Pope and Jewish leaders commemorate decree exonerating Jews of killing Jesus

Jewish leaders presented their response to the Catholic Church’s “Nostra Aetete,” affirming the close ties between the two religions in the fight against Radical Islam. 

Ahead of the upcoming anniversary of “Nostra Aetete,” a Papal declaration that exonerated the Jews of the millennial-old charge of deicide leveled against them by the Catholic Church, a delegation of Jewish leaders met with Pope Francis and presented him with a document that is a response to the 1965 decree.

The document calls “upon the Church to join us in deepening our combat against our generation’s new barbarism, namely the radical offshoots of Islam, which endangers our global society and does not spare the very numerous moderate Muslims,” Israel’s Haaretz daily reported.

Signed by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, the Conference of European Rabbis and the Rabbinical Council of America, the nine-page document underscores that radical Islam, “threatens world peace in general and the Christian and Jewish communities in particular.”

“We call on all people of good will to join forces to fight this evil,” the letter states.

October will mark 52 years since the promulgation of “Nostra Aetete” (“In our Time”), commissioned by Pope John XXIII, which marked a fundamental change in Jewish-Catholic relations and led to the opening of diplomatic ties between the Vatican and the state of Israel in 1993.

Proselytizing Jews Prohibited

The decree also prohibited proselytizing Jews.

“True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today… Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures,” the Papal declaration read.

In the response presented to the Pope last week, the Orthodox Jewish groups expressed thanks for that policy change, stating that they “understand that [the church] has nonetheless shown understanding and sensitivity towards deeply held Jewish sensibilities, and distanced itself from active mission to Jews.”

While Judaism and Catholicism have diametrically opposed theological differences, the rabbis wrote in the document that “we Jews view Catholics as our partners, close allies, friends and brothers in our mutual quest for a better world blessed with peace, social justice and security.”

Pope Francis replied that the document was an “affirmation that religions must use moral behavior and religious education – not war, coercion or social pressure – to influence and inspire.”

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“This is most important: may the Eternal One bless and enlighten our cooperation, so that together we can accept and carry out ever better his plans,” he said, wishing his Jewish guests a happy Jewish new year.

By: World Israel News Staff