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Nostra Aetate

October 27, 2017

Nostra Aetate (Latin for “In Our Time), a declaration on the relation of the Catholic Church to non-Christian religions, was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on this date in 1965. In addition to reaching out to Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and other religious groups, Nostra Aetate emphasized that “what happened in [Christ’s] passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures.” The statement thus rewrote centuries of Catholic teaching, which had previously held that the Jews were “the accursed of God.” Nostra Aetate was approved by a vote of 2,221 to 88 of the assembled bishops of the Second Vatican Council; the opponents included churchmen of the Middle East, who “would not even be able to return to our homes” if they had not voted in opposition, said one Egyptian bishop.

“[T]his sacred synod wants to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues.” —Nostra Aetate