ROME (Sep. 30)
Brooks Hays, former lay president of the Southern Baptist Convention and now chairman of the Brotherhood Committee of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, lauded here today the efforts of American bishops at the Ecumenical Council to strengthen the proposed declaration on Catholic-Jewish relations.
Mr. Hays, who had a private audience yesterday with Pope Paul, said he had been invited by the Pope to attend the Ecumenical Council session tomorrow as an observer. He is a former U.S. Representative from Little Rock, Ark.
He spoke with enthusiasm about the declaration on Jews and added that “my Catholic friends will understand my pride as an American over the eloquent declarations by American cardinals and bishops” on both the declaration on Jews and that on religious freedom.
Mr. Hays, who is also President Johnson’s consultant on racial questions, added that the “liberalization” toward which the Catholic church was now moving with a “universalistic spirit” was also the fruit of Catholic thought in other continents, and particularly in the United States.
Discussing his work as NCCJ brotherhood chairman, he said he had made a tour of the United States at the request of the late President Kennedy and that he could report that a “concrete spirit of brotherhood” existed between all three religious denominations–Catholic, Jewish and Protestant–united in defense of freedom and of civil rights. He expressed the opinion that the Council declarations on religious freedom and on the Jews would have a great effect, and would help to eliminate prejudice and anti-Jewish positions.