What are your thoughts on the “Nostra Aetate” from Vatican II?
When we recap the teachings of the Church before Vatican II it is less tolerate or even sometimes hostile to Jews
The principal items of Church legislation relative to Judaism have been set forth in connection with the history of the Jews. There remains only to add a few remarks which will explain the apparent severity of certain measures enacted by either popes or councils concerning the Jews, or account for the fact that popular hatred of them so often defeated the beneficent efforts of the Roman pontiffs in their regard.
Church legislation against Jewish holding of Christian slaves can be easily understood: as members of Christ, the children of the Church should evidently not be subjected to the power of His enemies, and thereby incur a special danger for their faith; but more particularly, as stated by a recent Jewish writer:
“There was good reason for the solicitude of the Church and for its desire to prevent Jews from retaining Christian slaves in their houses. The Talmud and all later Jewish codes forbade a Jew from retaining in his home a slave who was uncircumcised” (Abrahams, “Jewish Life in the Middle Ages”).
The obligation of wearing a distinguishing badge was of course obnoxious to the Jews. At the same time, Church authorities deemed its injunction necessary to prevent effectively moral offences between Jews and Christian women. The decrees forbidding the Jews from appearing in public at Eastertide may be justified on the ground that some of them mocked at the Christian processions at that time; those against baptized Jews retaining distinctly Jewish customs find their ready explanation in the necessity for the Church to maintain the purity of the Faith in its members, while those forbidding the Jews from molesting converts to Christianity are no less naturally explained by the desire of doing away with a manifest obstacle to future conversions.
It was for the laudable reason of protecting social morality and securing the maintenance of the Christian Faith, that canonical decrees were framed and repeatedly enforced against free and constant intercourse between Christians and Jews, against, for instance, bathing, living, etc., with Jews. To some extent, likewise, these were the reasons for the institution of the Ghetto or confinement of the Jews to a special quarter, for the prohibition of the Jews from exercising medicine, or other professions. The inhibition of intermarriage between Jews and Christians, which is yet in vigour, is clearly justified by reason of the obvious danger for the faith of the Christian party and for the spiritual welfare of the children born of such alliances. With regard to the special legislation against printing, circulating, etc., the Talmud, there was the particular grievance that the Talmud contained at the time scurrilous attacks upon Jesus and the Christians (cf. Pick, “The Personality of Jesus in the Talmud” in the “Monist”, Jan., 1910), and the permanent reason that
“that extraordinary compilation, with much that is grave and noble, contains also so many puerilities, immoral precepts, and anti-social maxims, that Christian courts may well have deemed it right to resort to stringent measures to prevent Christians from being seduced into adhesion to a system so preposterous” (Catholic Dictionary, 484).