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U.S. Bishops to Distribute ‘guidelines’ on Relations with Jews

March 15, 1967
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

New “guidelines for brotherhood” which will provide new impetus for improved Catholic-Jewish relations, will be distributed to all American bishops in the United States this month, it was announced here by the Rt. Rev. Msgr. George C. Higgins, director of the social action department of the United States Catholic Conference.

Addressing the Institute on Catholic-Jewish Relations at St. Joseph’s College here, Msgr. Higgins, who was a consultant to the last Ecumenical Council at the Vatican, urged American Catholics to take the initiative in fostering better Catholic-Jewish relations in accordance with the decree promulgated after the Vatican session, which repudiated the collective guilt of the Jewish people for the death of Jesus and deplored anti-Semitism.

Under the guidelines, said Msgr. Higgins, many aspects of church dogma and history will be taught to Catholics in a manner less offensive to Jewish sensibilities. Parochial school textbooks, he declared, will in the future include “a frank and honest treatment of the history of anti-Semitism” in the Catholic Church.

The study of the life of Jesus will be presented, he pledged, “within the context of Jewish life in the First Century, and Judaism of Christ’s day will no longer be portrayed as decadent formalism and hypocrisy. The presentation of the crucifixion will no longer implicate the Jews in deicide.” Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum, director of the interreligious affairs department of the American Jewish Committee, represented Jewish thought at the conference.

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