30 Bishops to Meet at Vatican on Final Text of Declaration on Jews

The Vatican’s Secretariat for Christian Unity, headed by Cardinal Bea, has exclusive jurisdiction over the handling of the Declaration on Church Relations with Non-Christians, a spokesman for the Bea secretariat declared here today.

The statement was an obvious response to dispatches from Rome yesterday, which reported that an ad hoc commission of prelates has been planning drastic revisions of the Declaration, preliminarily adopted last November by the third session of the Ecumenical Council. The Declaration as passed in November, by a vote of 1,992 to 99, had categorically exonerated the Jewish people of the charge of deicide.

The secretariat spokesman said today that a full, plenary meeting of the 30 bishops on the body would be held here May 9, to work out the final version of the Declaration’s text on the basis of amendments proposed during last November’s session and since. These amendments, or “modi,” will be reviewed by the 30 prelates. They had already held discussions on the subject last February, when they decided to postpone final action until the May 9 meeting.

After decisions are made at the May meeting, the text will be sent on to the Ecumenical Council, due to reconvene at the Vatican September 17. The Coordination Commission for the next Council session will then schedule the revised draft for the agenda. The Bea Secretariat spokesman made it very clear today that “no committee”–obviously referring to the ad hoc commission–can bypass this procedure or bypass the plenary meeting of 30 bishops to be held May 9.

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