Question on Popes & Saints on the Jews


On many websites I’ve seen the following quotes by popes and saints on Jews. Are they in any way plausibly correct or justifiable or are they cases in which the Ordinary Magisterium has erred?

“…Another threat to Christians has been the influence of Jewish faithlessness; this influence was strong because Christians and Jews were living in the same cities and towns … the number of Jews … has greatly increased … The Jews have so replaced the Christians that some parishes are about to lose their ministers because their revenue has dwindled so drastically. Because the Jews control businesses selling liquor and even wine, they are therefore allowed to supervise the collection of public revenues. They have also gained control of inns, bankrupt estates, villages and public land by means of which they have subjugated poor Christian farmers. The Jews are cruel taskmasters, not only working the farmers harshly and forcing them to carry excessive loads, but also whipping them for punishment. So it has come about that those poor farmers are the subjects of the Jews, submissive to their will and power. Furthermore, although the power to punish lies with the Christian official, he must comply with the commands of the Jews and inflict the punishments they desire. If he doesn’t, he would lose his post. Therefore the tyrannical orders of the Jews have to be carried out … some households of the great have employed a Jew as ‘Superintendent of the Household’; in this capacity, they not only administer domestic and economic matters, but they also ceaselessly exhibit and flaunt authority over the Christians they are living with. It is now even commonplace for Christians and Jews to intermingle anywhere. But what is even less comprehensible is that Jews fearlessly keep Christians of both sexes in their houses as their domestics, bound to their service. Furthermore, by means of their particular practice of commerce, they amass a great store of money and then by an exorbitant rate of interest utterly destroy the wealth and inheritance of Christians. Even if they borrow money from Christians at heavy and undue interest with their synagogues as surety, it is obvious to anyone who thinks about it that they do so to employ the money borrowed from Christians in their commercial dealings; this enables them to make enough profit to pay the agreed interest and simultaneously increase their own store. At the same time, they gain as many defenders of their synagogues and themselves as they have creditors … if it is asked what matters the Apostolic See forbids to Jews living in the same cities as Christians, We will say that all those activities which are now allowed in Poland are forbidden; these We recounted above.”
[Pope Benedict IV : “A Quo Primum”.]

“With great sorrow and mortal anxiety, We have heard that the Jews have in a Christian land the same rights as Christians, that Christian men and women live under the same roof with these traitors and defile their souls day and night with blasphemies.” [Pope Stephen III: Epistle to the Bishop of Norbonne]

“The Jewish people fell from the heights because of their faithlessness and condemned their Redeemer to a shameful death. Their godlessness has assumed such forms that, for the salvation of our own people, it becomes necessary to prevent their disease. Besides usury, through which Jews everywhere have sucked dry the property of impoverished Christians, they are accomplices of thieves and robbers; and the most damaging aspect of the matter is that they allure the unsuspecting through magical incantations, superstition, and witchcraft to the Synagogue of Satan and boast of being able to predict the future. We have carefully investigated how this revolting sect abuses the name of Christ and how harmful they are to those whose life is threatened by their deceit. On account of these and other serious matters, and because of the gravity of their crimes which increase day to day more and more, We order that, within 90 days, all Jews in our entire earthly realm … must depart these regions.”
[Pope St. Pius V: “The Jewish Race” 1569]

“Indeed, if anyone of the clergy or faithful has taken a meal with the Jews, it is determined that, as a corrective punishment, he is to abstain from Communion so that he may be reformed.”
[Council of Elvira: Canon 50 (300AD)]

“Concerning the prohibition of usury and base gain by the clergy; and concerning the prohibition against conversing or eating with the Jews. No priest shall set money out at interest or take unfair profit or be friendly or sociable with Jews; nor should anyone take food or drink with the Jews; for if this was decreed by the holy apostles, it is incumbent upon the faithful to obey their command; and the synod shall excommunicate any one who does not comply with this order.” [Oecumenical Council of Nicaea]

Continued in next post…


“Let no one in the priestly order nor any layman eat the unleavened bread of the Jews, nor have any familiar doings with them, nor summon them in illness, nor receive medicines from them, nor bathe with them; but if anyone shall take in hand to do so, if he is a cleric, let him be deposed, but if a layman, let him be cut off.”
[Council of Quinisext (692 AD)]

“We decree and order that from now on, and for all time, Christians shall not eat or drink with the Jews, nor admit them to feasts, nor cohabit with them, nor bathe with them. They cannot live among Christians, but in a certain street, separated and segregated from Christians, and outside which they cannot under any pretext have houses.” [Pope Eugene IV (1447 AD)]

“The Jews, by their own guilt, are consigned to perpetual servitude because they crucified the Lord.”
[Pope Innocent III: To the Archbishops of Sens and Paris]

“Crucifiers of Christ ought to be held in continual subjection.”
[Pope Innocent III, Epistle to the Hierarchy of France, 1205]

“It is fitting for Jews to serve Christians, but not for Christians to serve Jews. On the contrary, the Jews, as slaves rejected by that Saviour Whose death they wickedly contrived, should recognize themselves in fact and in creed the slaves of those whom the death of Christ has set free, even as it has rendered them bondmen.”
[Pope Innocent III: “Etsi Judaeos”, Decretal cited by Pope Benedict XIV]

“Ungrateful for favours and forgetful of benefits, the Jews return insult for kindness and impious contempt for goodness. They ought to know the yoke of perpetual enslavement because of their guilt. See to it that the perfidious Jews never in the future grow insolent, but that they always suffer publicly the shame of their sin in servile fear.” [Pope Gregory IX, Epistle to the Hierarchy in Germany, 1233 A.D.]

“It would be licit to hold Jews, because of their crimes, in perpetual servitude, and therefore the princes may regard the possessions of Jews as belonging to the State.” [St. Thomas Aquinas: De Regimine Judaeorum]

“And that you order both the aforesaid abusive books [The Talmud] condemned by the same doctors and generally all the books with their glosses which were examined and condemned by them to be burned by fire wherever they can be found throughout your entire kingdom, strictly forbidding that Jews henceforth have Christian nurses or servants, that the sons of a free woman may not serve the sons of a bondswoman, but as slaves condemned by the Lord, whose death they wickedly plotted, they at least outwardly recognize themselves as slaves of those whom the death of Christ made free and themselves slaves. So we may commend the zeal of your sincerity in the Lord with due praises.” [Pope Innocent IV: To King Louis IX]

“We declare that the evidence of Christians is to be accepted against Jews in every case, since Jews employ their own witnesses against Christians - and that those who prefer Jews to Christians in this matter are to lie under anathema, since Jews ought to be slaves to Christians and to be supported by them on the grounds of humanity alone.” [Third Oecumenical Council of the Lateran: Canon 26]

“We read in the Psalm a new kind of prophecy concerning the Jews: ‘God has shown me’, says the Church, ‘on the subject of my enemies’, to ‘slay them not in case my people should ever forget.’ Alive, however, they are eminent reminders for us of the Lord’s suffering. On this account they are scattered through all lands in order that they may be witnesses to our redemption while they pay the just penalties for so great a crime.” [St Bernard: Epistle 363]

Continued in next post…


“Poor Jews! You invoked a dreadful curse upon your own heads in saying: ‘His blood be on us and our children’; and that curse, miserable race, you carry upon you to this day, and to the end of time you shall endure the chastisement of that innocent blood.” [St. Alphonsus Maria Liguouri, The Passion and death of Jesus Christ.]

“Pilate took water in accordance with that, ‘I will wash my hands in innocency’, in a manner testifying and saying, I indeed have sought to deliver this innocent man, but since a tumult is rising, and the charge of treason to Caesar is urged against me, I am innocent of the blood of this just man … Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us and on our children. This imprecation rests at the present day upon the Jews: the Lord’s blood is not removed from them.” [St Thomas Aquinas : Catena Aurea]

“Judaism, since Christ, is a corruption; indeed, Judas is the image of the Jewish people: their understanding of Scripture is carnal; they bear the guilt for the death of the Saviour, for through their fathers they have killed Christ.” [St Augustine]

“The Jews, therefore, not only made themselves strangers to the covenants, but also dishonoured the Father and killed the Son in envy.” [St Ephraim the Syrian]

“The Jews are murderers of the Lord … They are guilty of shouting: ‘Away with him, away with him! Crucify him!’ He who was God in the flesh!” [St Gregory of Nyssa: Oration on the Resurrection of Christ]

“Nor is it sufficient that we call Him who is in Heaven ‘Father.’ We must add to the name ‘Our Father.’ This name rebukes and condemns the Jews who not only spurned Christ faithlessly, but also cruelly executed Him Who was announced to them by the prophets, and sent first to their nation. No longer may they call God their Father, because the Lord confounds and refutes them, saying: ‘your father is the devil’ [John 8:44]. O sinful nation, O people weighed down with guilt, breed of evil-doers, lawless children, you have turned your backs on the Lord and have provoked the Holy One of Israel.” [St Cyprian: On The Lord’s Prayer]

“If someone should kill the beloved son of a man, and then stretch forth their hands still stained with blood to the afflicted father, asking for fellowship, would not the blood of his son, still visible on the hand of his murderer, provoke him to just anger instead? And such are the prayers of the Jews, for when they stretch forth their hands in prayer, they only remind God the Father of their sin against His Son. And at every stretching forth of their hands, they only make it obvious that they are stained with the blood of Christ.”
[St Basil: On Prayer, Sermon Nine]

“Judas betrayed Me, the Jews persecuted and crucified Me … In particular, this is the story of Judas; in general it is that of the Jews … Judas is cursed, that in Judas the Jews may be accursed.” [St Jerome]


Well, I read the first two pages of quotes and skimmed through the rest and all I can say is that in no way, shape or form can I see how any of these statements would contradict the dogmas of ordinary or papal infallibility. Most seemed like heavy handed and even cruel judgements on the Jewish people, but nothing posted looked like it was meant to be a teaching on a matter of faith or morals that was definitively binding, then and forever, on the entire church, clergy and lay faithful. Try to remember that for something to be a teaching of ordinary infallibility, it has to be something that is clear to the whole Church has always been taught, since at least the time of the Early Church Fathers, by all bishops everywhere, like the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ.

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