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Appendix 'On the Jews' to the "Declaration on Ecumenism"

In the light of the informal discussions of December 1963, Cardinal Bea and his drafting committee produced the following revision, which was presented to the Secretariat for Christian Unity in March 1964 and thence to the Council's Coordinating Commission.


With a heart full of gratitude, the Church of Christ acknowledges that, according to God’s mysterious saving design, the beginnings of her faith and her election can already be found among the Patriarchs and Prophets. For all Christians believers, Abraham’s children by faith (cf. Gal 3:7), are included in the same Patriarch’s call and the salvation of the Church is mysteriously foreshadowed in the deliverance of the chosen people out of the land of bondage. The Church, a new creation in Christ (cf. Eph 2:15) and people of the New Covenant can never forget that she is the continuation of that people with whom God, in His inexpressible mercy, was once pleased to enter into the Old Covenant and to whom He chose to entrust the revelation contained in the Books of the Old Testament.

Indeed, the Church believes that Christ, our Peace, freely faced His passion and death, because of the sins of all people. Nor does the Church forget that Christ was born of the Jewish people according to the flesh, that the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ, was thus born, that thus were born the Apostles, the bulwark and the pillars of the Church.

Since the patrimony common both to Christians and Jews is thus of such a magnitude, this Sacred Synod wants to foster and recommend in every way mutual understanding and respect which is, above all, the fruit of biblical and theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues; moreover, in her rejection of injustices of any kind and wherever inflicted upon people, deplores and condemns hatred and persecution of the Jews, whether it arose in the past or in our own times.

May all, then, ensure that in their catechetical work or in their preaching they never present the Jewish people as one rejected, cursed, or guilty of deicide nor do teach anything that could give rise to hatred or contempt of the Jews in the hearts of Christians.

For all such words or actions would be contrary to the will of Jesus Christ, who embraces Jews and Gentiles with one and the same love.

[Translation by Maria Brutti from the original Latin text, see Acta Synodalia Sacrosancti Concilii Ecumenici Vaticani Secundi (Vaticanis: Typis Polyglottis, 1990), vol. 5, pars 2, 283-284.]