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Protestants Urge Vatican to ‘purge Itself’ of ‘bigoted Stand’ on Jews

May 18, 1965
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A plea to the Catholic Church to adopt finally the Declaration approved by the last session of the Ecumenical Council, repudiating once and for all the charge of deicide concerning the Jewish people, was voiced here today by the Christian Century, one of the most influential Protestant Journals in the United States.

In an editorial in the current issue, the weekly summarized the status of the Declaration on Relations With Non-Christian Religions, carried overwhelmingly at the last session of the Ecumenical Council, and pointed out that stiff opposition to the Declaration had developed in highest Vatican circles.

“Men of good will still hope that, at its fourth assembly, Vatican Council II will purge itself of hateful, bigoted, unbiblical, divisive and oppressive attitudes toward Jews,” the Christian Century editorial said. “It is not the Jew who is now on trial for the crucifixion of Christ, but Christians who, in vicious bigotry, slay the spirit of Christ in their cruel hounding of innocent Jews. Let the church begin its fourth assembly in contrition and repentance.”

Entitled “Who Kills Christ Now?” the editorial declared: “Few proposals coming before Vatican Council II spoke to the conscience of Christendom more directly or more pertinently than that one which promised to retract the spurious, cruel charge that the Jews of the first century and of all subsequent centuries were collectively guilty of the death of Jesus of Nazareth. Few proposals made by the convening bishops were more certain evidence of the earnestness and thoroughness of their quest for an updating and renewal of the Roman Catholic Church.

“It was clear from the beginning that most of the bishops gathered in Vatican City wanted a strong statement to cancel the shame which the church had brought upon itself by its ancient slander of the Jews. It was plain that they wanted to do what they could to prevent recurrent persecution of Jews. Toward this end they voted in overwhelming majorities. But as is now well known, the will of the majority in a Vatican Council assembly can be stifled by the church’s wily administrators and as happened last fall, by the Pope himself. The council proposes and the Curia disposes.”

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