Pope Advances Promulgation Date for the Vatican Declaration on Jews

Pope Paul VI will formally promulgate the Declaration on Relations of the Church With Non-Christian Religions, which includes the chapter on Catholic relations with the Jews, during the Ecumenical Council’s next public session, October 28, it was announced officially today by the Council’s press office.

The official announcement noted that October 28 is the anniversary of the election to the papacy of the late Pope John XXIII, and that the scheduling of the promulgation of the decree was done under instructions by Pope Paul. Pope John XXIII had initiated the move for the drafting of a church document repudiating the ancient charge that the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus. That document, with certain amendments, was adopted by the Council last week by the overwhelming vote of 1, 763-250.

Early scheduling of the promulgation of what many here call “the Jewish document” came as a surprise. The fact that a public session would be held October 28 was announced last Friday, and four schemas had been scheduled for promulgation. The document referring to the Jewish and other non-Christian religions had not been mentioned in connection with the October 28 session. After the Pope’s promulgation, the document will become official Catholic doctrine, binding on all Catholics around the world.

Yesterday, Pope Paul told thousands of persons gathered in St. Peter’s Square that he was praying for non-Christians, “especially for Jews and Moslems.” Referring to the declaration which includes relations with the Jewish people, he said “loving charity is widening and opening up to all.”

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