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French Rabbis and Priests Debate Catholic Church and Anti-semitism

June 18, 1965
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Rabbis and Catholic clergymen debated for more than two hours last night on the relations between the Catholic church and Judaism. The audience of Catholic churchmen and lay leaders heard a charge by one of the rabbis that some saints and some writings of Christianity had openly encouraged anti-Semitism.

In making the charge, Chief Rabbi Meir Jais of Paris cited Justin and John Chrysostom among such saints, and some of the writings of John, Matthew and the Apostles. He added a tribute, however, to the “new era” created by the late Pope John XXIII, and Augustin Cardinal Bea, head of the Vatican Secretariat which drafted the strong declaration on Jews provisionally approved by the third Ecumenical Council session last November.

Chief Rabbi Jacob Kaplan of Frarce devoted most of his talk to the “good work” done by countless Popes in preventing anti-Semitism. Father Avril, the head of the French Dominicans, denounced the charge of “deicide” against the Jewish people in the crucifixion of Jesus as “a primitive and vulgar symptom because collective accusations belong only to primitive communities.”

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