In connection with the 40th anniversary of the issuance of Nostra Aetate, the declaration of the Second Vatican Council that marked a turning point in Christian-Jewish relations, www.jcrelations.net is posting a revised translation of this historic document. Although the revised version was published almost a decade ago, in the volume Vatican Council II: Constitutions Decrees, Declarations. A Completely Revised Translation in Inclusive Language, edited by Austin Flannery, O.P. (Northport, NY: Costello Publishing, 1996), it has not come to as wide public notice as the traditional version.
Nostra Aetate ("In our time" or "In our day") - so named after its opening words in the Latin text - deals with the relation of Christianity and the Catholic church to non-Christian religions as a whole, but is best known for its Section 4, dealing with the Jews and Judaism. Its key assertions read, in the new translation:
Even though the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ (see Jn 19:6), neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his passion. It is true that the church is the new people of God, yet the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy scripture. . . . Remembering, then, its common heritage with the Jews and moved not by any political consideration, but solely by the religious motivation of Christian charity, it deplores all hatreds, persecutions, displays of antisemitism directed against the Jews at any time or from any source.
The traditional translation of Nostra Aetate will also remain posted on the site.
Franklin Sherman, Managing Editor