Pope John Paul II: In His Own Words

On Israel
On the Holocaust
On Judaism
Shared Spiritual Patrimony
Recalling the Common Heritage of Jews and Christians
Anti-Semitism is Unjustified and Reprehensible
Abhorrence for Genocide Against Jews
"A Special Relationship" with Heirs of Patriarchs and Prophets of Israel
Importance of Dialogue Based on Sincere Esteem
Jews as "Elder Brothers"
Sincere Sorrow for the Suffering of the Jews
Spiritual Unity with Jews
Address to Jewish Community
Opposing Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia
To German Bishops: Commitment to Protecting Jews
The Need to Triumph Over the Antagonisms of the Past
The Right of Jews to Return to the Land of Their Ancestors
Jews and Christians Must Be a Blessing to One Another

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On Judaism
Anti-Semitism is Unjustified and Reprehensible

On Friday, 31 October, the Holy Father received the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox scholars attending a symposium on "The Roots of Anti-Judaism in the Christian Milieu," sponsored by the Historical-Theological Commission of the Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. "The Church firmly condemns all forms of genocide, as well as the racist theories that have inspired them and have claimed to justify them… Racism thus a negation of the deepest identity of the human being, who is a person created in the image and likeness of God," the Pope told the group of 60 scholars.

Here is a translation of his address, which was given in French. (excerpted)

The subject of your symposium is the correct theological interpretation of the relations between the Church of Christ and the Jewish people. The Council’s Declaration Nostra Aetate laid the foundations for this and I myself, in exercising my Magisterium, have had occasion several times to speak on them. In fact, in the Christian world -- I do not say on the part of the Church as such -- erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament regarding the Jewish people and their alleged culpability have circulated for too long, engendering feelings of hostility towards this people. They contributed to the lulling of consciences, so that when the wave of persecutions inspired by a pagan anti-Semitism, which in essence is equivalent to an anti-Christianity, swept across Europe, alongside Christians who did everything to save the persecuted even at the risk of their lives, the spiritual resistance of many was not what humanity rightfully expected from the disciples of Christ. Your lucid examination of the past, in view of a purification of memory, is particularly appropriate for clearly showing that anti-Semitism has no justification and is absolutely reprehensible.

October 31, 1997

Next: Abhorrence for Genocide Against Jews

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