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Pope John Xxiii Draws on Jewish Tradition in Calling for Penance

Pope John XXIII drew heavily on Jewish as well as Christian tradition in calling this weekend on Roman Catholics throughout the world to do penance in preparation for the forthcoming Ecumenical Council in Rome.

The request was made in an encyclical in which the Pope noted that Jewish and Christian tradition linked penance with extraordinary events and that both traditions lauded austerity and expressed rejection of “earthly pleasures” as a way of life.

He referred also to the Book of Exodus and its account of the request of Moses to the children of Israel that they mourn for their sins of idolatry and lack of gratitude before he gave them the Tablets of the Law. The Ecumenical Council will open with an attendance of nearly 2,000 Bishops and other churchmen on October II in the Vatican.

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