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 people.

“Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her visitation, nor did the Jews, for the most part, accept the Gospel; indeed, many opposed its spreading.

“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.

Jews Absolved

“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 flows.

Discrimination Forbidden

“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 God.’

“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 concerned.

“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.” -