observations about the way of dealing in dialogue with the Muslims and the rest of the non-Christians, and I here bring to an end my speech lest I bore you.