1942The U.S. bishops
issue Victory and Peace, which includes a section denouncing
Nazi persecution of Jewish people.
1947A few Catholics
participate in drawing up the Ten Points of Seelisberg (Switzerland).
This document lays the foundation for an international Christian-Jewish
1959Pope 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.
Pope Paul VI visits Israel and Jordan.
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.”
Conference of Catholic Bishops issues Guidelines on Catholic-Jewish
Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee begins.
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
1975The NCCB issues
Statement on Catholic-Jewish Relations.
1979Pope John Paul
II visits Auschwitz and begins meeting with Jewish people at the Vatican
and around the world.
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.
1986Pope 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.
1987Pope John Paul
II meets with 400 American Jewish leaders in Miami.
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.
1989On 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.”
1991Pope 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
1993The 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.
1994At 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”
1995The 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.
1997The Holy See sponsors
a symposium, “The Roots of Anti-Judaism in the Christian Milieu.”
1998The 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
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.
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.
Recognizing Our Common Roots: Catholic-Jewish Relations Today