History of Christian Anti-Semitism - Term Paper

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At this point in the declaration, the sentiments of the church become very expressive -- "The Church... cannot forget that she received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God... concluded the Ancient Covenant;" thus, "most of the early disciples who proclaimed Christ's gospel to the world, sprang from the Jewish people."

This declaration then concludes by focusing on the status of the Jewish people in relation to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ:

Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so great, this sacred synod wants to foster and recommend... mutual understanding and respect...

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....Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God....Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone" (Declaration on the Relation," Internet).

With all this in mind, it is abundantly obvious that the Catholic Church under the guidance of the Vatican II Council redeemed itself of the conflicts associated with the Jewish people.

Since Vatican II, the progress which has been made between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people is indeed inspiring and historically unprecedented. According to the Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration of Nostra Aetate, the Jewish question examined by the Vatican II Council marked "an important milestone in the history of Jewish-Christian relations" and provided "an opportunity to open (and) to continue a dialogue with a view to better mutual understanding." Also, those that adhere to the Catholic faith "must strive to acquire a better knowledge of the basic components of the religious tradition of Judaism" via "the essential traits (that) Jews define themselves in the light of their own religious experience," all of which has been accomplished within the last twenty-five years.

Of course, the dialogue between Jews and the Catholic Church are currently quite open and cordial despite the great differences in their respective faiths. This situation has been accomplished in several ways. First, communication is vital, for it "presupposes that each side wishes to know the other" which deepens the knowledge of both sides and creates "respect for the other" and for "his faith and....religious convictions." But the greatest achievement in this respect from the Vatican II Council is the Declaration of "Dignitatis Humanae" which has allowed Catholics to understand "the difficulties which arise for the Jewish soul." Finally, the outcome of these declarations has made it possible for Catholics and Jews to "meet and study together the many problems deriving from the fundamental convictions of Judaism and Christianity" (Johannes, Cardinal Willebrands, Internet).

In conclusion, the achievements of Vatican II are still in effect in our modern world and have brought about great changes in the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people. For the most part, the immense strides that resulted from Vatican II are all due to Popes John XXIII and Paul VI, two holy men with true connections to the divine and with minds full of openness and hope for the future.

Works Cited

Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions: Nostra Aetate, Proclaimed by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on October 28, 1965." Internet.

Hebblethwaite, Peter. Pope John XXIII: Shepherd of the Modern World. New York: Doubleday, 1985.

Hollis, Christopher. The Achievements of Vatican II. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1967.

Johannes, Cardinal Willebrands. "Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate." Vatican Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews. January, 1975. Internet. The Ecumenical Institute for Jewish-Christian Studies.

Peters, H., Ed. De Ecclesia: The Constitution of the Church of Vatican II Council. New Jersey: Deus Books, 1965.

Reese, Thomas J. Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.

Bibliography

Abbott, Walter M. The Documents of Vatican II. New York: Guild Press, 1966.

Barry, Colman J., Ed. Readings in Church History. Vol. 2. Westminster, MD: Newman Press, 1967.

Declaration of the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions: Nostra Aetate, Proclaimed by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on October 28, 1965." Internet. Accessed July 16, 2005. http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_ council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html.

Hebblethwaite, Peter. Pope John XXIII: Shepherd of the Modern World. New York: Doubleday, 1985.

Hollis, Christopher. The Achievements of Vatican II. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1967.

Johannes, Cardinal Willebrands. "Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate." Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews -- January, 1975. The Ecumenical Institute for Jewish-Christian Studies. Internet. 9/24/2000. Accessed July 16, 2005. http://www.j-cinstitute.org/

ChurchStatements/Roman_Catholic_notes2.htm.

Kloppenburg, O.F.M. The Ecclesiology of Vatican II. Chicago: Nihil Obstat, 1974.

Leddy, Mary J. In the Eye of the Catholic Storm: The Church Since Vatican II. Scranton, PA: HarperCollins, 1992.

Peters, H., Ed. De Ecclesia: The Constitution of the Church of Vatican II Council. New Jersey: Deus Books, 1965.

Reese, Thomas J. Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of…[continue]

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