Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Jewish Organizations in U.S. React Sharply to Vatican Developments

April 26, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress issued statements today indicating their sharp reaction to the new developments at the Vatican in connection with the Declaration on the Jews, which is to come for final adoption before the next session of the Ecumencial Council, which opens in September. Declaring that the report on the rising opposition against the final adoption of this document “fills us with sadness and keen disappointment,” Morris B. Abram, president of the American Jewish Committee, said:

“The introduction of a political factor brought about by Arab pressures astonishes us because, only last May, Pope Paul VI, man audience graciously granted to an American Jewish Committee delegation, himself emphatically expressed the view that this concern with Christian-Jewish relations was solely a religious matter. The theological aspect to which the Times correspondent alludes has received the most intensive scrutiny and deliberation since the Ecumenical Council was first conceived by the late Pope John XXIII of blessed memory. The vote in favor of adoption in principle of the text as it emerged from the third session was 1,992 to 99.

“This action received the universal acclaim of all men of good will the world over, regardless of religious persuasion. A new era in antireligious understanding was about to be born. We pray that the vast forces of enlightenment in the Catholic Church will prevail, and that the final action of the Ecumenical Council will forge an unbreakable bond of human brotherhood, so desperately needed in this strife-torn world,” Mr. Abram declared.

Dr. Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, declared: “The Vatican Council Schema on the Jews was drafted out of recognition that Catholic doctrine has, over the centuries, been a hidden but major cause of anti-Semitism The decision of the Catholic fathers to draft a statement on the Jews should thus be seen not as an effort to exonerate the Jews from the guilt of deicide, but as a means of exonerating the Church from the role its teachings have played in anti-Semitism and the horrors resulting from it.

“As the Catholic Church examines the effect its teachings have had on the history of anti-Semitism, the Jewish people have no role to play but to await with patience and dignity that act of Catholic conscience which is represented in the Schema,” Dr. Prinz stressed.

Recommended from JTA