Rome’s Full Text
Ecumenical Declaration On Jews
The following appeared in Vol.4, No. 4 (Winter 1966) of the
Bible Light Magazine, then edited by Elmer Josephson)
ROME (JTA) – The full text of the declaration relating to
Jews which was approved in the Ecumenical Council by an overwhelming
majority of 1,673 to 250, and promulgated by Pope Paul VI on October 28 as a
decree of the Roman Catholic Church, reads as follows:
“The Council searched into the mystery of the Church and remembers the bond
that spiritually ties the people of the New Testament to Abraham’s stock.
“The Church acknowledges that according to God’s saving
design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are already found among
the Patriarchs, Moses and the Prophets. She professes that all who believe
in Christ – Abraham’s sons, according to the faith – are included in
Abraham’s call. The Church cannot forget that she received the Revelation of
the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His ineffable mercy
concluded the ancient Covenant.
“Indeed, the Church believes that by His Cross, Christ
reconciled Jews and Gentiles making both one in Himself.
“The Church recalls that Christ, the Virgin Mary, the
Apostles, as well as most of the early Disciples, sprang from the Jewish
“Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her visitation, nor
did the Jews, for the most part, accept the Gospel; indeed, many opposed its
“Nevertheless God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of
the Fathers, His gift and call are irrevocable. In company with the Prophets
and Paul the Apostle, the Church awaits that day, known to God alone, on
which all peoples will address the Lord in a single voice and ‘serve Him
shoulder to shoulder.’ Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians
and Jews is so great, the Council wants to foster and recommend a mutual
knowledge and respect which is the fruit, above all, of Biblical and
theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues.
“Although the Jewish authorities and those who followed
their lead pressed for the death of Christ, nevertheless what happened to
Christ in His Passion cannot be attributed to all Jews without distinction,
then alive, nor to the Jews of today.
“Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews
should not be presented as rejected by God or accused, as if this follows
from Holy Scriptures.
“May all see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in
preaching the Word of God, they do not teach anything that is inconsistent
with the truth of the Gospel and with the spirit of Christ.
“Moreover the Church, which rejects every persecution
against any man, mindful of the common patrimony with the Jews and moved not
by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, deplores hatred,
persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism directed against Jews at any time
and by anyone.
“As the Church has always held and holds now, Christ
underwent His Passion and death freely, because of the sins of men and out
of infinite love, in order that all may reach salvation. It is, therefore,
the burden of the Church’s preaching to proclaim the Cross of Christ as the
sign of God’s all-embracing love and as the fountain from which every grace
“We cannot call on God, the Father of all, if we refuse to
treat in a brotherly way any man, created as he is in the image of God.
Man’s relation to God the Father and his relation to men his brothers are so
linked together that Scripture says: ‘He who does not love does not know
“The foundation is therefore removed from any theory or
practice that leads to discrimination between man and man or people and
people, insofar as their human dignity and rights flowing from it are
“The Church thus reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ,
any discrimination against men or harassment of them because of their race,
color condition in life or religion. On the contrary, the Council ardently
implores the Christian faithful to ‘maintain good fellowship among the
nations’ and if possible to live for their part in peace with all men, so
that they may truly be sons of the Father who is in heaven.”