Catholics Must Accept Vatican II on Judaism
Pope Benedict XVI, Lord Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, and Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, are pictured in 2011 at the Vatican. T he Catholic Churchs relationship to Judaism as taught by the Second Vatican Council and the interpretations and developments of that teaching by subsequent popes are binding on a Catholic, Cardinal Koch said. (photo: CNS/LOsservatore Romano via Reuters)
18 May 2012 by Cindy Wooden
ROME (CNS) — The Catholic Churchs
relationship to Judaism as taught by the Second Vatican
Council and the interpretations and developments of that
teaching by subsequent popes, are binding on a
Catholic, said the Vatican official responsible for
relations with the Jews.
Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the
Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the
Jews and a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith, spoke to reporters May 16 after delivering a
speech on Catholic-Jewish relations in light of Vatican IIs
declaration Nostra Aetate on the churchs relations with
The afternoon speech followed Cardinal Kochs
participation in a meeting of the doctrinal congregation to
examine the latest progress in the Vaticans reconciliation
talks with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X.
There are questions to clarify in discussions with
this community. I cant say more than that, he told
reporters, echoing a Vatican statement saying the
reconciliation talks are ongoing.
In addition to the highly publicized position of
Bishop Richard Williamson, an SSPX bishop who denies
the Holocaust, public statements by the societys superior
general, Bishop Bernard Fellay, leave in doubt whether
the society as a whole accepts the entirety of Nostra
Aetate, including its condemnations of anti-Semitism and
of the idea that the Jews were to blame for the death of
All the doctrinal decisions of the church are
binding on a Catholic, including the Second Vatican
Council and all its texts, Cardinal Koch said when asked
if the SSPX would be expected to accept all the teachings
of Vatican II. The Nostra Aetate declaration of the
Second Vatican Council is a clear decree and is important
for every Catholic, he added.
At the same time, Cardinal Koch said, it is very
necessary to make clear the difference between the
position of the Society of St. Pius X and the negation of
the Shoah (the Holocaust), which is a position that has no
place in the Catholic Church. It is very clear.
Following the revelation of Bishop Williamsons
comments about the Holocaust, SSPX leaders issued a
statement saying his position in no way reflected the
views of the society. Im very happy about this, Cardinal
Koch said. The Holy Father has spoken clearly about this
position of Williamson, that its not possible, there is no
place for deniers in the Catholic Church.
In his speech at Romes Pontifical University of
St. Thomas Aquinas, Cardinal Koch said Nostra Aetate
is the foundation document and the Magna Carta of the
dialogue of the Roman Catholic Church with Judaism.
The declaration highlighted the Jewish roots of
Christianity and took an unambiguous position against
every form of anti-Semitism, he said.
Tags: Catholic-Jewish relations Judaism Cardinal Kurt Koch anti-Semitism