ROME (Apr. 26)
The forthcoming Ecumenical Council, to be convened here by Pope John XXIII next October, will probably discuss ways of removing from the Jews the stigma of “slayers of God,” Augustin Cardinal Bea told representatives of the press here yesterday. Cardinal Bea was the confessor to the late Pope Pius XII, and is now president of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Union of Christians, planning the agenda for the Ecumenical Council.
The Catholic Church, said the Cardinal, recognizes that a principal reason for anti-Semitic persecutions through the ages has been the fact that the Jewish people were blamed by Christians for the crucifixion of Jesus. It is high time for this stigma to be removed, the Cardinal said.
Under Pope John XXIII, various steps toward reduction of anti-Semitism have already been taken. Two years ago, the Pope revised the Easter ritual so as to eliminate references to “perfidious Jews” allegedly responsible for the killing of the Christ.
Cardinal Bea told the press that representatives of all non-Catholic Christian churches who want to attend the Ecumenical Council will be invited. He did not indicate whether Jewish observers will also be admitted. Leading Jewish organizations in the United States have been discussing for some time whether to seek an invitation to the Ecumenical Council as observers, and Dr. Nahum Goldmann discussed the matter with Cardinal Bea here recently.
Vatican sources indicated today that some Jewish suggestions for the Ecumenical Council have been received. Jewish organizations are especially interested in having the Council condemn anti-Semitism and modify the emphasis in the Catechism on Jews as “God killers.”