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SIDIC Periodical XXV - 1992/2
Spain and the Jews 1492-1992 (Pages 18 - 26)

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The Church and the Jewish People - Twenty'five years after the Second Vatican Council (1963-65)
Pier Francesco Fumagalli


The numerous meetings, celebrations, publications (1) which have marked the 25th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, highlight its historical importance. There were outstanding initiatives in several continents on the theme of the relations of the Church with the Jewish People, which culminated in a solemn commemoration at the Vatican on 5/6 December 1990 (2). This indicates that Nostra Aetate and the whole complex of teaching on the Jews in the Conciliar documents contained a message that is universal and always relevant for the Church and the modern world (3).


Some essential aspects of this journey of kinship and reconciliation between Church and Synagogue during the last 25 years can be expressed in biblical categories. For example "Song of Ascents" towards Jerusalem (Ps. 120-134). Trust in God who watches over Israel (Ps. 121 I will lift up my eyes to the Mountains), joy and petition for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122 I rejoiced when I heard them say...), the return of the exiles (Ps. 126: When the Lord turned back the captivity of Sion), the song of kinship (Ps. 133: Behold how good and how pleasant it is), are among the sentiments which comfort and lighten the heart on a path which is not always easy, at times rough and dangerous (4), which demands courage and loyal solidarity in persevering hope and active expectation of the full manifestation of God the Redeemer.


From the historical perspective we can recall the chief steps from the announcement of the Council on 25 January 1959 until today. Pope John XXIII directed Cardinal Augustine Bea to prepare the document on the Jews (5), and the meeting between the Pope and the Jewish historian Jules Isaac took place on 13 June 1960. Pope Paul VI received the legacy from John XXIII and enriched it with prophetic gestures: the pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1964, the encyclical Ecclesiarn Suam in which he referred to the Jews as "truly worthy of our reverence and love". After the promulgation of Nostra Aerate in 1966, the Vatican Office for Catholic-Jewish Relations was established and Cardinal Bea entrusted it to the care of Rev. Adriaan Cornelius Rijk ( + 1979). After the death of Cardinal Bea in 1968, Cardinal Johannes Willebrands became President of the Secretariat for the Unity of Christians and the Office for relations with the Jews which was linked with it. Archbishop (now Cardinal) Edward I Cassidy succeeded him in 1990.

Continuing previous practice, Paul VI in the Apostolic Constitution Regimini Ecclesiae Universae (15 August 1967) laid down that the Secretariat for Christian Unity "has competence in matters concerning religious relations with the Jews" (6). On 22 October 1974 the Pepe set up the Commission for Promoting Religious Relations with the Jews as a distinct entity, but linked to the Secretariat. Pope John Paul II, in the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, 28 June 1988, changed the term Secretariat to Pontifical Council and described its functions (art. 135-137). He said "Within the Council there exists the Commission for investigating and dealing with matters which concern the Jews with respect to religion; the President of the said Council is its moderator" (7).


An official dialogue between the Catholic Church and representatives of international Jewish organizations began in 1970 with the setting up of a joint liaison committee, (International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee), which has held 14 meetings (8). In 1974 the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with Judaism published Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing Nostra A etate (no. 4) and in 1985 the Notes for Catholic Education on Jews and Judaism.

A new period began with the inspiring visit of Pope John Paul II to the Rome Synagogue on 13 April 1986, and was followed by the World Prayer for Peace at Assisi on 27 October. These years have been characterized by papal activity in regard to the Jews without precedent in history (9). Many Cardinals and Archbishops and Episcopal Conferences have followed the example of the Pope and implemented the teaching of the Council, promulgating documents and initiating dialogue and educational programmes (10). The Italian Episcopal Conference instituted an annual day of study and meeting with the Jews in 1989 (I I), and in Poland 20 January 1991 was dedicated to reflection on the Bishops' letter concerning the Jews.

Among the difficulties and set-backs that have given rise to mistrust and loss of momentum on both sides are the criticism of the Papal audience granted to the Austrian President, Kurt Waldheim, the lack of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel and the Carmelite Convent established in the "old theatre" at Auschwtz in 1984 (12). Nevertheless 1990 saw some notable progress. In particular:

— On 16 February construction began on the new Carmeletite convent, towards which Pope John Paul II made a generous contribution. Work has advanced rapidly thanks to the "Cracow Foundation for the Centre of Information, Meeting, Dialogue, Education and Prayer at Auschwitz" and the "International Programming Council" presided over by Rev. Jean Dujardin, set up on 7 April 1991;

— An important symposium (of a private nature) of Catholic theologians and exegetes, on the theme of the Jewish People in the mystery of Salvation, was held in Rome in August;
The long-awaited 13th meeting of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee took place in Prague from 3-6 September on the subject of the Shoah and Antisemitism. A common document was published.

— The twenty-fifth anniversary of Nostra Aetate was solemnly commemorated at Rome on 5 and 6 December.

We give thanks to the God of Mercy who "is guiding Christians and Jews to mutual awareness, respect, co-operation and solidarity" (John Paul 6 December 1990).


This brief reference to the biblical and historical approaches serves to introduce an exegetical and theological reflection, which in turn will lead to a fuller historical and systematic perspective in the full sense of history of salvation, and to some pastoral and ecclesial conclusions for the future of religious relations with the Jews. More than ever the Church today needs a correct understanding and deep appreciation of the meaning and value of the permanence of the Jewish People who remain "beloved of God" (Roms. 11:28). According to the principle Lex orandi, lex credendi, reflection on the revised Good Friday prayer for the Jews can help in this process:

"Let us pray for the Jewish people,
the first to hear the word of God,
that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant" (Roman Missal ed. 1983)

This prayer indicated the right approach to the "mystery" concerning Israel (Rom. 11:25) or the People of Israel. However in order to forestall any possible equivocation or misunderstanding it should be made clear that the term "People" is used in the expressly religious and theological sense ('am People (of God) goy, qadosh Gens sancta). Such a meaning does not eliminate the ethnic aspect, but rather presupposes it without it becoming the determining factor. This explanation will prevent me from sliding into the legitimate but distinct category of a social or political type when the expressions "people of Israel", "nation", "state" are introduced in a sociological or secular sense (13). Pope John Paul II in his recent statement quoted some Catholic authors who have emphasized Israel as "mystery": Geremia Bonomelli in 1909, Jacques Maritain and Thomas Merton in the 1960s (14).

Once the correct theological perspective has been rigorously defined, it should be easier, with the help of biblical and historical studies, to extend and deepen, as the foundation and premise for adequate theological reflection, the two series of preliminary considerations already introduced — namely, the biblical and historical. An example of the synthesis of exegetical research and historical experience was given by Rev. F. Mussner at the Prague meeting already referred to (15). Another example of exegesis which tries to take account of the concrete field of history is the reflection on "People, Nation and Land" (16). These examples and sections of the bibliography mentioned above, prove that in matters such as exegetical studies on the "mystery of Israel" and on the Covenant of God with Israel, research and its results are solidly guaranteed (17). According to present indications they will be open to future development.

The historical aspect seems more delicate and complex, either because events are sometimes contradictory and difficult to interpret (18) or because Catholic writers tend to evaluate dogmatic data to the detriment of the historical. The two-thousand years old relationship between Church and Synagogue cannot be approached without accurate and objective historical analysis. This analysis must be free from prejudicial ideas of collective guilt (19), yet conscious of the personal sin of humanity and of the Church and animated by a sense of humility, solidarity and common responsibility (20). The Second Vatican Council, by declaring that "the Church deplores all hatred and persecution of Jews and all manifestations of antisemitism (N.A.4) has given an impetus to the study and research of antisemitism and its religious motivation in the last two centuries and throughout history (21). In this context it is easier to understand the affirmation of John Paul II in 1982:

"Certainly, since the appearance two thousand years ago of a new branch from the common root, relations between our two communities have been marked by the misunderstandings and resentments with which we are familiar. And if, since the day of the separation, there have been misunderstandings, errors, indeed offences, it is now our task to leave these behind with understanding, peace and mutual respect. The terrible persecution suffered by the Jews in different periods of history have finally opened the eyes of many and appalled many people's hearts. Christians have taken the right path, that of justice and brotherhood, in seeking to come together with their Semitic brethren, respectfully and perseveringly, in the common heritage, a heritage that all value so highly" (22).

Still clearer is the condemnation of antisemitism as "a sin against God and humanity" in Prague on September 6 1990. This condemnation was solemnly repeated by the Pope on 16 November (I.S. 75, 1990, p. 173). Referring to this statement and to the general principles implied, Archbishop Edward Cassidy thus affirmed the necessity of a spirit of conversion: "That antisemitism has found a place in Christian thought and practice calls for an act of Teshuvah, repentance, and of reconciliation" (23). The same demand for rigorous historical truth should lead us to avoid unjust and superficial generalisations. We should instead emphasize the constant, though minor, trend towards Christian philosemitism evident in the medieval school of St. Victor as well as in the work of J. Reuchlin and the Christian Cabbalists. It is still gaining strength at the end of the twentieth century; it was suppressed during the Nazi regime but reasserted itself at the time of the Council (24).

Only in the light of a general and complete history of the relations between Church and Synagogue, especially an attentive examination of the attitude of the Church between the First and Second Vatican Councils will it be possible to winderstand, not only the novelty of this attitude and the ground covered in the last twenty-five years, but also its continuity with the essential and perennial elements of Church doctrine and tradition. There is, for instance, no sign of anti-judaism in any of the formulae of the supreme Rule of Faith, the Apostles' Creed. There are, on the contrary, clear echoes of the essential elements of Jewish belief: God, Creator, and Father, Redemption, Messianic Hope, Divine Inspiration, Forgiveness of sin, Resurrection of the dead, Eternal life. Many of these themes can be fruitfully studied by Catholics both alone and in dialogue and co-operation with Jews, together with the God who reveals himself in his Word and in the history of salvation.

Meanwhile we must await the outcome of more complete biblical and historical research. We must not avoid the task of continuing and elaborating at least provisionally a schematic synthesis, both theoretical and theological, from which to draw concrete pastoral conclusions.


In pursuing these further objectives, once again there are questioners, Jews and others, who sometimes ask radical questions: — Has the Church renounced the aim of the "conversion of Israel"? Or does it consider the Jewish People to be something like a community of "anonymous Christians"? (there seems to be in this type of question an implicit critique, marked with prejudice, if there were to be a subsequent positive response from the Christian side).

— In what sense does the Church affirm that the Jewish people today are still called by God with a special vocation?

— Can the State of Israel have a positive theological meaning in the eyes of Christians?

— Does the Church recognize the error of Christian anti-Judaism and show respect for the sites where the Shoah was carried out, especially Auschwitz?

— How does the "Compendium of Catholic Doctrine" (the so-called "Universal Catechism") speak about the Jews? (26).

With regard to methodology, it should be noted that these questions have a different resonance according to whether they are considered from Catholic or Jewish perspectives. Consequently the meaning of subsequent answers can also change according to the theological contexts to which they refer or in which they are interpreted or with regard to distinctive doctrinal systems or conununities of faith. Therefore the greatest care must be taken to understand the questions as well as the global contexts in which they are formulated and heard. In order to prevent the lack of common theological categories from prejudicing the Catholic-Jewish dialogue, it would be useful to clarify vocabulary to respond to the needs of this special field of study (27).

However it must not be forgotten that Catholic theologians have a primary and autonomous responsibility to reflect on and expound the strictly theological aspects of the mystery of Israel in the appropriate categories and with respect to this primary task, internal to the Church, the task of research in this matter through dialogue with the Jews has its place as a distinct and secondary phase, even though in the judgment of various authors it must not be neglected. Indeed certain Orthodox Jews express the same desire; they usually prefer to leave Catholics to expound their convictions without interfering in this process of elaboration.

To reflect further on this important but sensitive subject, affirmations of Pope John Paul II on the same theme of the Covenant of God with Israel, made in the general catechesis of Wednesday 16 August 1989, are an encouraging starting point:

God acts with gratuitous love. This love binds Israel with the Lord God in a special and exceptional way. Israel has become the property of God... Therefore in the Covenant (of Sinai) a new people was born, the people of God... Israel is called to be a "nation of priests".

Then on the mystery of the Church and the Kingdom, the Pope continued:
The New Covenant — new and eternal — is made "in the blood of Christ" (I Cor. 11:25). In the strength of this redeeming sacrifice, the "new comforter" (Paracletos) cf. Jn. 14:16 — the Holy Spirit — is given to those "who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints". (I Con 1:2).

Another example which is found in a passage in the recent encyclical Redemptoris Missio, the encyclical marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the conciliar decree Ad Gentes, concerns the mission to the "gentiles" — not therefore to the Jews. However it also bears witness to the mission of Israel:
Israel experienced a personal and saving God (cf. Dt. 4:37; 7:6-8; Is. 43:1-7), to whom it bore witness and on whose behalf it spoke in the midst of the nations. In the course of time, Israel understood that its election had a universal significance(cf. Is. 2:2-5; 25:6-8; 60:1-6; Jet. 3:17, 16:19) (R.M. 12).

These two examples seem to show the direction in which we can move and find ways to express the Christian mystery of salvation which will give just weight to the mystery of God's love for the Jewish People.


What essential lines can be followed to present the mystery of Israel in a systematic way which is conscious of the mystery of the Church and of the divine redemption offered to the whole world?

1. One of the results of the Jewish-Christian dialogue could provide a starting point: the consciousness and recognition "in a positive sense" of the religious identity of the other, the Jew precisely (and reciprocally the Christian). "Other" is a pregnant term, rich in religious and philosophical implications which have been made clear by Emmanuel Levinas. The "other" appears to us like "a brother in the faith of Abraham", while this brings us back to the "Absolute Other", the Only One, the Ineffable, Creator of the Universe and Lord. This otherness is evident in the face and in the image of God as it is reflected in the human person, and this image in turn sends us back to its divine origin. In this opening towards the mystery of God lies the challenge of dialogue to believers. Pope John Paul II, in his discourse during his visit to the Great Synagogue of Rome, explicitly affirmed that Christians should recognise the distinct and special religious identity of the Jews, "far from all syncretism and dubious appropriation (13 April 1986), as on the Jewish side we expect a similar attitude towards Christianity" (28).

2. The essential features of Israel's religious reality were described by the Pope on 6 December 1990, as follows:

When we consider Jewish tradition, we see how profoundly you venerate Sacred Scripture, the Mikra, and in particular the Torah. You live in a special relationship with the Torah, the living teaching of the living God. You study it with love in the Talmud Torah, so as to put it into practice with joy. Its teaching on love, on justice and on the law is reiterated in the Prophets — Nevi'im, and in the Ketuvim. God, his holy Torah, the synagogal liturgy and family traditions, the Land of holiness, are surely what characterise your people from the religious point of view. And these are things that constitute the foundation of our dialogue and of our cooperation.

3. Reciprocally, "even within the ecclesial community Catholics feel the need of a clear definition of their own identity as a prerequisite for serious interreligious dialogue. That implies understanding the substantial differences in comparison with the Jewish faith, concerning belief in Jesus Christ and the corresponding Christological doctrine" (cf. Pontifical Biblical Commission, Bible et Christologie, Du Cerf, 1984).

4. If we take these preliminary distinctions into account, we can perhaps understand better the meaning and content of what the Second Vatican Council called the "common spiritual patrimony" (Nostra Aetate 4) of Christians and Jews. (I will limit mystelf to seven elements of this patrimony):
1. The faith of the Patriarchs, of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, Rachel and Leah;
2. The vocation to holiness: "Be holy because I am holy" (Lev. 19:2) "Be merciful as God your Father is merciful" (Lk. 6:36);
3. Veneration for the Sacred Scriptures, which to a large extent are held in common (Torah, Nevi'im, Ketuvim);
4. The tradition of biblical prayer in the psalms, in hymns and formulas of biblical origin such as the Pater the Kaddish the Magnificat;
5. Obedience to the revealed moral law, expressed in the commandments of Sinai, transmitted by Moses to the People of Israel;
6. The filial and faithful witness, often heroic, rendered to God to "sanctify his name";
7. The sense of respect and responsibility towards all creatures and the corresponding obligation to promote peace and justice according to the teaching of the Prophets (30), linked with undying messianic hope.
5. After treating the preceding points adequately, it would seem possible to deal with other important themes: the people of God and its mission, the permanence of Israel, history and eschatology, the earthly task and the tiqgum olam be Malkhut Shadday (mending the world under the dominion of God), the Church after Auschwitz (31).

For further amplification or deepening along these lines which have only been indicated here, the contribution of other Christians will be valuable and significant (32), as it was in the past, thanks to scholars among whom Karl Barth was eminent.


The foregoing allows me to propose some pastoral conclusions which might be useful in Catholic educational programmes and catechesis and in promoting fraternal relations with the Jews.

First of all it is wise to recall some of the main motives for our interest in Israel:
— Motives of faith, which emphasise the data of biblical revelation and ethical values;
— Historical motives, keeping in mind the troubled relations between Church and Synagogue; the memory of the past invites us to a pilgrimage of reconciliation and to teshuvah, a free personal act and a permanent attitude towards fraternal solidarity;
— Motives which spring from the urgency of justice and peace today for human and religious rights, in our present pluralist society (34).

The responsibility to translate the general principles of which we have spoken into precise educational strategies for future generations is very great. The creation of specialised institutions can be most useful (35), but there is still a long way to go in this matter (36), and it would certainly be desirable to create an institute for the study of Jewish-Christian Relations, officially recognised and supported by the Holy See, which would find its appropriate natural setting in Jerusalem. Such collaboration would, among other things, go some way towards meeting the need for more intense involvement in relations between the Church of the Middle East and the Jewish People in the State of Israel (37), besides permitting closer contacts with Islam in trilateral dialogues.

In particular reference to the absence of formal diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel, in addition to what has already been said, we can add that the alleged difficulties (38), are not at all of a theological nature, nor do they arise from negative prejudices towards Jews, as some say (39), interpreting the attitude of the Holy See incorrectly. The numerous official meetings, the regular contacts and the public declarations during the last 25 years (40) are enough to show that the Holy See recognises, de facto and de jure, the State of Israel, and in this regard, among many examples, the apostolic letter Redemptions Anna by John Paul II in 1984, can be quoted:

For the Jewish People who live in the State of Israel and who preserve in that land such precious testimonies of their history and their faith, we must ask for the desired security and the due tranquility that is the prerogative of every nation and a condition of life and of progress for every society (41).

In the same way the city of Jerusalem is called to become the city of peace and reconciliation for all believers, in the heart of the land of holiness:
Each believer has the right to make Jerusalem the homeland of his soul, of his justice and of the love in which all people are called to the peace of God. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem... For my brethren and companions' sake I will say Peace be within you! For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek for your good" (Ps. 122:6, 8-9) (42).

To these words of the Pope and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, who are always, ready to defend the rights of the poor and the oppressed, and who therefore also call for justice for the Palestinian population, there can be added these words of Rabbi David Hartman:
A Palestinian political reality, in which they will find it necessary to become responsible for the social, economic and political well-being of their citizens, may begirt the process of healing the present negative and destructive identity of many Palestinians. However if we continue to control them, their identity will be fed by hatred and rejection of Israel.
There is a vicious dialectic that must be broken in controlling them, we lose ourselves when our youth act with brutal anger against women, children and elderly people, we become alienated from everything normally identified as Jewish behaviour. We will not heal our own rage and frustration through military control over the Palestinians but only through dealing constructively with their will for self-determination.
At the same time, we must emphasize to them and to the world that their national existence must not in any way jeopardize our security. One way to do this is to insist on total demilitarization of any Palestinian national entity. No military offensive equipment must exist on this side of the Jordan River.
In saying this it is evident that we do not seek to subjugate a people, but equally we show a healthy awareness that the Messiah has not come. We must not confuse security needs with questions of political control or with grandiose visions of Jewish historical destiny. We must insist on very clear safeguards for our national security. We thereby manifest our clear will to live in peace with our neighbours, but also our sure knowledge that only a strong and secure Israel will enable the development of good will and understanding between the different nations in the Middle East (43).

After the immense tragedy of the war in the region of the Persian Gulf, a war which afflicted so many people, the exacting demands of the prophets and the responsibility to promote dialogue and cooperation among Christians, Jews and Muslims (44) appear still more actual and urgent. Concerning the Holy See's initiatives for peace after the Gulf war, they are to be seen particularly in the discourses of Pope John Paul II of 4 and 6 March 1991 (45), and his letter of 21 March 1991 to the U.N. General Secretary.

In conclusion it can be said that in the general context of Jewish-Christian relations as presented here, the work of the Catholic Episcopal Commissions, which have the task at the local level of promoting various initiatives are essential and useful:
1) They make known through publications, meetings and in other ways the official documents and the teaching of the magisterium on Jews and Judaism which are still often little known and studied;

2) Where convenient and possible, they take under their care some kind of coordination of those institutions and pastoral structures which in some degree touch on relations with Jews (for example Biblical studies, Aspects of the Liturgy, Catechetics, and more generally, educational or social and charitable fields);

3) Initiatives aimed at promoting knowledge, dialogue and collaboration with the local Jewish community, having regard for their special characteristics and traditions;

4) Where there is evidence of sufficient maturation both on the interchurch level and on that of relations with the Jewish communitY, it seems normal that a need would be keenly felt for an opening towards reflection, dialogue and collaboration either of a specifically ecumenical (46) character, or interreligious, first of all with believers in the one God of Abraham, the Muslims.

The opening up and flourishing of bilateral and multilateral relations should, on the one hand, lead to reciprocal enrichment, in the deepening of the faith of each; on the other hand it should make us feel more keenly and urgently the need to be united in praying for peace and in striving together for justice, with special concern for the least and the poorest, beloved of God. Indeed, imitating more closely the merciful tenderness of God, we will be better able to understand the will of the Father, and recognize ourselves as brothers and sisters in his divine love.

• Revised text of a lecture given at Tantur and Jerusalem on 7 and 11 February 1991, under the auspices of The Ecumenical Institute for Advance Theological Studies and the Ratisbonne Centre of Jewish Studies.
Translation with the addition of notes and two documentary appendices from the original Italian Chiesa e popolo ebraico venticinque anni dopo it Concilio Vaticano II in "Rassegna di Teologia" moth (1991), pp. 369-388.
Rev. P.C. Fumagalli is Secretary of the Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism attached to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the Unity of Christians.
(I) The most significant work was published on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the Council: Vatican 11: Bilancio e prospetlive venticinque anni dopo (1962-19871; AA.VV., a cura di Rene Latourelle, vol. 1-2, Pontificio Universita GregorianaCittadello ed., Roma-Assisi, 1988. Among the principal celebrations that on the 25th anniversary of the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum in Rome, 13-14 December 1990, could be mentioned (cf. O.R.,
15 Dec. '90, p. 4; IS 77, '91, pp. 55-67). The Ecumenical Institute for Advanced Theological Studies at Tantur promoted a series of conferences on the general and specific themes concerning the Council; cf. Thomas Stransky, "The Roman Catholic Church Today, 25 Years after Vatican Council II" (Tantur Public Lecture, II Oct. '90).
(2) On 6 December, Pope John Paul II received a delegation of numerous representatives of Jewish communities and organizations from Europe, Israel and America, led by Seymour D. Reich, Chairman of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations: (IJCIC), which included the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Elio Toaf, f, and on the Catholic side S.E. Mons. Edward I Cassidy, President of the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism, also cardinals, bishops and experts from various parts of the world. (The Holy Father's discourse was published in O.R. 7 December 1990, pp. 1-5; cf. IS 77 (1991) pp. 72-86; Catholic International 2,4 1991, 157-172). Other celebrations included: the Pontifical audience for the leaders of the American Jewish Committee (Rome
16 March 1990), the conference at Fordham University (New York, 11-12 September); the Debate with Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini (Milan 16 October) the celebration at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom (Montreal 26 October), the commemoration in Dublin (38-29
October), at Sao Paolo (4-5 November), the pontifical audience of the Officers of the British Council of Christians and Jews (Rome 16 November) the pastoral letter of the Polish Bishops (20 January 1991) and many other conferences and initiatives of bishops, rabbis, Jewish organizations and Jewish-Christian Friendship Groups.
(3) An essential general bibliography on this subject is contained in an appendix to the present article, with a note on abbrevations commonly used. Cf. In Our Time, E. Fisher-L. Klenicki, ed. Paulist Press 1990.
(4) For an exegetical reflection see Franz Mussner, Tractate on the Jews, SPCK, London 1984 (original Traktat fiber die Juden, Kaiser-Verlag 1979).
(5) Cf. St. Schmidt, Agostina Bea, II Cardinale dell'unitd, Citta Nuova 1987, pp. 565-568.
(6) AAS LIX (1967) p. 919, art. 94.
(7) AAS LXXX (1988) p. 896. art. 138.
(8) See the bibliography in Appendix, no. 4 ILC; IS 75, 1990, pp. 173-178. For other general information see P.F. Fumagalli. "Le Relazioni religiose della Chiesa cattolica con ii popolo ebraico", in Parole di Vita, XXXV (1990), pp. 46-50; 128-132.
(9) In the list in Appendix II there are 37 significant statements of the Supreme Pontiff on themes concerning the Jewish People between 1986 and 1990, in Rome, America, Australia and Europe. From the beginning of the pontificate, John Paul II has spoken on this subject on more than seventy occasions.
(10) See in particular the second part of Appendix II, to which can be added (among others) the Archbishops of Marseilles, Roger Etchegaray; of Milan, Carlo Maria Martini; and of many dioceses of the USA, where there are important Jewish communities. The numerous statements of Cardinal J. Willebrands are about to be published in the volume Church and Jewish People: New Considerations, (ed. Paulist Press).
(11) The Annual Day organized for 17 January has been favourably received by the Italian dioceses and parishes; significant meetings have taken place in Rome, Florence, Leghorn, Vicenza, Turin, Milan, Reggio Calabria and Bologna.
(12) cf. P.F. Fumagalli: "La Reahn di Israele oggi the cosa comporta per il dialogo?" in Quaderni di vita Monastica 44 (1986), pp. 65-73; also "Alcune riflessioni cristiane su Auschwitz" in Bollettino delgAmicizia ebraico-cristiono di Firenze", n.s. XXV, 34 (1990), pp. 78-83.
(13) See the conciliar teaching on the (relative) autonomy or independence of earthly realities in: Caudium et Spes, no. 36 Also 40, 58, 76, on the link between earthly and divine realities. in agreement with these principles the 1985 Notes (already referred to) distinguish thus between the religious and the political areas in speaking about the State of Israel: "Christians are invited to understand this religious attachment" (of Israel to the land of the Fathers) "which finds its roots in biblical tradition" (Notes 6:1). "The existence of the State of Israel and its political options should not be envisaged in a perspective which is in itself religious, but with reference to the common principles of international law" (ibid.). The subject will be taken up in its place further on.
(14) el. Ch Bonomelli, Ire mesi al di la delle Alpi, Milano, 1909, pp. 413-426; J. Maritain, II Misterodi lsraele, Brescia 1964; W.H. Shannon, "Thomas Merton and Judaism", in America, 6 October 1990, pp. 218-222.
(15) F. Mussner ''Theologie nach Auschwitz", Prague 3-6 Sept. 1990, "(Una XXX VI, 1991, pp., 346-352. Because of the important connections, two recent theological symposia are mentioned: "The Shoah: Implications for Christian and Jewish Thinking", Cracow 7-9 april 1991 and "KoScied a Zydzi i judaism. Auschwitzrzeczywistoe, symbolika, teologia" Warsaw (I1-12 April 19917. cf. also no. 2 XXXVI (1991) in !steno, on the theme "The Unity of the Biblical Canon, Hermeneutical key to the Unity of Revelation" and "Ecclesia ex circumcisione, Ecclesia ex gentibus".
(16) I. de R Potterie-B. Dupuy, "People, Nation, Land: The Christian View", in ITC, pp. 8-14.
(17) cf. N. Lohfink, Der niemals gekandigle Bunc I, Herder 1989: Eng. trans. The Covenant Never Revoked, Paulist Press, 1991.
(18) cf. S. Simonsohn, "Church and Synagogue, Unesay Relations", account presented to the Conference of the Centre for the Development of the Mediterranean Area (CESVAM), Rome 25 May 1990.
(19) cf. F. Kenig, "Solidarieta fratema e responsabilitâ" in O.R. 25 June 1988, p. 6.
(20) It is useful to quote one of the passages from the Council concerning some human errors in the story of the Church: "By the power of the Holy Spirit the Church is the faithful spouse of the Lord and will never fail to be a sign of salvation in the world; but it is by no means unaware that through the centuries there have been among its members, both clerical and lay, some who were disloyal to the Spirit of God. Today also the Church is not blind to the discrepancy between the message it proclaims and the human weakness of those to whom the gospel has been entrusted. Whatever history's judgment is on these shortcomings, we cannot ignore them and we must earnestly combat them, lest they hinder the spread of the Gospel. The Church also realizes how much it needs the maturing influence of centuries of past experience in order to work out its relationship to the world" (Gaudium el Spes, no. 43; cf. Lumen Gentium, no. 15; Unitatis Redintegratzo, nos. 6-7).
(21) Among reasons for anti-judaism of a strictly theological kind, we can mention the following: that the God of the Jews (and of Muslims) is false because he is not the Blessed Trinity (R. Lullo, fiber Praedicationis Contra ludeos); that the Jews moreover "sinned by crucifying God" (St. Thomas, S. T. 3, qu. 47 art. 5). Considering how difficult it was for mediaeval culture to distinguish adequately the theological dimension from the potentially negative impulse against the Jews that could arise from the Thomistic affirmation since if the Jews themselves are slaves of the Church, their goods can be disposed of" (St. Thomas, S.T. 2a, 2ae, qu. 10, art. 10), where the fact that the Jews may be slaves of the Church, according to St. Thomas can be assumed as an abvious datum that needs no demonstration, and can be extended into a general context. The same St. Thomas, on the other hand, in a different context, showed himself attentive and open to meeting and dialogue with Jewish thought, cf. A. Wohlman, Thomas d'Aquin et Maimonide, un dialogue exernplaire, Pref. I. Leibowitz, Paris 1988. A clear and concise explanation of the mediaeval situation is found already in Peter Abelard: Dialogus inter philosophum, Judaeum et Christianum (c. 1136) English edition, Toronto 1979 (PA. Payer) pp. 27-35.
(22) in ILC p. 304.
(23) E.I. Cassidy, Opening Address, Prague, E Sept. 1990 LS 75, 1990 on the Declaration Nostra Aerate as heshhon ha-nefesh v. Thomas Stransky "Holy Diplomacy: Making the Impossible Possible", in Unanswered Questions, Notre Dame Press 1988, pp. 62-63.
(24) For the mediaeval period see E. Synan, The Popes and the Jews in the Middle Ages, New York, 1967; cf. L. Poliakov, Histoirede PAntisernitisme, (numerous examples of interventions by Christians, clerical and lay, in defence of Jews (cf. Bull of Innocent III, 1247, Vol. 1 Paris 1955, pp. 77-78); P.F. Fumagalli, "1 trattati medievali 'Adversus ludaeos', it 'Pugio Fidei' ed it suo influsso sulfa concezione cristiana dell'ebraismo", in La Scuola Cattolica 113 (1985) pp. 522-545. The position of Reuchlin in defence of the Talmud is also expounded by P. Galatina Colonna in De arcanis catholicae verilatis, a book which was printed and not by chance by the great Jewish publisher, Gershom Soncino, in 1518 in Ortona a Mare. The Catholic movement in favour of the Jews already noticeable in the time of the First Vatican Council (cf. "La cause des testes disrad" introduite au Connie Oecumenique du Vatican sous la benediction de 5.5„ le Pape Pie IX — Entreprise et ?grit des deux Titres Joseph et Augustin Leman, Lyon-Paris 1912) found relevant expression with Pius X (cf. the letter of 3 December 1905 in Pii X Pont. Maximi ace, Roma 1907, p. 199), and in the pontificate of Pius XI, condemnation of antisemitism in 1928, cf. AAS XX (1928) pp. 103-104; plan of an encyclical against antisemitism, cf. J.H. Nota, "Edith Stein und der Entwurf fur eine Enzyklika gegen Rassismus und Antisemitismus", in Freiburger Rundbriej XXVI (1974) pp. 35-41. cf. G. Miccoli, "Santa Sede c Chiesa Habana difronte alle leggi antiebraiche del 1938" in La Legislazione antiebraico in !talkie in Europa, Roma 1988 pp. 163-274. Concerning the infamous accusation of ritual infanticide, raised against Jews in the past, we must note the abolition of Catholic cults of the supposed victims: in 1965 at Trent (Simon of Trent); in 1987 at Marostica, Italy (Lorenzino di Marostica); in 1988 in Austria (Andreas von Rinn); in 19911 at Massa, Italy (Domenica del Val).
(25) cf. F. KOnig, "Frospettive e orientamenti per i rapporti tra Cattolici ed ebrei'', Roma, Lateran University, 5 December 1990, in IS 77, 1991, pp. 78-83.
(26) On this particular point see 1. Ratzinger (Interviewed by L. Palmieri Billig) "Gli Ebrei nd Catechismo Universale" in Studi Cattolici XXXIV, 356 1990, pp. 684-687, and "An Interview with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger" in Midstream 7 June-July 1990, pp. 8-12. Among educational and catechetical texts particularly worthy of mention is L'Ebraismo by E.L. Erlich-R. Rendtorff, Padua' 1990 (original in German: Studientexte Funkkolleg Religion, Jude,. and Judentum, Weinheim u. Basel 1985.
(27) cf. Clemens llama, Lexicon der Judisch-christlichen Begegnung, Herder 1989. On this point see the observations of Norman Solomon in "Themes in Jewish-Christian Relations" in Towards a Theological Encounter: Jewish Understandings of Christianity, L. Klenicki, ed. Stimulus Foundation, Mahwah 1991 pp. 16 ff.
(28) cf. P.F. Fumagalli, "Nostra aetate venticinque anni dopo Valutazione eattolica" in Ambrosius 67, 6 1991, p. 544.
(29) 'dem, ibid p. 545, cf. AA.VV. Jesus Jewishness: exploring the place of Jesus within early Judaism, ed. lames H. Charlesworth, Crossroad Publishing Co., N.Y. 1991.
(30) ldem, ibid.; Carlo Maria Martini "Cluistianesima ed Ebraismo", Philadelphia, Princeton Theol. Seminary, (I May 1987) Italian original and English translation in AA. VV. Jews and Christians Exploring the past, present and future, ed. lames H. Charlesworth, Crossroad Publishing Co., N.Y. 1990, pp. 19-34.
(31) cf. 18 Metz, "Kirche nach Auschwitz" in Kirche and Israel, 5, 1990, pp. 99-108. Moreover since with regard to ecclesiology the saying "Outside the Church no Salvation" often repeated in an incorrect and polemical way, would be contrary to fraternal re- lations between Church and Synagogue, it is well to note that: (a) the origin of the expression—and the rigorist emphasis—are found in Tertullian in the Montanist period, cf. R. Braun, "Tertullian et le Montanisme: Eglisc institutionelle et Eglise spirituelle" in Rauh° di storia e letteratura religiosa XXI, 2 1985, pp. 245-257; (b) the rigorist interpretation has been officially condemned by the Church, cf. Denzinger-Shoenmetzer NN. 3866-3873 and for this reason Rev. Leonard Feeney was excommunicated 4 Feb. 1953. See also the observations of Cardinal J. Willebrands in the preface to the work No Religion is an island: Abraham Joshua Heschel and interreligious dialogue, ed. H. Kasimow, Byron L. Sherwin, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, 1991, pp. XI-X11, where he takes up the thinking of Card. A. Bea.
(32) cf. H.J. Kraus, Systematische Theologie in Kontext bildisher Geschichte and Eschatologie, Neukirchener Verlag 1983; fr. W. Marquardt, Von Fiend and Eleimsuchung der Theologie, Chr. KaiserVerlag, 1988.
(33) cf. F. Konig, cit. v.s. note 25.
(34) cf. P. Rossano "Jewish Christian Relations: Achievements and Unfinished Agendas", Vienna (30 Nov. 1988).
(35) Among specialized institutions cf. Institute for Judeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University (USA), Service International de Documentation Judeo-Chretienne (SIDIC) of Rome, in stituted in 1965; more recent foundations are: Institut fur ChristlichJUdische Forschung" (I.ucern 1981), Centre Chretien d'Etudes Juive Saint Pierre de Sion (Jerusalem 1985), the Joseph Card. Bernadin Center for the Study of Eastern Jewry" (Chicago 1987). Jean Nord-man Foundation at the Catholic University of Freiburg, Switzerland (1990), Institute for Judaic Studies at the Academy of Catholic Theology of Warsawa 1991. Numerous other centres exist nd among the specialised courses at the Pontifical Universities there are those given at the Gregorian, the Lateran and the Biblical Institute, the Angeli- cum, the Urbaniana and the Antonianum in Rome.
(36) G. Riegner, "Basic Issues in the Teaching of Judaica in Christian Denomination Institutions", Tantur 1990.
(37) Resides the Israel Interfaith Association, active for many years and a participant in the official meetings of the international Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee since 1970, an initiative was taken in 1990 to set up an Interreligious Co-ordinating Council in Israel (ICCI), to promote more profound and fraternal relations between believing Jews, Christians and Muslims in Jerusalem.
(38) cf. J. Navarro-Valls, "Dichiarazione a proposito delle relazione tra la Santa Sede e lo Stato di lsraele" in Bollettino Sala Siam-pa Sede no. 38/91, 25 January 1991. However the risks of attributing theological weight/to factors of diverse nature are indicated (and criticised), for example by E. Fisher "The Vatican and the State of Israel" in Studies at McMaster University, April 1991, pp. 11-12, presented at the symposium "KookciO1 a Zydzi...".
(39) On the same point, in the official meetings in Rome on 30 Sept. 1987, "Representatives of the Holy See declared that there exists no theological reasons in Catholic doctrine that would inhibit such relations, but noted that there do exist some serious and unresolved problems in the area" IS 64, 1987, p. 80.
(40) Relevant quotations are found in the declaration of J. Navarro-Valls, see note 38.
(41) "Gerusaleinme nei document] pontifici", cit. p. 198 - On Jerusalem and the Holy Land see also F. Rossi de Gasperis, "The Promised Land, a gift to Share" Rassegna di Theologia, 31 1990 PR 608-614.
(42) Mons. Sabbah, Pastoral Letter, 3 June 1990 (Pentecost), original text in Arabic (cf. La Documentation Calholique, no. 2012 2-16 Sept. 1990, p. 820).
(43) D. Hartman, Conflicting Ideologies, N.Y. 1990 p. 227.
(44) Let us continue to hope that a real dialogue can achieve significant steps towards understanding, peace and reconciliation between Arabs: Israeli and Palestinian, and between Christians, Muslims and Jews (DE Pilarczyk "Chiamati ad essere negni di sofidarietE in un mondo the ha fame c se di giusticia!" in O.R.31 March 1991, p. 7); "Palestinians-Christian and Muslim and Israelis, each in their own religious patrimony and in their own faith can find if they wish, the same message of love, justice and reconciliation. The moment has come for believers of all religions, in the name of their faith in God and in man who is his image and heir on earth, to help politicians to build a new world beginning with this Holy Land, the spiritual homeland of Christians, but also of all believers" (Mons. Sabbah, 'Pace, in none di Dio, in Rome de/gnome ibid. p. 6).
(45) In Osservatore Romano 6 March 1991, pp. I, 4-5; a R. 7 March 1991, pp. 1, 0-5; 27 March 1991, p. 1.
(46) In regard to the specific note of ecumenicity in relations between Church and Synagogue, between Jews and Christians, some considerations can be mentioned here:
a) Ecumenism is understood here in the proper sense of a journey or tendency in the direction of perfect unity of Christians, as it is historically expressed in the Ecumenical Movement of the twen- tieth century.
b) The ecumenical dimension was a strong presence from 1946 when the "International Council of Christians and Jews (ICC.I) was instituted, the organization which from that time on continued faithfully pursuing fraternal relations with the Jews in an ecumenical atmosphere.
c) Historically, from the time of Popc John XXIII, the Catholic Church has structured its relations with Judaism, taking care to underline both its own characteristics and the ecumenical implications (see notes 5-7).
d) Theologically, i he unifying element of the ecumenical implications of relations with the Jews can be cultivated in Baptism as the root, for all Christians, of being grafted into Christ, and hence of the link with the people of Israel. At the same time the two documents of Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio and Nostra Aerate, furnish adequate motivations for accurately distinguishing between two sides, and the pastoral consequences that How from them.
e) The fact that it is not rare for the diocesan delegate for ecumenism to be also the expert or delegate for relations with the Jews confirms on one side the bonds recorded above, and yet on the other, should not lead to confusion between two sectors very distinct in themselves.
(47) cf. P.F. Fumagalli, 16 October 1990 (see note 28) E.I. Cassidy, Conference for the 25th anniversary of Nostra Acidic, SIDIC, Rome, 12 December 1990.


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