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Key U.S. and International Events in Catholic-Jewish Relations

 

 

1942—The U.S. bishops issue Victory and Peace, which includes a section denouncing Nazi persecution of Jewish people.

1947—A few Catholics participate in drawing up the Ten Points of Seelisberg (Switzerland). This document lays the foundation for an international Christian-Jewish dialogue.

1959—Pope John XXIII orders that the reference to “perfidious Jews” be removed from the Good Friday liturgy. These prayers were completely revised after Vatican II. Between 1959 and 1963, Pope John XXIII meets with individual Jewish leaders and with Jewish groups. Pope Paul VI continues this practice.

1964— Pope Paul VI visits Israel and Jordan.

1965—Vatican II’s Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate) rejects collective Jewish guilt for Jesus’ death and declares that Jews “should not be depicted as rejected or accursed by God as if this followed from holy Scripture.”

1967—The National Conference of Catholic Bishops issues Guidelines on Catholic-Jewish Relations.

1971—The International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee begins.

1974—Pope Paul VI establishes the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews; a few months later that commission issues Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate.

1975—The NCCB issues Statement on Catholic-Jewish Relations.

1979—Pope John Paul II visits Auschwitz and begins meeting with Jewish people at the Vatican and around the world.

1985—Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews issues Notes on the Correct Way to Present Jews and Judaism in the Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church.

1986—Pope John Paul II visits the Great Synagogue of Rome, referring to Jewish people as “our elder brothers” and saying “God’s covenant with the Jewish people is irrevocable....The Jewish religion is not ‘extrinsic’ to our own religion. With Judaism, therefore, we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion.” Rabbi Elio Toaff, chief rabbi of Rome, leads the Jewish delegation in Assisi for the October 27 Day of Prayer for World Peace.

1987—Pope John Paul II meets with 400 American Jewish leaders in Miami.

1988—The bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (NCCB) issues Criteria for the Evaluation of Dramatizations of the Passion, explaining the need to avoid caricatures and false oppositions. The bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy (NCCB) publishes God’s Mercy Endures Forever: Guidelines on the Presentation of Jews and Judaism in Catholic Preaching.

1989—On the 50th anniversary of World War II’s start, Pope John Paul II writes that Jewish suffering in the Shoah “will forever remain a shame for human history.”

1991—Pope John Paul II visits his hometown, Wadowice, which had a 25-percent Jewish population before 1939. He recalls Jewish friends and classmates killed by the Nazis.

1993—The Holy See and the State of Israel sign the Fundamental Agreement and agree to establish diplomatic relations. Pope John Paul II writes to the Carmelite nuns at Auschwitz, telling them they must move to a monastery farther from the concentration camp.

1994—At the Vatican, Pope John Paul II hosts a concert remembering the Shoah. His letter On the Coming Third Millennium says that for Catholics, interreligious dialogue with Jews and Muslims “ought to have a pre-eminent place” (#53).

1995—The bishops’ conferences of Poland, Germany, the U.S. and the Netherlands mark the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz with statements of repentance. The bishops’ conferences in Switzerland and France (1997), as well as in Italy (1998,) make similar statements.

1997—The Holy See sponsors a symposium, “The Roots of Anti-Judaism in the Christian Milieu.”

1998—The Holy See issues We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah. The NCCB publishes Catholics Remember the Holocaust, which includes We Remember, several articles about it, and the 1995-98 statements from seven episcopal conferences (above).

1999—Jewish leaders participate in an interreligious symposium at the Vatican. Three Jewish and three Catholic scholars are appointed to a committee to review the Holy See’s archives concerning its actions toward Jewish people during World War II.

2000—During his Request for Pardon Mass at St. Peter’s (March 12), Pope John Paul II asks God’s forgiveness for Christians’ sins against the Jewish people. He visits Jordan and Israel. Jubilee Day for Jewish-Christian dialogue (October 3) is scheduled.

Back to Recognizing Our Common Roots: Catholic-Jewish Relations Today

 


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