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Declaration on Relations of the
Catholic Church to Non-Christian Religions

(November 19, 1964)

Official Summary Of Text Submitted To Ecumenical Council

“The Council searches into the mystery of the Church. The Church of Christ gratefully acknowledges that, according to God’s fervent desire, the beginning of her faith and her religion were already present among the Patriarchs, Moses and the Prophets. The Church cannot forget that she received the revelation of the Old Testament from the people with whom God in His mercy concluded the former Covenant.

“The Church believes that, by His death, Christ reconciled Jews and Gentiles, making both one. The Church keeps in mind what St. Paul says about his kinsmen: ‘Theirs is the Sonship and the glory, the Covenant and the giving of the Law, the worship and the promises. Theirs are the Patriarchs, and of them is the Christ according to the flesh.’ The Son, the Virgin Mary, the Apostles as well as most of the early disciples sprang from the Jewish people.

“Even though a large part of the Jews did not accept the Gospels, they remain dear to God for the sake of the Patriarchs. God’s gifts and call are irrevocable.

“The Church awaits that day, known to God alone, on which ‘all people will address the Lord in a single voice and serve Him shoulder to shoulder.’ This spiritual patrimony, common to Christians and Jews, is very rich. Thus, the Council supports and recommends the mutual knowledge and respect for the truth, above all of Biblical and theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogue.

“The Church, in her rejection of any injustice, is mindful of this common patrimony between Christians and Jews; Thus, the Council deplores and condemns the hatred and persecution of Jews, whether they arose in former times or in our own day. Nothing in the catechetical work of preaching should teach anything that could give rise to hatred or contempt for Jews in the hearts of Christians.

“The Jewish people should never be presented as one rejected, cursed or guilty of deicide. What happened to Christ in His passion cannot be attributed to the whole people then alive, much less to those of today. Besides, the Church held and holds that Christ underwent His passion in death freely because of the sins of all men and out of infinite love. Christian preaching proclaims the Cross of Christ as the sign of God’s all-embracing love and as the fountain from which every grace flows.”

Source: “Vatican Declaration Absolves Jews of Deicide; Condemns Anti-semitism,” JTA, (November 19, 1964).