POPE JOHN A CONFESSION of Christian guilt for centuries of persecution and slaying of Jews,
written by the late Pope John, was read at an interreligious symposium in Chicago.
Mgr. John S. Quinn of Chicago, a peritus (expert) at the Second Vatican Council, said the Pope's statement was composed as an act of reparation and prayer for forgiveness to he read in Catholic churches. He noted that it was finished jug before Pope John died in June, 1963, but never was read in local parishes.
The priest said the late Pontiff's statement was: "We are conscious today that many, many centuries of blindness have cloaked our eyes so that we can no longer sec the beauty of Thy chosen people nor recognise in their faces the features of our privileged brethren.
"We realise that the mark of Cain stands upon our foreheads. Across the centuries our brother Abel has lain in the blood which we drew or shed tears we caused by forgetting Thy love.
"Forgive us for the curse we falsely attached to their name as Jews. Forgive us for crucifying Thee a second time in their flesh. For we know not what we did ..."
Mgr. Quinn, chief justice of the Chicago archdiocesan marriage court, was a speaker at a symposium on "The Ecumenical Council—A New Era in Christian-Jewish Relations". It was sponsored by St. Xavier Catholic College and the B'nai B'rith Women's Council of Greater Chicago.
He went on to point out that Pope John's statement is reflected in the Vatican Council's draft declaration on the Jews which exculpates them from the ancient charge of deicide.
The Council's document, he said, "denounces hatred and persecution of Jews" and "repudiates the idea that the Jews were cursed or rejected by God.
"It calls on Christians to foster relations of mutual esteem and knowledge with Jews," he added. and "does not contain any expression of proselytising."