ROME (Oct. 10)
The Ecumenical Council to be convened here tomorrow at the Varican is “the occasion for Catholics, Protestants and Jews to know each other better, ” Richard Cardinal Cushing, of Boston, declared here today. Cardinal Cushing is one of the five American prelates heading 240 members of the American hierarchy scheduled to participate in the Council, the first summoned by the Catholic Church in 100 years.
“There are many differences among us,” Cardinal Cushing said. “But there are still more things that we have in common. I have always invited Catholics not to lock themselves in their own communities, and I can say the same in regard to Protestants and Jews.
“We must stand together, love each other and know each other. In Boston, there are conferences between Catholics, Protestants and Jews. All are praying for the success of this Council. The Jewish community and the Protestants have sent me their best wishes for our Council’s work.”
A delegation of the Israel Government will officially participate in the ceremonial opening tomorrow. However, neither Israel nor any Jewish community out side of Israel will have observers at the session, which is expected to last until the middle of next year, with an interval during the Christmas season.
Jewish groups have submitted memoranda to the Vatican in anticipation that the Ecumenical Council might agree to eliminate passages in the Catholic liturgy harmful to Jews and modify in Catholic textbooks all references which are offensive to Jews. They also focussed attention on the “Christ-killer” doctrine which creates a false image of the Jew in the minds of many Christians and stressed the need for a permanent Church body to deal with means of bettering Catholic-Jewish relations.
However, it is reported that there is a strong body within the Ecumenical Council which opposes any revision of the Church’s traditional attitude toward Jews, although Pope John XXIII and a progressive-minded group of Church dignitaries within the Vatican are favorably inclined to some of the Jewish presentations.