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The Roman Catholic Church in this country is provided with an historic opportunity to advance this cause--an opportunity to continue the leadership taken in that direction by our American bishops during the great debate on the declaration at the council.

In the years since that time, much has been done in the United States to develop an atmosphere of mutual respect and spiritual kinship between Jews and Catholics.

You can be open to the other faith and appreciative of its values and traditions, but you cannot be both.

This truth is part of the limitation of life and part of the beauty of the diversity of the human experience.

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The largest Jewish community in the world lives in the United States.

In a land that has welcomed immigrants and refugees from persecution, our Church has committed itself without reserve to the ideal of equal opportunity and justice for all.

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Unfortunately, they don’t appreciate how these matters may crop up later to present very difficult challenges.

It speaks from the highest level of the Church's authority to serve notice that injustices directed against the Jews at any time from any source can never receive Catholic sanction or support. Recalling in moving terms the "spiritual bond that ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham's stock," the Fathers of the council remind us of the special place Jews hold in the Christian perspective, for "now as before God holds them as most dear for the sake of the patriarchs; he has not withdrawn his gifts or calling." Jews, therefore, the Fathers caution, are not "to be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from Holy Scripture." The Passion of Jesus, moreover, "cannot be attributed without distinction to all Jews then alive, nor can it be attributed to the Jews of today." The Church, the statement declares, "decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at any time and by anyone." In light of these principles the Fathers enjoin that "all see to it that nothing is taught, either in catechetic work or in the preaching of the Word of God, that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ." Rather should Christians and Jews "further their mutual knowledge of and respect for one another, a knowledge and respect deriving primarily from biblical and theological studies and fraternal dialogues." The council's vision has been further specified and given urgency by subsequent pronouncements of the Holy See and of episcopal conferences and dioceses throughout the world.

The 1975 Vatican guidelines, especially, detail catechetical, liturgical and social action steps that now need to be taken to implement the council's call for renewal.

John and other New Testament references that appear to place all Jews in a negative light is also called for.

(These expressions and references should be fully and precisely clarified in accordance with the intent of the conciliar statement and subsequent teachings that Jews are not to be "presented as rejected or accursed by God as if this followed from Holy Scripture.") , U. Catholic Conference Office of Publishing and Promotion Services, 1976. Roach, "A Renewed Vision of Catholic-Jewish Relations," address to the executive committee of the Synagogue Council of America, March 12, 1981, 14 (December 6, 1984): 406-9.


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