Gathering of world religions proposed
ANTI-SEMITISM ON AGENDA
By Our Rome Correspondent
I CAN categorically deny assertions that pressure from Arab States will stop the Vatican Council from discussing anti-Semitism, and the relations of Jews and Christians. The Council's second session opens next month.
I learn this week, from Cardinal Bea's Secretariat for Christian Unity, that it has definitely prepared a statement on Jewish questions. This has been incorporated into the 17 new Schemata which will form the basis of the session's debates, Moreover, Cardinal Koenig. Archbishop of Vienna, is reported to have said recently that, only a few weeks ago, a suggestion was raised in connection with the Council that a conference of all the great world religions should be called—the first of its kind in history.
Speaking at a conference of Austrian students, the Cardinal is also reported to have said that the first steps towards such a gathering were under way.
After a visit to Rome. Mr. Zechariah Shuster, director of the European Office of the American Jewish Committee, has made a statement in Paris echoing Mgr. Oesterreicher's dissent from a comment made by the American theologian, Fr. Gustav Weigel, Si.
Fr. Weigel had told a Jewish audience in Atlantic City that fear of offending the Arabs would prevent the Council from taking a stand on anti-Semitism, But Mr. Shuster has declared: "The position of the Vatican on this question has not changed. and the obstacles mentioned by Fr. Weigel are not going to block discussion of this subject."
Vatican sources had assured him that there was no authority behind Fr. Weigel's remarks. and that they were not in accordance with the facts.
Earlier this year, Cardinal Bea had personal talks with two prominent Jewish leaders, and assured them of the Church's stand against anti-Semitism.
In a recent interview with the Italian paper Vita, Cardinal Tisserant, Dean of the Sacred College, declared that the Council must take a stand against antiSemitism,
It is known that Cardinal Bea prepared a statement for the Council on Catholic-Jewish questions after the Vatican Council invited world Jewish leaders to send in their views in 1960: and that, in 1961, the Council's Central Preparatory Commission discussed the charge of deicide which has been imputed to the entire Jewish people.
Whatever the truth about Arab pressure putting the block on this earls effort, there is no doubt that the issue will come up now.
The article by Mr. Zachariah Shuster in the OBSERVER at the weekend echoes current suggestions that some Catholic theologians are coming to take a more sympathetic view about the guilt of the Jewish people in regard to the death of Our Lord: and that this has come about as a result of a reappraisal of Scripture interpretation. The CATHOLIC HERALD has invited Fr. Thomas Corbishley, Si.. to comment on this.