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Dutch Catholic Leader Takes Dim View of Future Relations Between the Vatican and Israel

Jan Keet, the Roman Catholic Dean of Amsterdam, takes a dim view of future relations between the Vatican and the and the Jewish people, despite the decisions of Vatican Council II, and does not believe the Holy See will recognize Israel.

Keet, who is chairman of the Council for the Church and Israel, an episcopal advisory board, expressed his views in an interview just published in the Roman Catholic weekly De Tijd. He cited two reasons why he does not believe the Vatican will change its traditional attitudes toward Jews and Israel.

First, he said, Vatican circles still adhere to the so-called substitution theology which holds that with the coming of Jesus, the Jewish people ceased to exist and the Roman Cathdic Church took over the role of Judaism as the purveyor of salvation to the world.

Second, he said, the persistent refusal of the Vatican to recognize Israel stems from a desire not to offend the Moslem world. The Christian church has always hoped to hold a dialogue with Islam and regards the churches in Lebanon and the Christian Palestinians on the West Bank to be a bridge to such dialogue which has eluded the church so far, Keet said.

Keet admitted that the Roman Catholic bishops in Holland have been aloof to the Council for Church and Israel. He said it was only with great difficulty and the efforts of former Archbishop, now Cardinal Johannes Willebrands, that a part time secretary was appointed three years ago.

Now, however, Keet fears that with the new conservative Archbishop, Adrian Simonis, and several other conservative bishops recently appointed to The Netherlands by the Vatican, the situation will not improve. Nevertheless, there has been definite progress and understanding of Judaism “at the base,” he said.

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