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Vatican Secretariat to Examine Views on Catholic Decree on Jews

The document on Catholic-Jewish relations, which failed to come up for consideration at the Ecumenical Council session last year, will be one of the subjects to be considered at a two-week meeting of the Vatican Secretariat for Christian Unity, which opened today.

The 30 members–Bishops and Cardinals–of the Secretariat, started their meeting under the presidency of Augustin Cardinal Bea, in Ariccia near Rome. The general theme of the session will be ecumenism. The first three chapters were discussed at the Ecumenical Council sessions. The prelates will examine all observations on Chapter Four, on Catholic-Jewish relations, and Chapter Five, on religious freedom.

The current session will mark the first assembly of the eight new members of the Secretariat elected during the last days of Council last year and the four new members named by Pope Paul VI after his return from his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in January.

The Secretariat, under Cardinal Bea’s leadership and on the instructions of the late Pope John XXIII, prepared the draft on Catholic Jewish ties, which exempts Jews from any responsibility for the Crucifixion of Christ and warns all Catholics, lay and hierarchal, against any anti-Semitic attitudes stemming from the ancient charge of deicide.

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