Jewish Leaders Denounce Traditionalists Remarks
21 Oct 2011 by John Thavis
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Jewish groups have
called on the Vatican to suspend reconciliation talks with
a traditionalist group after one of its bishops argued that
the Jewish people were responsible for the death of Jesus.
Comments like these take us back decades to the
dark days before there was a meaningful and mutually
respectful dialogue between Jews and Roman Catholics,
Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the
Conference of European Rabbis, said in a statement Oct. 19.
We call upon the Catholic Church to suspend
negotiations with extremist Catholic tendencies until it is
clear that these groups show a clear commitment to
tackling anti-Semitism within their ranks, he said.
He was referring to comments by Bishop Richard
Williamson, a member of the Society of St. Pius X, who
said recently in his online newsletter that the killing of
Jesus was truly deicide, the killing of God and that only
the Jews (leaders and people) were the prime agents of the
deicide because they clamored for his crucifixion.
Bishop Williamson criticized modern church
leaders who have moved away from that position, and
said: Until (the Jews) convert at the end of the world, as
the church has always taught they will do, they seem
bound to choose to go on acting, collectively, as enemies
of the true Messiah.
Bishop Williamson, one of four bishops whose
excommunication was lifted in 2009 by Pope Benedict
XVI, became well-known at that time for his remarks
denying the Holocaust. He has since been told by the
Vatican that he will not be welcomed into full communion
in the church until he disavows and publicly apologizes
for those comments.
Meanwhile, Bishop Williamson has grown
increasingly estranged from the leaders of the Society of
St. Pius X. Bishop Bernard Fellay, the head of the society,
recently told Bishop Williamson to stop publishing his
In New York, the Anti-Defamation League called
on the Vatican to publicly repudiate Bishop Williamsons
Bishop Williamsons remarks are further
evidence that the Society of St. Pius X has no place in the
mainstream church, said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL
It is hard for us to imagine how a congregation
that does not accept fundamental church teachings against
anti-Semitism, and promotes classic anti-Jewish canards,
can be accepted back into the fold, he said.
In its landmark 1965 document on non-Christian
religions, Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council affirmed that though Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ, neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his passion.
The document said that although the church is the
new people of God, the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed. The text also underlined the churchs common heritage with the Jews.
Tags: Vatican Interreligious Jews Christian-Jewish relations