New York, NY, February 23, 2004 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today praised the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for rushing into print a collection of key documents relating to Catholic teaching on Jews, the death of Jesus and "the sin of anti-Semitism" in advance of the Ash Wednesday release of Mel Gibson's controversial film "The Passion of the Christ."
The Bible, the Jews and the Death of Jesus: A Collection of Catholic Documents includes the Church's most important statements on Jews and anti-Semitism, including Nostra Aetate of the Second Vatican Council, statements by Pope John Paul II, and documents on the production of Passion plays. The 110-page publication is being disseminated to parishes across the United States and is intended to make church teachings on anti-Semitism and relations with Jews widely available to Catholic clergy, parish leaders and laypeople.
"At a time when one filmmaker's vision threatens to undo four decades of positive Catholic-Jewish relations, it is heartening that the Catholic Bishops' Conference has taken a stand against anti-Semitism by reaffirming the Church's most important teachings on the death of Jesus," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "We hope that the Catholic Church will make The Bible, The Jews and The Death of Jesus widely available to Catholics in other countries and languages to ensure that the Passion of Jesus continues to be taught as a passion of love, and not a passion of hate against the Jewish people."
Included in the new publication is the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs document "Criteria for the Evaluation of Dramatizations of the Passion," a series of guidelines for the performance of Passion plays, originally published in 1988.