On the Fortieth Anniversary of Nostra Aetate

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4 Responses

  1. EG says:

    This a another wonderful article from your great site. It is also a fine rejoinder to the recent misguided pronouncements of Mr Abe Foxman. How did this happen to our American Jewish leadership and what can be done to redirect their energies toward common objectives?

  2. Charles B. Hall, PhD says:

    A generally excellent article. However, I’d like to take exception to one item and clarify another.

    I take strong exception to the idea that conservative Protestants as a whole are “supporters” of Jews — unless you really thing that attempts to convert us count as support. The Southern Baptist International Mission Board alone has targeted exactly 5,589,039 Jews for conversion — and that doesn’t count that denominations efforts in North America! They say so on their own internet site:


    I wish I were making this up. The Southern Baptist Convention is by far the largest single Protestant sect in the United States. The comparison of these efforts to the Catholic Church’s official renunciation of conversion efforts is striking. While not all conservative Protestants agree with the Southern Baptists, many do and we should be wary

    The clarification is that neither Hutton Gibson nor Mel Gibson are Catholic for precisely the reasons given: their refusal to accept the authority of the Popes and Church Councils. Cardinal Roger Mahony confirmed this in an interview a few years ago. The Gibson’s bigotry should not reflect on real Catholics.

  3. Max Stesel says:

    Dear R. Adlerstein
    I do not know personally many Catholics, nor am I an expert on the Catholic Church, but as an amateurish observer I question the significance of Nostra Aetate for the Jewish people. The reason is that Catholic Church today is less than a shadow of what it was for the past two thousand years. Its backyard, Western Europe, it the one of the most non-religious, possibly anti-religious parts of the world. Catholic church has always been a populist church. Its branches in various parts of the world had incorporated many elements of the local cutures and religions in quest to secure followers. I question how long the Catholic Church will be on our side of the barricades in the culture war.
    Consider their official ambiguity on evolution.


    Do they not realize that the debate of Evolutionists vs. Intelligent Design is not a scientific debate from either side’s perspective? Rather it is a battle for the separation of the church and state, the Church’s of Atheism dominance of the public school system.
    The Rev. George Coyne, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, encourages to “move away from the notion of a dictator God or a designer God” to that of “encouraging parent”. Is this not a road map to compromise between Catholicism and the forces of Moral Relativism?
    I am not sure if Nostra Aetate was a result of a slow process or if it was a delayed reaction to recognition of the Church’s largely horrific role in the Holocaust. I wonder if it is not only a matter of time till the College of Cardinals will purposely or by chance elect a liberal Pope who with a stroke of a pen will reverse Church’s position on traditional family and other battleground moral issues. Considering the Church’s populist tradition and its weak positions in Western Europe and to some extent in the U.S., this scenario is quite realistic.
    Perhaps, we should focus inward and rectify ourselves for we have no permanent allies in the entire world, we are still a nation which is meant to dwell alone.

  4. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Max Stesel,

    It is true that Catholicism (indeed religion of any kind) is on the wane in West Europe. However, that does not make them irrelevant. Not only are they the largest denomination in the US, but most of South America, which is very religious, is Catholic.

    Perhaps, we should focus inward and rectify ourselves for we have no permanent allies in the entire world,

    Of course we have no permanent allies. But we do not need to worry about who our allies may or may not be in two centuries. Our descendants will be perfectly capable to making that decision at that time. We only need to worry about the battles and issues that G-d has seen fit to put in front of us, and the allies and enemies that we have in this time.

    we are still a nation which is meant to dwell alone.

    Given how long we’ve been in the diaspora, I suspect that we were meant to be dispersed.

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