U.S. Jewish Communities Hail Proposed Vatican Statement on Jews

A resolution hailing the statement on the Catholic attitude toward Jews presented to the Ecumenical Council at the Vatican, as “the most important development which will help eliminate one of the major sources of hostility and prejudice against the Jews throughout the ages,” was adopted unanimously here today at the concluding session of the General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. More than 1,200 delegates from all Jewish communities in the United States and Canada attended the Assembly.

The Vatican statement was introduced this weekend in Rome by Augustin Cardinal Bea, head of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, for discussion and vote by the Ecumenical Council now in session there. It is not yet known whether a vote will be taken at this session of the Council, or at the next session, which will take place in 1964. The statement contains the following high points:

1) The Church has a deep bond with the Chosen People of the Old Testament; 2) The responsibility for the death of Jesus falls on all mankind; it is unjust to call the Jewish people a decide people or to consider the Jews cursed by God; 3) The Church can never forget that it is from Abraham’s stock that Christ’s Mother and the apostles were born; 4) The death of Jesus Christ cannot give rise to disdain or hatred or persecution of the Jews; 5) Catholic priests and all Catholics are admonished never to preach a contrary position and, furthermore, are urged to promote understanding and esteem toward Jews. (For full text of the Vatican communique, see Page 3.)

The resolution by the General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, welcoming the Vatican statement as an “historic document,” declared: “The CJFWF hails this important development which will help eliminate one of the major sources of hostility and prejudice against Jews throughout the ages. At this time of mortal danger to all mankind, this document gives religious forces of the world a new instrument to remove hostility and advance the cause of the brotherhood of man.”

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