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Chief Rabbi of France Lauds New Stand on Religion by Pope Paul

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Chief Rabbi Jacob Kaplan of France today called for the support of the principle of freedom of conscience in religious matters adopted by the Ecumenical Council and promulgated by Pope Paul VI. He said the promulgation of this principle by the Pope was “a great event,” constituting the return of the Church to its original mainsprings.”

The Chief Rabbi’s call appeared as a front-page article in the leading French newspaper “Figaro,” replacing the usual editorial of the newspaper and indicating that the newspaper endorses its contents. Rabbi Kaplan also said in his article that the Jews, “who know well about religious persecution, having experienced it through the generations, appreciate very much the declaration of the Vatican in the field of religious freedom.” He asserted that the Vatican stand indicated “a willingness of the Church to break the vicious circle of intolerance of the past.”

In urging Catholics to abide by the new dogma, the Chief Rabbi recalled that, during the period of the Temple in Jerusalem, the Jews had a custom of offering special sacrifices for “the seventy peoples of the world who were not believers in the God of Israel.”

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