- Created: May 28, 1998
- Written by Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy
Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, the president of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, delivered this address at the annual conference of the American Jewish Committee, just over two months after the issuance of the Commission's document, "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah."
I am pleased to have this opportunity of reflecting with you this morning on the document published by the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews on March 16 of this year entitled "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah." But before I begin that reflection I would like to pay tribute to the contribution which the American Jewish Committee has made and continues to make to the process of reconciliation between Catholics and the Jewish communities not only within the United States of America but throughout the world. Your friendship and understanding and cooperation are greatly appreciated by the commission that I head, the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. We look forward to continuing working with you in the years ahead so that we Jews and Christians may indeed, to use some words of Pope John Paul II, "be a blessing to each other" and in this way be a blessing for the world. I'm particularly appreciative of Rabbi Rudin's very sincere friendship, a friendship which I am most grateful for as are all the members of our Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. You may not believe it but he sends me a letter every week and we thus are able to keep in touch with many of the things that are happening here in the United States in the Jewish world.
Our document is the result of a process of reflection that began with the preparations for the visit of Pope John Paul II to the United States in September 1987. This was an especially difficult time for Jewish-Catholic relations. During a meeting in Rome in the summer of that year between representatives of the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, my predecessor in the office of president of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews agreed that the commission would begin a study with the view of having a Vatican document on the relation of the Church to the Shoah. On the following day, September 1, 1987, the participants in this meeting were received at Castelgandolfo by Pope John Paul II, who affirmed the importance of the proposed document for the Church and for the world.
In the years following that decision, the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews engaged in a process of consciousness raising and of reflection on the Shoah at several levels in the Catholic Church, and in different local churches.
Work began on the document soon after I took over responsibility for the Holy See's commission in January 1990, and we set out with the idea that one single document would cover all that the Catholic Church throughout the world might wish to state on this great tragedy of the twentieth century.
As the work proceeded, it became clear, however, that the experience and involvement of the local churches throughout the world in relation to the Shoah were very different. What the Church in Germany or Poland would want to say in this regard would not be identical, and even their statements would not be appropriate for the particular churches in other continents.
The bishops' conferences in Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Hungary, and France went ahead and each issued a statement that, while deal ing with the same general topic, referred in a special way to the particular experience of the peoples in their countries. Italy followed by presenting last March 16 a formal letter to the Italian Jewish community strongly condemning antisemitism and deeply regretting the past treatment of Jews in Italy. The way was thus open to the Holy See to speak to, and on behalf of the universal Church.
It is important to keep this fact in mind as one reads the Vatican's statement. We address our reflection to "our brothers and sisters of the Catholic Church throughout the world," and "we ask all Christians to join us in meditating on the catastrophe which befell the Jewish people." And we conclude with an invitation to "all men and women of good will to reflect deeply on the significance of the Shoah," stating that "the victims from their graves and the survivors through the vivid testimony of what they have suffered, have become a loud voice calling the attention of all of humanity. To remember this terrible experience is to become fully conscious of the salutary warning it entails: The spoiled seeds of anti-Judaism and antisemitism must never again be allowed to take root in any human heart."
It is also important for an objective understanding of the document to keep in mind that our commission saw in this initiative the possibility of promoting among the Catholics in those countries that were far removed by geography and history from the scene of the Shoah an awareness of past injustices by Christians to the Jewish people and encourage their participation in the present efforts of the Holy See to promote throughout the Church "a new spirit in Jewish-Catholic relations: a spirit which emphasizes cooperation, mutual understanding, and reconciliation, good-will and common goals, to replace the past spirit of suspicion, resentment, and distrust."1
In the Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate, no. 4, published on December 1, 1974, the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews recalled that "the step taken by the council finds its historical setting in circumstances deeply affected by the memory of the persecution and massacre of the Jews which took place in Europe just before and during the Second World War." Yet, as the Guidelines point out, "the problem of Jewish-Christian relations concerns the Church as such since it is when 'pondering her own mystery' that she encounters the mystery of Israel. Therefore, even in areas where no Jewish communities exist, this remains an important problem."
Such a document had by its very nature to attract the attention of and not alienate those to whom it was addressed. As I stated in my presentation of this document on March 16, it is to be seen as "another step on the path marked out by the Second Vatican Council in our relations with the Jewish people," and I expressed our fervent hope at that time "that it 'will help to heal the wounds of past misunderstandings and injustices' (Pope John Paul II)."2
What the Document States
As we approach the close of one Christian millennium and the birth of a third Christian millennium, the Church has been called by Pope John Paul II, in his apostolic letter Tertia Millennia Adveniente, to "become more fully conscious of the sinfulness of her children, recalling those times in history when they departed from the spirit of Christ and his Gospel and, instead of offering to the world the witness of a life inspired by the values of faith, indulged in ways of thinking and acting which were truly forms of counterwitness and scandal."3
The document "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah" is to be read in this context. Indeed, it concerns one of the main areas in which Catholics should seriously take to heart the pope's summons. While no one can remain indifferent to the "unspeakable tragedy" of the attempt of the Nazi regime to exterminate the Jewish people, for the sole reason that they were Jews, the Church has a special obligation to reflect on this "horrible genocide," "by reason of her very close bonds of spiritual kinship with the Jewish people and her remembrance of the injustices of the past." Moreover, "the Shoah took place in Europe, that is, in countries of long-standing Christian civilization."
This, states the document, raises the question of the relation between the Nazi persecution and the attitudes down through the centuries of Christians toward Jews. In such a short document it was not possible to dwell at any length on the history of these relations, but the text admits clearly the prevalence over many centuries of anti-Judaism in the attitude of the Church towards the Jewish people. It acknowledges the "erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament regarding the Jewish people and their alleged culpability," a "generalized discrimination" in their regard "which ended at times in expulsions or attempts at forced conversions," attitudes of suspicion and mistrust, while in times of crisis "such as famine, war, pestilence or social tensions, the Jewish minority was sometimes taken as a scapegoat and became the victim of violence, looting, even massacres."
While lamenting this anti-Judaism, the document makes a distinction between this and the antisemitism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, based on racism and extreme forms of nationalism, theories contrary to the constant teaching of the Church on the unity of the human race and on the equal dignity of all races and peoples. The antisemitism of the Nazis was the fruit of a thoroughly neopagan regime, with its roots outside of Christianity and, in pursuing its aims, it did not hesitate to oppose the Church and persecute its members also. The Nazi regime intended "to exterminate the Jewish people ... for the sole reason of their Jewish origin."
No attempt is made in the document to deny that "the Jewish people have suffered much at different times and in many places while bearing their unique witness to the Holy One of Israel and to the Torah." "But the Shoah was certainly the worst suffering of all. The inhumanity with which the Jews were persecuted and massacred during this century is beyond the capacity of words to convey. All this was done to them for the sole reason that they were Jews" (my emphasis).
That does not mean of course that the Nazi persecution of the Jews was not made easier by the anti-Jewish prejudices imbedded in some Christian minds and hearts. This is clear in the document. What we state, however, is that before making accusations against people as a whole or individuals, one must know what precisely motivated them in a particular situation.
There were members of the Church who did everything in their power to save Jewish lives, even to the point of placing their own lives in danger. Many did not. Some were afraid for themselves and those near to them; some took advantage of the situation; and still others were moved by envy. Let me quote the document on this central point:
As Pope John Paul II has recognized, alongside such courageous men and women (those who did their best to help), the spiritual resistance and concrete action of other Christians was not that which might have been expected from Christ's followers. We can not know how many Christians in countries occupied by or ruled by the Nazi powers or their allies were horrified at the disappearance of their Jewish neighbors and yet not strong enough to raise their voices in protest. For Christians, this heavy burden of conscience of their brothers and sisters during the Second World War must be a call to penitence. We deeply regret the errors and failures of those sons and daughters of the Church....
At the end of this millennium the Catholic Church desires to express her deep sorrow for the failures of her sons and daughters in every age. This is an act of repentance (teshuvah), since, as members of the Church, we are linked to the sins as well as to the merits of all her children.
"We Remember" closes with the prayer "that our sorrow for the tragedy which the Jewish people has suffered in our century will lead to a new relationship with the Jewish people. We wish to turn awareness of past sins into a firm resolve to build a new future in which there will be no more anti-Judaism among Christians or anti-Christian sentiment among Jews, but rather a shared mutual respect, as befits those who adore the one Creator and Lord and have a common father in faith, Abraham."
Relation of This Document to Other Similar Statements
The document "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah" is not to be seen as the final word on all the questions raised in this reflection. While we do not foresee any other statement from the Vatican in the near future, I am sure that our document will result in renewed study and discussion. Indeed, this has been happening already with the publication of important articles by historians on Pope Pius XII and the Second World War. The document itself notes that "much scholarly study still remains to be done."
It is also important not to take the present document in isolation from those already issued by the episcopal conferences of several European countries or from the numerous statements made by Pope John Paul II in the course of his pontificate. There is no contradiction in these various texts. There is a variety in the tone and in the emphasis placed on certain aspects of the question, due as I have explained to the context in which they were issued and to the audience being addressed.
It is not possible this morning to dwell at any length on these other declarations, but I would like to look for a moment at the Drancy statement of the French bishops, issued on October 2, 1997. This document received almost universal praise from Jewish circles.
The Drancy statement refers in particular to the period of the Vichy government, following the defeat of France by the German forces in 1940. While passing no judgment on the consciences of the people of that era nor accepting guilt for what took place at that time, the French bishops acknowledge that "too many of the Church's pastors committed an offense, by their silence, against the Church herself and her mission" in the face of the multifarious laws enacted by the government of that time.
The bishops find themselves "obliged to admit the role, indirect if not direct, in the process which led to the Shoah which was played by commonly held anti Jewish prejudices, which Christians were guilty of maintaining." At the same time they state: "This is not to say that a direct cause-and-effect link can be drawn between these commonly held anti-Jewish feelings and the Shoah, because the Nazi plan to annihilate the Jewish people has its sources elsewhere."
Reaction to the Document We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah"
The publication of the Vatican document received an enormous amount of publicity worldwide. Our commission has been flooded with reactions from both Jewish and Catholic sources. I would like now to share with you an overall vision of these responses.
From the part of the Catholic Church—and it was to the members of this Church that the document was primarily addressed—the reactions have been very positive. This, as I have already indicated, is important, for the document was intended as one that would teach, arouse interest, and cause reflection within the worldwide Catholic community.
Many of the early comments from the Jewish community were instead distinctly negative. Such comments ranged from "Vatican document dismays Jews" (Australian Jewish News); "It is too late, after 53 years, and it's not enough" (Chief Rabbi Yisreal Lau of Israel); "Document skirts the issue of Church's long silences—Jewish reaction is cool" (New York Times); "An equivocal apology hurts more than it heals" (Los Angeles Times); to expressions of disappointment that this document was less forthright than those issued by various European bishops' conferences (Rabbi Leon Klenicki); that the apology contained therein was "less than unreserved" (Melbourne Age); and so on.
Other Jewish reactions were more positive. While not denying that they would have wished for a more definitive statement nor endorsing all the historical judgments contained in the document, these comments saw also positive aspects of the Vatican's statement:"Mea culpa is a good start" (Rabbi Raymond Apple, senior rabbi of the Great Synagogue Sydney); "The Vatican's welcome first step" (Dr. Paul Bartrop of Bialik College, Melbourne); "Jews didn't get everything they wanted, but what they got was so significant and it doesn't prejudice other important steps. The old things that gave rise to antisemitism are no longer part of Catholic doctrine" (Michael Berenbaum, president of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation);5 "It is my sense that the document, if read in the context of history, represents both a true act of Christian repentance and an act of teshuvah" (David Gordis, president of Hebrew College in Brookline, Mass.);6 "This is a dramatic statement" (Rabbi Kopnick of Fort Wayne).
Rabbi Kopnick in his comments points out a fact that many overlooked, namely: "The Vatican didn't have to do anything." Indeed, Sir Owen Chadwick, a British authority on the Vatican in the Second World War, in an article published in The Tablet on March 28, 1998, expresses the conviction that it would have been better to say nothing:
The Holocaust is the most brutal thing that ever happened. There are still people who suffer from it. There are still people living who remember fathers or brothers or sisters who died in some camp in eastern Europe though they were innocent of wrong. Nothing that anyone could ever say in the way of apology or sorrow or repentance can ever be adequate; anything that is said is bound to be resented. If you wish to avoid resentment (which is a good thing to avoid), say nothing.
I cannot agree with this and was comforted by the reception given to the document in an editorial in The Philadelphia Inquirer, which received our document with this comment:
The document released Monday by the Vatican, "We Remember: Reflection on the Shoah;' is a remarkable, perplexing text, at once an acknowledgment, an apology, and a repentance. The very title is a breakthrough. How crucial that the Roman Catholic Church would tell the world "We remember the Holocaust": That puts an end to three generations of official silence.
Judith Banki, program director of the Marc Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, in a letter to the New York Times, indicates another aspect of our document that has been generally overlooked. In my presentation to the press March 16, I pointed out that the Jewish delegation at the September 1, 1987, meeting with Pope John Paul II in Castel Gandolfo expressed the conviction that a Vatican document on the Shoah "will contribute significantly to combating attempts to revise and deny the reality of the Shoah and to trivialize its religious significance for Christians, Jews, and humanity." Judith Banki rightly, I believe, states that the document "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah" "stands as a clear rebuttal to an entire industry of Holocaust denial and revision. To some 800 million Catholic faithful and to the world at large, the Church has said 'it happened.' One cannot explain away as of no significance a document of the Catholic Church, inadequate or not in the opinion of the Jewish community, which expresses repentance for the actions or silence of its members in regard to a tragedy of 50 odd years ago. That tragedy must have happened."
Some Questions Raised in the Document
One of the criticisms of the document we are reflecting upon is that it asks several important questions, but does not give a satisfactory reply to them. I would like to say a few words about three of these questions.
The first is "the relations between the Nazi persecution of the Jews and the attitudes down through the centuries of Christians toward Jews." It seems to me that it is particularly on this point that most disappointment has been expressed by Jewish leaders.
There can be no denial of the fact that from the time of Emperor Constantine on, Jews were isolated and discriminated against in the Christian world. There were expulsions and forced conversions. Literature propagated stereotypes; preaching accused the Jews of every age of deicide; the ghetto which came into being in 1555 with a papal bull, became in Nazi Germany the antechamber of the extermination.
It is also true that the Nazis made use of this sad history in their attacks on the Jewish people, adopting symbols and recalling events of the past to justify their deadly campaign. It is also true, I believe, that a part of the indifference shown toward the mass deportations and brutality which accompanied these forced movements of helpless and innocent people was a result of the age-old attitudes of Christian society and preaching toward those considered responsible for the death of Jesus.
But to make a jump from the anti-Judaism of the Church to the antisemitism of the Nazis is to misread the nature of the Nazi persecution. To quote from the Vatican document:"The Shoah was the work of a thoroughly modern neo-pagan regime. Its antisemitism had its roots outside of Christianity and, in pursuing its aims, it did not hesitate to oppose the Church and persecute her members also."
The Church can justly be accused of not showing to the Jewish people, down through the centuries that love which its founder, Jesus Christ, made the fundamental principle of his teaching. Rather, an anti-Jewish tradition stamped its mark in different ways on Christian doctrine and teaching. "To the extent that the pastors and those in authority in the Church let such teaching of disdain develop so long, and that they maintained among Christian communities an underlying basic religious culture which shaped and deformed peoples' attitudes, they bear a heavy responsibility.... This is not to say [however] that a direct cause-and-effect link can be drawn between these commonly held anti-Jewish feelings and the Shoah, because the Nazi plan to annihilate the Jewish people had its sources elsewhere" (Drancy statement). At no time did the church authorities seek to exterminate the Jewish people!
A second question that perhaps needs some explanation is a distinction that the Vatican document makes between "the Church" and the "members of the Church." In our document we quote Pope John Paul II, who stated in an address to the October 1997 Vatican symposium on "The Christian roots of Anti-Judaism":
In the Christian world—I do not say on the part of the Church as such—erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament regarding the Jewish people and their alleged culpability have circulated for too long, engendering feelings of hostility toward this people.7
This distinction—the Church and the members of the Church—runs through the Vatican document and is not readily understood by those who are not members of the Catholic Church. Let me state firstly that when we make this distinction, the term "members of the Church" does not refer to a particular category of church members, but can include according to the circumstances popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, and laity.
For Catholics, the Church is not just the members that belong to it. It is looked upon as the bride of Christ, the heavenly Jerusalem, holy and sinless. We do not speak of the Church as sinful, but of the members of the Church as sinful—a distinction you may find hard to understand, but one which is essential to our understanding of the Church.8 An editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer on March 18, 1998, acknowledged that "in Catholic belief, it's impossible to conceive of the Church, divinely ordained and inspired, itself falling into such evil error. But through free will, individual Catholics, even very prominent ones, could so sin."
And that brings me to the third question raised by the Vatican document: the responsibility of certain individual members of the Church, holding the highest positions of responsibility. We have been criticized for mentioning by name some who spoke out against the Nazi ideology and antisemitism. The references to Pius XII, in particular, have been the object of much comment.
I think it important to give credit where credit is due. History will surely find guilty those who could have acted and did not, those who should have spoken and did not. We did not have the information that would have allowed us to enter into judgment of individuals who might have fallen within these categories.
As for Pope Pius XII, it is our conviction that in recent years his memory has been unjustly denigrated. You will all have read Kenneth Woodward's concise article "In Defense of Pius XII" in Newsweek of March 30. Why did we wish to bring Pius XII into our document? For the very reason that Kenneth Woodward wrote his article. Ever since the play of Rolf Hochhuth in 1963 "The Deputy," monstrous calumnies regarding Pius XII and the period of the Second World War have gradually become accepted facts, especially within the Jewish community. In one page, Woodward shows how unjust this process has been.
Already two important articles by historians have appeared supporting the claims made in the document "We Remember." One by Rev. Pierre Blet, SJ, published in La Civilta Cattolica on March 21 and reproduced in L'Osservatore Romano on March 27. Father Blet is one of those who has studied all the documents in the Vatican Archives for the period of the Second World War. The second is an article in German, "Gerechtigkeit fiir Papst Pius XII:' by Professor Herbert Scambeck of the Johannes Kepler University of Linz, Austria, published recently in the Rheinischer Merkur.
Looking to a Common Future
"We Remember" calls on Catholics to renew the awareness of the Hebrew roots of their faith. It expresses deep sorrow for the failures of the sons and daughters of the Church and states, "This is an act of repentance ( teshuvah)." "The Church approaches with deep respect and great compassion the experience of extermination, the Shoah, suffered by the Jewish people during World War II" and sees this as a binding commitment to ensure that "evil does not prevail over good as it did for millions of the children of Jewish people.... Humanity cannot permit all that to happen again." "Most especially," we read in the Vatican document, "we ask our Jewish friends 'whose terrible fate has become a symbol of the aberrations of which man is capable when he turns against God,' to hear us with open hearts."
Finally, we pray that our sorrow for the tragedy of the Shoah will lead to a new relationship between Catholics and Jews. Indeed we see this document as one step in the building up of that relationship.
I am well aware that declarations are not enough; the coming Christian jubilee calls for a real conversion, both internal and external, before God and before our neighbor. As members of the Church, but also as ordinary members of the human race, past history questions us. The silences, prejudices, persecutions, and compromises of past centuries weigh upon us. Is it possible for us, as human beings and as Christians, to kneel before God in the presence of the victims of all times to ask pardon and to hope for reconciliation? I believe that it is. And if it is possible, then we should do it without waiting or losing any time. Tomorrow may be too late. If we could heal the wounds that bedevil Christian-Jewish relations, we would contribute to the healing of the wounds of the world, the tiqqun 'olam (the mending of the world), which the Talmud considers to be a necessary action in building a just world and preparing for the kingdom of the most high.
Our recent document appeals not only to Catholics, but to all men and women of good will to make this kind of reflection, and I would see a particular chal lenge there for those Christians—Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestant—who seek to journey together along the ecumenical way of unity. Could they not join together in this act of teshuvah?
In his article published in The Jewish Advocate and already referred to above, David Gordis expressed the hope that Jews will see the document "We Remember" as a true act of Christian repentance and an act of teshuvah. He makes a comment that seems to me worthy of reflection when he writes:
We have no "repentance" in Judaism; we have teshuvah or "return." The difference is important. As Jews reflect on the past, we look to a positive reshaping of our behavior and our relationship with God and with our fellow human beings. It is inevitable that we have missed the mark in small ways and big ways. We are called on not to punish ourselves, but to reshape our lives, to refocus ourselves to the good and proper way, to the path of God.
And he then goes on to quote Pope John Paul II's letter accompanying the Vatican document on the Shoah, in which the fervent hope is expressed that this document will help heal the wound of the past and "enable memory to play its necessary part in the process of shaping a future in which the unspeak able iniquity of the Shoah will never again be possible." David Gordis himself then expresses the hope that the document will be read in this way and that Jews will "welcome it as another step in making the world a better place, safer and more secure for all people."
This, I believe, is the challenge that faces us, Jews and Christians, in the face of grow ing secularism, religious apathy, and moral confusion, a place in which there is little room for God. We may feel secure in a pluralistic, liberal-orientated society, and there are good reasons to do so. Yet it might be wise to keep in mind the possibility that a society with little room for God may one day have little room for those who believe in God and wish to live according to his law and commandments.9 Whenever we can give united witness to our common values, we should do so.
In any case, I am convinced that Christians and Jews have today a new opportunity of contributing together to the well-being of the societies of which we are both members and indeed to the world in which we live. The possibilities are immense: the care and conservation of the environment; respect for life; the defense of the weak and oppressed; the place of women in society; the promotion of the family; the protection of children; opposition to all forms of racism and antisemitism (which can also take the form of anti-Zionism); the education of future generations; and so on.
On the theme of the family, the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Commission, during its 1994 meeting in Jerusalem, issued a joint statement on the importance of family in society.10 And the recent meeting of the commission which was held in Vatican City in March issued a similar document on the environment.11
Besides the diverse possibilities of cooperation in the field of human rights, there are challenges for us to work together for the protection of the rights of religion, for dialogue with the other great religions of the world—with a spe cial place in this context for dialogue with the believing followers of Islam—and for collaboration in the realm of culture.
This calls for "cooperation, mutual respect and understanding, good will, and common goals," to quote once again the Prague 1990 statement of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee.12 Jews and Christians must learn to listen to each other, to seek to understand the other as the other understands him/herself rather than approach the other with an attitude of criticism or wish to argue or enter into a debate, be open to and respect the other, work together without compromising their own faith or distinct identity, be seen as children of the one and only God who know that God loves them and wants all men and women to know and experience that love, to be together a "light to the nations."
With the document "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah," the Catholic Church has renewed its "binding commitment to ensure that evil does not prevail over good." We ask the Jewish community to take our hand and join us in this challenge.
Final Statement of the Prague 1990 meeting of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee (ILC). Information Service of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity 75 (1990): 176.
Letter of John Paul II to Cardinal Cassidy on the occasion of the publication of "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah."
John Paul II, apostolic letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente, November 10, 1994. AAS 87 (1995): 25, no. 33.
Pope John Paul II, speech at the synagogue of Rome, April 3, 1986. AAS (1986): 1120, no. 4.
Quoted in an editorial of The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 18, 1998.
The Jewish Advocate, April 3-April 9, 1998.
L'Osservatore Romano (November 1, 1997): 6.
No. 8 of the Second Vatican Council's dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium distinguishes "the society furnished with hierarchical agencies and the Mystical Body of Christ" and states that they are not to be considered as two realities. "Rather they form one interlocked reality which is comprised of a divine and a human element." This reality is compared by the council to the mystery of the Incarnate Word.
In the former East Germany, less than 25 percent of the population has a church affiliation. The area known as "Lutherland" (Sachsen-Anhalt, which includes names dear to Lutherans, such as Wittenberg, Eisleben, etc.) was 90 percent Christian before the war. Only 7 percent today are Lutheran, 3 percent Catholic. There are a few Jews and Muslims. The rest are without a religion.
Fifteenth ILC Meeting, Jerusalem 1994, Final Statement.
Sixteenth ILC Meeting, Vatican 1998, Final Statement.
Information Service 75 (1990): 176.