"Nostra Aetate" Changed Church Teachings on the Jewish People?


This is what a co-worker is trying to tell me. He attends a Scripture/Faith study at his parish, and they’ve been learning about Sr. Rose Thering. She was a Dominican nun who fought against anti-Semitism and was instrumental in getting the following phrases added to the Vatican II document “Nostra Aetate”:

"…what happened in his passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today,” and “The Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God.”

My co-worker claims that these statements changed Church teachings or (in the words of Wikipedia, which echoes his view) “reversed church policy” regarding the Jewish people. Here’s the Wikipedia link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_Thering

Those phrases in “Nostra Aetate” sound like a clarification to me (and a paving of the way to better Christian-Jewish relations), and although I’m sure there has been anti-Jewish sentiment by some in the Church over the centuries, I don’t recall ever reading that “Nostra Aetate” changed Church policy in this regard; however, I can’t really find anything that directly refutes this.

Can anyone shed some light on this? I believe that the phrase “reversed church policy” in the Wikipedia article needs to be challenged.

Thanks very much!

P.S. On a related note, Sr. Thering also viewed “The Passion of the Christ” as anti-Semitic. Here’s one of her comments (also noted in the Wikipedia article) about the movie: “The whole thing was made as if the Jews killed Jesus, and Pilate came off a saint.”


While I can’t provide any extra information for you with regards to Nostra Aetate, I did request a citation for that line in the Wikipedia article - I’ll add it to my watchlist and if no one adds a reference within a couple weeks, I’ll change it to “clarified Church policy” or something along those lines (which is perfectly OK to do according to Wiki’s editing policy) :thumbsup:


Hi zzzimbob,

We can say that the Church did not change her doctrine but changed her attitude. From one of relative hostility to those who are “in error” to one that recognizes the positive aspects of the other. And this applies not only to the Jews but to all men.



The Church has never taught that the Jews are all cursed and completely rejected by God–the proof is in the many converts from Judaism that have been drawn into the Catholic faith and have been joyously accepted into the fold :slight_smile: .

We must, however, also acknowledge that the Jews did turn over Christ to the Roman authorities to be killed and they demanded his crucifixion. However, we cannot say modern Jews did those things. We also must acknowledge that it was our sins that were the primary cause of His death.


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