Menu JTA Search

Gallop Poll Shows Rise of Jewish Suspicion of Catholic Motives

A new Gallup Poll study commissioned by the Catholic Digest shows that there has been a “startling” increase in Jewish suspicions about Catholic motives, a Reform rabbi told a meeting at the Catholic Information Center here.

Rabbi Stuart E. Rosenberg, reporting on the soon-to-be-published study dealing with Religion in American Life, said it paralleled a similar one made under the same auspices in 1952 and that the comparative data had been tabulated. He said that the findings showed that the percentage of Jews who feel that Jews generally harbor ill feelings toward Catholics has doubled in that period — from 15 percent to 30 percent.

The data showed that there was a 14 percent increase in the number of Jews who feel that Catholics look down on Jews. In 1956, 10 percent more Jews believed that Catholics did not respect the religious beliefs of others and six percent more than in 1952 thought that Catholics would discriminate against them in employment. The findings showed also that there had been an increase of nine percent in the number of Jews who think Catholics are “trying to influence the press and that 12 percent more Jews now feel that Catholic periodicals are not fair to Jewish religious beliefs.

Rabbi Rosenberg told the meeting that he believed the deepening of Jewish suspicions about Catholics stemmed from the debate which attended the preparation and passage of the declaration on Christian-Jewish relations at the Ecumenical Council which was adopted in 1965 and promulgated as formal Church doctrine in 1966. The declaration, which was diluted in some aspects between introduction and approval, repudiates the charge of collective guilt of the Jewish people in the crucifixion of Jesus, deplores anti-Semitism and calls for fraternal dialogues between Catholics and Jews.

Rabbi Rosenberg said that many American Jews had not known that Catholics entertained such notions about the Jews as were repudiated in the declaration and that even those familiar with “the long history of Church-associated Jew-hatred” considered that situation as “part of a world past.” He added that the “constant bickering, manipulation and political infighting by the conservative Curia” over the text of the declaration became a “traumatic experience for virtually all Jews.”

NEXT STORY