Joint Study Finds ‘pejorative Image’ of Jews in French Catholic Textbooks

A three year probe of Roman Catholic religious texts in the French language by a team of Belgian scholars has concluded that religious textbooks used in the world’s French-speaking areas present “a pejorative image of Jews and Judaism.” The study was undertaken by the Socio-Religious Research Center at Louvain University, directed by Canon Francoise Houtart and by the Catechetic Research Center headed by Canon Jean Giblet. The study was co-sponsored by Louvain University and the AJ Committee. It covered eight million words in a sampling of 79 volumes of religious texts used in France and the French-speaking areas of Belgium, Switzerland and Canada.

Completion of the study was announced simultaneously by Louvain University and the AJ Committee, According to AJ Committee president Hoffman, “that ranking Catholic scholars and institutions have been ready to undertake such critical self-examination of how their faith is taught, and seriously to enquire into whether religious factors play a role in the spread of anti-Semitism, is telling tribute to the better understanding stimulated by the Vatican Council II.” In its declaration on non-Christians, the Vatican Council warned Catholic religious instructors against anything not in harmony with what it said was the truth of the Gospel and said specifically that “the Jews should not be presented as repudiated by God.”

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