Jesuit Organ in U.S. Pleads for Restoration of Dropped Words

A plea for restoration of the words “deicide” and “condemns” — the latter referring to anti-Semitism — was made here today by America, a Jesuit weekly, in an editorial discussing the revisions of the Ecumenical Council’s proposed declaration on relations with the Jewish people.

Stating that the text of the declaration, as amended, would be “an adequate rebuke to anti-Semitism,” the editorial added: “But, since amendments are still possible, we may hope that the final form of the text will reflect the Council’s further deliberation on certain delicate points.”

“Some will feel,” America stated, “that, in a declaration that aims to heal wounds, emphasis on Jewish rejection of Christ is out of place,” The omission of the word “deicide” and the change in the anti-Semitism rejection from “condemns” to “deplores” were declared by the editorial as “somewhat neuralgic.”

“The Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity,” stated the editorial, “explains that it dropped the word ‘deicide’ because it is odious in any context and, secondly, could give rise to false theological interpretations. But the Secretariat also says that phrases such as ‘murderers of God,’ ‘Christ-killers,’ ‘the deicide people’ and equivalent expressions should disappear from the Christian vocabulary. If the Secretariat can say this, cannot the Council also say it, making it plain that it intends to ban the use of certain epithets against Jews without implying any diminution of Christian faith in the divinity of Christ?”

“The other omitted word is ‘condemns,’ ” the editorial continued. “Where the 1964 version said that the Council ‘deplores, indeed condemns, hatred and persecution of Jews,’ the 1965 text merely ‘deplores’ them. Surely, if the Council can deplore hatred, it can condemn it. To do so would add a little to the force of what is already an excellent statement of the Church’s attitude toward the Jews.”

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