Approval by Ecumenical Council of Document on Jews is Predicted

A leading prelate attending the Ecumenical Council at the Vatican, Archbishop Florit, of Florence, predicted today that the “overwhelming majority” of the Council participants will approve the “long expected” chapter on the Catholic Church’s relations with the Jewish people.

That chapter absolves the Jewish people of the crime of deicide, or responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus, and calls on the Catholic priesthood to help end all forms of persecution, including anti-Semitism. Archbishop Florit made his statement in an address before a Catholic organization here.

At the same time, however, it became more evident today that the Council will not reach further debate or voting on the chapter dealing with the Church-Jewish relations until next spring. The current session of the Council is scheduled to adjourn Dec. 4. The consensus was today that neither the chapter on relations with Jews nor another chapter, concerning religious liberty, could be reached before December 4.

One of the ardent advocates of the chapter on Jews, Msgr. John Osterreicher, said today that “continuous contacts and mutual studies” must still be made regarding the chapter on relations with Jews. Msgr. Osterreicher is a consultant to the Secretariat for Promotion of Christian Unity, which is headed by Augustin Cardinal Bea, the principal proponent of the decree relating to Jews.

Meanwhile, it became apparent from an interview published today by Osservatore Romano that Pope Paul VI plans to establish a new major arm of Church administration, to be called Secretariat for Non-Christian Religions. This department will probably be headed by Cardinal Koenig. Archbishop of Vienna. The interview, with Cardinal Koenig, outlined the aims of that planned, new Secretariat which, he said, would engage in efforts to develop “interreligious collaboration.” That goal, he said, would be pursued through “personal contacts, dialogues and approaches on a high representative level,” and would be worldwide.

“All men,” said Cardinal Koenig, “are directed toward unity and collaboration in the fields of human progress, and this should be promoted in the religious field too. All religions should converge toward universalism and unity which will overcome conflicting tendencies, so that later generations can live together without distinction as to race, language or culture, as sons of one Father.”

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