Declaration on Jews Drafted by Vatican for Ecumenical Council

A declaration on Catholic-Jewish relations, to be discussed at the Ecumenical Council now in session here, has been drafted but not yet submitted to the Bishops, it was learned here this week-end. The declaration will come up on the agenda of the Council under the title “De Catholicorum Habitudine ad non-Christianos et Maxime ad Judaeos”–”On the Catholic attitude toward non-Christians and especially Jews. “

The declaration was reported to be in the hands of Augustin Cardinal Bea, head of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. It has already been discussed in the Secretariat and it was believed that it might reach the Ecumenical Council at its present session. However, it appears that discussion on it will not be held before the next session, next year.

Meanwhile there is before the Council a suggestion, made last week by Archbishop Francis Seper, Yugoslav prelate, urging that the statement which the Council is to make on the nature of the Catholic Church–titled “De Ecclesia”–should include a definite mention of the Jews as “the people of God” of the Old Testament. The official English translation of the suggestion voiced by the Yugoslav Archbishop, as summarized in the proceedings of the session of the Ecumenical Council, reads: “The text of De Ecclesia should make special mention of the people of Israel because of their close bonds with the church in the possession of the Old Testament.”

Discussions on the text of De Ecclesia which is to portray the Catholic Church in relation to the modern world will continue for some time. It is understood that a number of the Council Fathers are in agreement with the Yugoslav prelate on his suggestion with regard to mentioning the Jews in the statement.

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