Is the Catholic Church Becoming
a Branch of the Synagogue?
Analysis of the 1986 Visit of John Paul II
to the Synagogue of Rome
This analysis of John Paul II’s visit to the synagogue of Rome on April
13, 1986 is taken from the non-published volume III of my 11-volume
collection on Vatican II, Eli Eli, Lamma Sabacthani?.
Given that Benedict XVI will visit the synagogue of Cologne this
August, it seemed to me that these considerations on the 1986 visit
could provide my readers with some general lines that will probably
also apply to the 2005 visit.|
1. The symbolic-theological character of the visit
John Paul II’s visit to the Jewsih synagogue of Rome had a character
that was substantially theological and should not be viewed as a merely
"pastoral" act, as some would like to present it in order to attenuate
its gravity. Fr. Giuseppe de Rosa, S.J., affirmed its theological
importance in an article in La Civiltà Cattolica commenting on the event:
“The Pope’s meeting with the Hebrew community of Rome – which in some way represented
all the Hebrew communities in the world, at least symbolically – has
not only a ‘human’ content but also an actual ‘theological’ one. It was
the recognition – or better, the confirmation, 20 years after Vatican II – of the ‘turnaround’ worked by the Council regarding the Church’s theological approach to Judaism.” (1)
With the symbolic theological
visit, John Paul II clearly broke the tradition of the Holy Church on
treatment toward the Jewish religion. Quoting the Pontiff’s speech
delivered in the Hebrew temple, a commentator of La Civiltà Cattolica said exactly this:
“As for the 'historical’ character of the event, it lies in the fact
that this gesture definitively closes an era in the relations between
Christians and Jews and opens a new one. What is its real meaning? The
Pontiff himself said it when he declared that 'following the
pontificate of John XXIII and Vatican Council II, this meeting – upon which we must not stop reflecting so that it may provide us with opportune teachings – brings to an end, in some way, a long period.’
The ‘long period’ to which the Pope refers covers the centuries of
reciprocal aversion between Jews and Christians .... The ‘long period’
of Christian anti-Semitism .... was closed with the pontificate of John
XXIII and Vatican Council II.” (2)
Inside the synagogue, JPII bows his head to hear the words of rabbi Toaff
Le Monde des Religions, November-December 2005
On the day of the visit, the Italian newspaper Il Giornale also emphasized the importance of the event:
“No trip of
this pilgrim Pope to any continent was so long as the one he made
today; the short distance between the Vatican palace and the synagogue
of Rome took two thousand years to cover.” (3)
Fr. Giovanni Caprile, S.J., a well-known chronicler of Vatican II, wrote:
“It was a
truly historic event, the first and so far the only such visit in the
life of the Church and the Hebrew community since the time of St.
In Israel, the pontifical gesture was seen as "an unprecedented opening.” (5)
Also, the rabbis who greeted John Paul II did not hide their
satisfaction at seeing the Pontiff abandon the 2,000-year-old doctrinal
position of the Church.
On behalf of the Jews, rabbi Giacomo Saban was the first to express his
“satisfaction at seeing a Roman Pontiff cross the threshold of a
synagogue for the first time.” (6)
Elio Toaff, chief rabbi of the Israelites of Rome, manifested a similar joy:
rabbi of this community .... I want to express my intense satisfaction
with the gesture that you longed for and today made a reality by coming
for the first time in the History of the Church to visit a synagogue, a
gesture that will be recorded in History.” (7),
Therefore, the general opinion
was that the gesture of John Paul II characterized a symbolic rejection
of the former position of the Church, which, based on profound
historical-theological reasons, always viewed the Jewish religion as an
enemy of the Catholic Faith.
1. Giuseppe De Rosa, “Ebrei e cristiani ‘fratelli’ nel ‘fratelo’ Gesù,” La Civiltà Cattolica, May 3, 1986, p. 261.
2. Ibid., p. 260.
3. Il Giornale, April 13, 1986, apud Giovanni Caprile, “Il Papa al tempio ebraico di Rome,” La Civiltà Cattolica, May 3, 1986, p. 267.
4. Ibid., p. 264.
5. Broadcast of Israeli Radio, apud G. Caprile, ibid., p. 265.
6. Giacomo Saban, Opening Speech, L’Osservatore Romano, April 14-15, 1986, p. 5.
7. Elio Toaff, Speech addressed to John Paul II, L’Osservatore Romano, April 14-15, 1986, p. 5.
2. Outright “condemnation” of the Church’s previous conduct
Paul II did not stop, however, at the symbolic rejection of Catholic
tradition. He also severely condemned previous attitudes of the Holy
Church, deliberately ignoring the doctrinal reasons that gave rise to
them. Doing this, he acted as if religious opposition between Catholics
and Jews were nothing more than an emotional phenomenon. This is what
he solemnly and emphatically declared, raising the resounding applause
of the Jews (8) in attendance:
evaluation of the centuries-old cultural conditions could not, however,
prevent us from recognizing that the acts of discrimination,
unjustified restrictions on religious liberty, and oppression against
the Hebrews in the sphere of civil liberty were objectively gravely
deplorable things. Yes, once again, in my person, the Church, in the words of the well-known Decree Nostra aetate (n. 4), ‘deplores
the hatred, persecutions and all manifestations of anti-Semitism
directed against the Hebrews at all times and by whomsoever.’ I repeat:
‘by whomsoever.’” (9)
Who does John Paul II’s outright condemnation ultimately include?
First, it takes in the innumerable Popes who justly condemned the Jews,
as well as the numerous Councils that did the same. Then, in their
footsteps, it includes the great number of Fathers, Doctors, and Saints
who combated Judaism or left behind writings condemning its errors.
Finally, it also encompasses all Catholics in History who, in defense
of the Faith, fought against Judaism. Therefore, John Paul II’s
anathema encompasses the whole Church – “whomsoever” – in over 2,000
years of History – “at all times.”
John Paul II received a standing ovation when he alluded to the
supposed guilt the Church would have for her attitude toward Judaism
throughout the course of History. Carlo de Lucia, “Cari amici e
fratelli ebrei e cristiani...,” L’Osservatore Romano, April 14-15, 1986, p. 5.
9. John Paul II, Allocution at the synagogue of Rome, L’Osservatore Romano, April 14-15, 1986, p. 4.
A. Popes “condemned” by John Paul II
Over the centuries, the Church has never changed her firm, wise stance
on the Jewish question. On the one hand, she prevented the Jews from
being mistreated and she allowed their religion to be practiced in
private. On the other hand, however, faced with the impossibility of
converting them, she rebuked them for the crime of Deicide, exhorted
them to repent, and isolated them in order to prevent them from
Thus, regarding Judaism, numerous Popes taught, condemned, and prescribed the following:
* St. Gregory the Great (590-604), in Epistulae (VIII,
XXV, cf. IX, LV), wrote that unrestricted liberty should not be granted
to the Jews because of the frequent offenses they made against the
In a letter to the Frankish Kings, Theodoricus and
Theodebertus, and to Queen Bruhilda, the Saint reminded them that
Christians, members of the Body of Christ, should never be trampled
upon by Jews, enemies of Christ. (11)
* Honorius I (625-638) urged the VI Council of Toledo, held in
638, to act forcefully regarding the danger the Jews represented for
the Catholic Faith. (12)
* Leo VII (936-939) authorized Archbishop Frederic of Moguncia,
Germany, to expel the Jews from the city, given the constant attacks
they launched against the Catholics. (13)
Cardinal Ratzinger in a friendly pose with rabbi Sirat at the International Jewish-Christian Conference at Jerusalem in 1994.
30 Dias, February 1994
* In a letter of January 17, 1208 addressed to the Count of Nevers, France, (14) Innocent III
(1198-1216) lamented that feudal lords were employing Jews as
“ministers of their extortions” because they exploited Christians
through the practice of usury. (15)
* In 1239, after receiving a report compiled by Nicolas Donin, a converted Jew from La Rochelle, that showed 35 articles in the Talmud insulting the Catholic Faith, Gregory IX (1227-1241)
wrote to the Western Bishops and Sovereigns ordering all copies of the
Jewish book to be confiscated. He appointed William of Auvergne, Bishop
of Paris, to make an investigation on the matter. Once examined, the Talmud
was condemned and copies of it were burnt publicly in Paris in 1242. At
the request of the Jews, the book was examined again in 1248 and
definitively condemned by William of Auvergne and the masters of
theology from Paris, among them St. Albert the Great. (16) In the work Excerpta talmudica [Excerpts from the Talmud], written to justify the condemnation, one reads:
“By a secret design of Divine Providence, the errors, blasphemies, and outrages contained in the Talmud
had hitherto escaped the attention of the Doctors of the Church. The
wall has finally been removed, and now one can clearly see the
reptiles, the abominable idols that the house of Israel adores.” (17)
* Innocent IV (1243-1254) ordered the Talmud to be burned because it was filled with errors and blasphemies. (18) In the Bull Sicut tua nobis
of July 23, 1254, he authorized the Archbishop of Vienna to expel the
Jews from his Diocese on account of their actions against the Catholic
Faith and their disobedience of Church statutes. (19)
* In the Bull Damnabili perfídia of July 15, 1267, Clement IV (1265-1268) also condemned the Talmud. (20)
* In the Bull Nimis in partibus anglicanis of November 18, 1285, Honorius IV (1285-1287) took the same attitude as his predecessors regarding the Talmud. (21)
* John XXII (1316-1334) again condemned the errors of the Talmud in the Bull Dudum felicis recordationis of September 4, 1320. (22)
* In the Bull Dudum ad nostram of August 8, 1442, Eugene IV
(1431-1447) prohibited the Jews not only from living with Christians,
as the Third Lateran Council had already established (Decree V, VI, 5),
but also from living among Christians, given the continuous blasphemies
and attacks of the Jews against the Catholic Faith. (23)
* Nicholas V (1447-1455), Calixtus III (1455-1458), and Paul II (1464-1471) reenacted or renewed the decisions of their predecessors. (24)
* In the Bull Intenta semper salutis, of May 31, 1484, Sixtus IV
(1471-1484) ordered that Jews and Muslins in Spanish lands should live
separate from Christians, should wear different clothing, and should
not have Christian maids or servants in their houses, in addition to
other measures aimed at protecting the faithful from dangers to the
Faith resulting from living with Jews. (25)
* During his pontificate, Leo X (1513-1521) was known for
his goodness toward the Jews, which, incidentally, is recognized by
Hebrew historians. He was, nevertheless, obliged several times to take
action against abuses practiced by them. When he learned that the Jews
had published a book against the Catholic Faith in Venice, he acted in
a particularly severe fashion in his Brief of May 25, 1518, addressed
to the Nuncio of Venice. (26)
Statements from the Talmud
is considered one of the most important books of the Jewish religion.
It wields a great influence on Jews, surpassed only by that of the Torah, the work that contains the principal books of the Old Testament. The Talmud contains the doctrines, laws, and commentaries on Judaism made by the most expressive rabbis throughout History.
The following are some of the statements contained in the Talmud:
“1. The souls of Jews have the privilege of being part of God himself.
The souls of the other peoples of the earth come from the devil and are
similar to those of animals ....
“5. As they await the coming of the Messiah, Jews live in a state of
continuous war with the other peoples. When the victory is definitive,
the peoples will accept the Jewish faith, but it is only the Christians
who will not participate in this grace. On the contrary, they will be
completely annihilated, because they descend from the devil ....
“8. Only the Jews are men; the other peoples are no more than types of
animals. The dog is worth more than the non-Jews. The non-Jews are not
only dogs, but asses. The souls of the non-Jews come from the impure
spirit and the souls of Israel come from the spirit of God.
“9. The non-Jews were only created to serve the Jews day and night, without deviating from their service.
“10. It is prohibited for the Jew to praise the learning or virtue of a Christian.
“11. It is not just to use mercy toward enemies ....
“14. The Jews can be hypocritical with the non-Jew ....
“16. God granted all power over the goods and the blood of other peoples to the Jews.
“17. A non-Jew who robs a Jew, even should it be an alms, should be
killed. On the contrary, it is permitted for Jews to do evil to
non-Jews. To despoil a pagan [that is, a non-Jew] is allowed ....
“19. You can deceive an outsider and practice usury against him ....
“21. Whoever loves a Christian would hate his own creator ....
“23. Annihilate the best of the non-Jews. Take the life of the most honest of the idolaters.
“24. If a pagan falls into a pit, we should cover the pit with a stone
and try to prevent any measure that he might employ to get out. When we
see him fall into a river or in danger of death, we should not save
him. Maimonides counsels giving death wounds to every non-Jew when this
lies within our powers. It is just to exterminate every heretic [that
is, non-Jew] with your own hand; whoever sheds the blood of the impious
offers a sacrifice to God ....
“Those who deny the teaching of Israel, particularly the followers of
the Nazarene, should be killed and it is always a good work to execute
them; if this is not possible, we should try to cause their deaths. But
whoever kills a soul of Israel will be judged as if he had killed the
entire world ....” (apud H. Delassus, La conjuration antichrétienne, vol. 3, pp. 1125-1128)
* Julius III (1550-1555) approved the confiscation and burning
of talmudic books by the Inquisition. He also authorized the edict of
the Inquisition of September 12, 1553 ordering Princes, Bishops, and
Inquisitors to do the same. In the Bull Cum sicut nupe, of May
29, l554, the Pope ordered the Jews to hand over all their books
containing blasphemies or insults against Our Lord Jesus Christ. (27)
* Paul IV (1555-1559) enacted severe measures to defend the
integrity of the Faith and prevent the Jews from dominating Catholics.
In the Bull Cum nimis absurdum of July 14, 1555, the Pope
ordered the Israelites of Rome and other cities in the Pontifical
States to live separate from Christians in their own neighborhood. He
also established that there should be only one synagogue per city and
that Jews could not have Catholic servants, work in public on Catholic
feast days, write dishonest contracts, etc. (28)
The Jews attempted to bribe Paul IV by offering him 40,000 escudos
to annul the Bull. (29) Along with other measures, the Pontiff ordered
the destruction of the talmudic and anti-Catholic books of the Jews.
* Pius IV (1560-1565) in 1564 placed the Talmud on the Index librorum prohibitorum [Index of forbidden books] and prohibited books interpreting, commenting or expounding on it. (31)
* In the Bull Hebraeorum gens of February 26, 1569, St. Pius V
(1566-1572) expressly condemned the Jews who dedicated themselves to
the practice of “divination, sortilege, sorcery and witchcraft.” (32)
In that bull St. Pius V also accused the Jews of other crimes such as
usury, theft, receiving stolen goods, and soliciting for prostitution.
He closes his bull with these words:
consider as known and proven how offensively this perverse generation
[the Jews] offends the name of Christ, how hostile it is to those who
carry the name of Christians, even making attempts against their
By a decree of February 26, 1569, St. Pius V expelled the Jews from the
Pontifical States, since, in addition to the mentioned crimes, the Jews
spied for the Muslims and supported their plans of conquest that
endangered all Christendom. (34) In this Brief, he said:
“We know that this most perverse people have always been the cause and seed-bag of almost all the heresies.” (35)
To this vigilant energy against the Jewish perfidy, St. Pius V added
his zealous desire for their conversion. One of the most remarkable
conversions he achieved was that of the chief-rabbi of Rome, Elias,
followed by the conversions of his three sons and one grandson. On June
4, 1566, they solemnly received Baptism at St. Peter’s Basilica in the
presence of the Sacred College of Cardinals and a multitude of the
* In the Brief of May 27, 1581, Gregory XIII (1572-1585)
warned the faithful and religious authorities against the false
conversions of Jews as a means to infiltrate the Catholic Church. (37)
In the Bull Antiqua Judeorum improbitas of June 1, 1581, the Pontiff established these conditions for when Jews must be submitted to the vigilance of the Inquisition:
a. when they attack Catholic dogmas;
In the Brief of February 28, 1581, the Pope reaffirmed the prohibition
against Jewish physicians tending to Catholic patients. (39)
b. when they invoke devils or offer sacrifices to them;
c. when they teach Catholics to do the same;
d. when they speak blasphemies against Our Lord and Our Lady;
e. when they try to induce Catholics to abandon their Faith;
f. when they forbid a Jew or an infidel to convert;
g. when they consciously favor heretics;
h. when they disseminate heretical books;
i. when, in disdain for Our Lord, they crucify a lamb – principally on
Good-Friday – and then spit on it and spew it with insults.
j. when they oblige Catholic wet-nurses to pour their milk into the
toilettes and sewers after they have received the Eucharist. (38)
* In the Bull Cum Hebraeorum of February 28, 1593, (40) Clement VIII
(1592-1605) proscribed talmudic and cabalistic books, as well as works
written in Hebrew containing errors. (41) The prohibition contained in
this bull was included as a norm in the Index, published on March 27, 1596.
In 1592 Clement VIII re-established the preaching of sermons aimed at
the conversion of the Jews and, at the same time, in the Bull Caeca et obdurata
of January 25, 1593, reiterated the decrees of Paul IV and St. Pius V
expelling them from the States of the Church, with the exception of the
cities of Rome, Ancona, and Avignon. (42)
* Urban VIII (1623-1644) sent a Brief to the King of Spain on
January 15, 1628 opposing the crime of usury practiced by the Jews of
* On September 15, 1751, Benedict XIV (1740-1758) signed and promulgated a document reaffirming the cautionary measures regarding the Talmud taken by the Popes since Innocent IV. (44)
* In October 1775 (45) and January 1793 (46), Pius VI (1775-1799) published two edicts confirming the directives of Benedict XIV regarding the Jews.
* Through a letter by his Secretary of State, Cardinal Merry del Val, St. Pius X (1903-1914) warmly praised the classic work of Msgr. Henri Delassus, La conjuration antichrétinne
[The anti-Christian Conspiracy], which exposes the conspiracy of
Judaism and Freemasonry against the Catholic Church and Christian
10. Dictionnaire Apologetique de la Foi Catholique (DAFC), col. 1726.
11. See also Epistulae IX, CIX, CX, cf. III, XXXVIII, apud ibid., col. 1744.
Other Bulls and Decrees
There are still many other Bulls of Popes and Decrees of Roman
Congregations regarding the Jews, published in various collections and
monographs, which number in the hundreds. In Juifs et chrétiens
(cols. 1735-1736), F. Vernet presents copious documentation on this
topic, transcribed here for readers who may be interested in learning
more on the matter.
* Corpus juris canonici, Decretal. V. 6; Sextus Decretal., V, 13; Decret. Gratiani, Iª, XLV, 3, 5, LIV, 12-18; II, XIV, VI, 2, XXVIII, I, 10-15, 17; IIIq, IV, 93, 94, 98 and Septiumus Decretal., V, 1; A. Guerra, Pontificiarum constitutionum epitome, Venice, 1772, vol. I, pp. 191196 (summarizes 38 Bulls published in the Bullarium Romanum, Bullarium magnum, and other works);
* L. Ferraris, Prompta bibliotheca canonica, Venice, 1782, vol. IV, pp. 208-37 (summarizes a large number of Constitutions by Popes and the Roman Congregations);
* E. Rodocanachi, Le Saint Siège et les Juifs, Paris, 1891, pp. 322-29 (gives an overall picture of the main Bulls relating to the Jews);
* F. Vernet, Le Pape Martin V et les Juifs, in Révue des Questions Historiques, Paris, 1892, vol. 51, pp. 410-423 (analyzes 84 documents), and Papes et Juifs au XIe. siècle, in L’Université Catholique, Lyon, 1896, vol. 21, pp. 73-86 (analyzes documents from the Formularium of Marin d’Eboli regarding the Jews);
* M. Stern, Urkundliche Beitrãge über die Stellung der Pãpste zu den Juden,
Kiel, 1893-1895, 2 volumes. The first volume contains the documents by
Martin V and his successors; the second covers documents from Innocent
III to Innocent IV;
• K. Eubel, Zu dem Verhalten der Pãpste gegen die Juden, in Römische Quartalschrift, Rome, 1899, vol. 13, pp. 29-43 (about the Popes who preceded Martin V);
* Constant, Les Juifs devant l’Eglise et l’Histoire, Paris, undated, 2nd ed., pp. 267-323, includes 16 Bulls on the topic;
* Gregoire des Rives, Epitome canonum conciliorum, Lyon, 1663, pp. 264-68;
* A. Geiger, Das Verhalten der Kirche gegen das Judenthum, in Das Judenthum und seine Geschichte, Breslau, 1870, vol. 2, F. Frank, Dir Kirche und die Juden, Regensburg, 1893.
About the Church and the Jews in the Pontifical States, see: F. Gregorovius, Le ghetto et les Juifs de Rome, in Promenades en Italie, Paris, 1894, pp. 1-60; E. Natali, Il ghetto di Roma, Rome, 1887, vol. 1; E. Rodocanachi, Le Saint Siège et les Juifs - Le ghetto à Rome, Paris, 1891; A. Berliner, Geschichte der Juden in Rom, Frankfurt, 1893, 3 vols.; H. Vogelstaein - P. Rieger, Geschichte der Juden in Rom, Berlin, 1895-96, 2 vols.
On the Church and the Jews of Avignon, see: L. Bardinet, Condition civile des Juifs du Comptat-Venaissin pendant le séjour des Papes à Avignon, in Révue Historique, Paris, 1880, vol. 12, pp. 1-47; R. de Maulde, Les Juifs dans les Etats français du Saint-Siège au Moyen Âge, Paris, 1886, as well as numerous articles in Révue des Études Juives.
12. René Aigrain, L’Espagne chrétienne, Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise despuis les origins jusqu’à nos jours, Paris: Bloud & Gay, 1946-1960, vol. 5, p. 246
13. Auguste Dumas, Le sentiment religieux et ses aberrations, ibid., vol. 7, p. 463.
14 See also the letters of Jan. 16, 1205 to the King of France and of Jan. 10, 1208 to the Bishop of Auxerre
15. A. Fliche, La réforme de l’Eglise, Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise, vol. 10, p. 142.
16. F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens, DAFC, col. 1691; Christine Thouzellier, L’enseignement et les universités, Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise, vol 10, pp. 379-380.
17. F. Vernet, Juifs et crétiens, ibid.
18. Registres d’Innocent IV, vol. 1, n. 682, Potthast, 11376, Chartularium, n. 131, ibid. vol. 1, nn. 173, 178; Saint Louis et Innocent IV, pp. 302-6, apud C. Thouzellier, L’enseignement et les universités, p. 380.
19. F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens, col. 1739.
20. Ibid., col. 1692.
23. Ibid., col. 1740.
24. Ibid., col. 1728.
25. Bernardino Llorca, Bulario Pontificio de la Inquisición Española, Rome: Pontificia Università Gregoriana, 1949, pp. 106-8.
26. Arm. XXXIX, vol. 31, 1518, n. 48, and to the Doge, Arm. XL, vol. 3, n. 331, Vatican’s Secret Archives, apud Ludovic Pastor, Historia de los Papas, vol. 8, p. 350.
27. Bull. VI, pp. 482-3, apud L. Pastor, Historia de los Papas, vol. 13, p. 208.
28. Bull. VI, p. 498, apud ibid., vol. 14, pp. 234-5.
29. See a report on this topic in Révue des Études Juives, XX, 68, Masio, Letters, 515, Berliner, II, 2, 7; Rodocanachi, 40-2.; see also Letters of Saint Ignatius, V, pp. 288-9, apud L. Pastor, Historia de los Papas, vol. 14, p. 236.
30. Caracciolo, Vita, 4, 11; Erler, Arquivo de Direito Canônico, L III, 49; Reusch, I, 48; Vogelstein-Rieger, II, 156-7; Berliner, II, 2, 8-9; see also same author, Censura y confisco de los libros judios en los Estados da la Iglesia, Frankfurt, 1891, apud L. Pastor, Historia de los Papas, vol. 14, p. 239.
31. F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens, col. 1693.
32. Bull. Rom. VII, p. 740, apud L. Pastor, Historia de los Papas, vol. 17, p. 301.
33. F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens, col. 1712.
34. Brief of May 3, 1569, apud Laderchi, 1569, n. 187.
35. Apud L. Pastor, Historia de los Papas, vol. 17, p. 306.
36. Ibid., vol. 17, pp. 306-7.
37. Ibid., vol. 19, p. 281.
38. F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens, col. 1737.
39. L. Pastor, Historia de los Papas, vol. 19, p. 282.
40. Reusch, I, 50, 333, 339, 534.
41. See in Sixtus of Siena (a converted Jew), Bibliotheca sancta, Paris, 1610, pp. 310-1; see the list of books that he destroyed in Cremona; F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens, col. 1738.
42. L. Pastor, Historia de los Papas, vol. 24, pp. 111-2.; F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens, col. 1731.
43. Epist. V, Vatican’s Secret Archive, L. Pastor, Historia de los Papas, vol. 28, p. 285.
44. F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens, col. 1694.
45. Analecta juris pontificii, Rome, 1860, pp. 1422-3.
46. F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens, col. 1694.
47. Henri Delassus, La conjuration antichrétienne, Lille: Desclée de Brouwer, 1910, vol. 1, p. V.
B. Councils “condemned” by John Paul II
The following councils were also included in the radical “anathema” that John Paul II issued at the Roman synagogue:
* The Council of Elvira (302), held at the end of
Diocletian’s persecution against the Christians, issued a canon that
forbade Christians from giving their daughters in marriage to Jews;
another canon prohibited Christians from sitting at the table with
* These prohibitions were confirmed and renewed by the Councils of Laodicea (4th century); Vannes (465); Agda (506); Epaona (517) and by the three Councils of Orleans (530, 533, and 541). (49)
In a canon repeated in the Decree of
Gratian, (III, D.IV, 93), the above-mentioned Council of Agda set down
a series of precautions to be taken before baptizing Jews, “whose
perfidy often makes them return to their vomit.” (50)
* The Council of Mâcon (581) enjoined Jews from holding posts allowing them to impose penalties on Christians. (51)
* In canon 14, the Council of Toledo (589) barred Jews from taking Christian women as wives. (52)
* The Council of Paris (614) sustained the prohibition against giving Jews public posts, whether civil or military. (53)
* The Fourth Council of Toledo (633), canon 59, stated
that the sons of Jews who had falsely converted and then returned to
Judaism should be educated in Catholic monasteries; it also ratified
the measures adopted by King Sisenando regarding the Jews. (54)
* The Sixth Council of Toledo (638), canon 3, issued stern words against the Jews. (55)
The Jews record a long string of false messiahs. It is another proof of Our Lord Jesus Christ's unique mission.
Above, Jacob Frank, a sham messiah.
Below, Sabbatai Zevi, another one.
30 Giorni, December 2001
Menachen Schneerson from Brooklin, NY, a contemporary "messiah" who
died June 12, 1994 without fullfilling his supposed mission
Corriere della Sera, July 3, 1992
* The Seventeenth Council of Toledo (694) was held to
analyze a plot aiming to install a kind of Judaism in Spain under the
appearance of the Catholic Religion. (56)
* Other Councils also forbade Catholics from hiring Jewish
physicians, servants, and nursemaids. According to some Catholic
moralists of the 18th century, depending on the circumstances, to
violate these prescriptions could constitute a mortal sin. (57)
* The Second Ecumenical Council of Nicea (787) denounced the false conversions of Jews. (58)
* The Council of Metz (888), reaffirming former proscriptions in canon 7, prohibited Christians from taking meals with Jews. (59)
* The Third Ecumenical Council of Lateran (1179) forbade
wealthy Hebrews to take Christian nursemaids and slaves into their
service. (60) It also anathematized those who, preferring Jews to
Christians, received testimonies of Jews against Christians and not of
Christians against Jews. (61)
* The Fourth Council of Avignon (1209) forbade Christians
from dealing with Jews in financial matters; canons 3 and 4 impose the
threat of excommunication for such dealings. (62)
* The Fourth Ecumenical Lateran Council (1215), canon 67,
condemned usurious Jewish money-lenders and prohibited Christians from
engaging in commerce with them. Canon 68 ordered Jews to wear clothing
that would distinguish them from Catholics, and also forbade them from
appearing in public on Good Friday to prevent them from mocking the
Christians with their festive dress. Canon 69 reaffirmed the
prohibition of the Council of Toledo regarding Jews holding public
posts. Finally, canon 70 condemned the Jews who, albeit claiming to have converted to the Catholic Faith, continued to practice rites of the Hebrew religion. (63)
* The Council of Narbonne (1227) established that Jews
should wear a distinguishing mark in the shape of a small circle.
According to J. Levi in an article in the Révue des Études Juives,
(64) the circle symbolized the Host, habitually profaned by Jews. This
emblem was adopted to be worn by the Jews everywhere except Spain. The
Popes proposed such a symbol in order to distinguish Jews from
by confusion, the Jews have infiltrated Catholic ranks and committed
crimes that would have been difficult or impossible to carry out if
there had been a suspicion or it was clearly known that they were
* The Ecumenical Council of Basel (1434), among other
measures, required the Jews to listen to Christian preachers and
prohibited Catholics from participating in Jewish feasts. (66)
48. H. Delassus, La conjuration antichrétinne, vol. 3, p. 1157.
50. F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens, col. 1734.
51. H. Delassus, La conjuration antichrétinne, vol. 3, p. 1157.
52. R. Aigrain, L’Espagne Chrétienne, Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise, vol. 5 p. 238.
53. H. Delassus, La conjuration antichrétinne, vol. 3, pp. 1157-8.
54. R. Aigrain, L’Espagne Chrétienne, Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise, vol. 5, p. 241.
55. Ibid., pp. 245-6.
56. Ibid., p. 259.
57. H. Delassus, La conjuration antichrétinne, vol. 3, p. 1158.
58. Terminus, canon 8, in Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta, Rome: Herder, 1962, pp. 121-2.
59. Mansi, vol. 28, col. 79, apud A. Dumas, Le sentiment religieux et ses aberrations, Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise, vol. 7, p. 463.
60. Jean Rousset de Pina, La politique italienne d’Alexandre III et la fin du schisme, ibid, vol. 9/2, p. 167.
61. Decret. II, XX, 21; F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens, col. 1744.
62. A. Fliche, La réforme de l’Eglise, Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise, vol. 10, p. 174.
63. Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta, pp. 241-3.
64. 1892, 1.XXIV.
65. F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens, col. 1741.
66. Session XIX, Decretum de Iudaeis et neophytis, Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta, pp. 459-50.
C. Fathers, Doctors, Saints, and Catholic writers “condemned” by John Paul II
The following authors – a list including Doctors of the Church –
criticized the Jewish onslaught against the Catholic Faith. They are
also included in John Paul II’s “anathema”:
* From the Origin of Christianity to the Edict of Milan (313)
St. Justin, Dialogus cum Tryphone; Tertullian, Adversus Judaeos; St. Cyprian, Testimonia ad Quirinus; Pseudo-Cyprian, De montibus Sina et Sion and Adversus Judaeos; Novaciano, De cibis Judaicis; Celsus, Ad Vigilium Episcopum de Judaica incredulitate; De solemnitatibus sabbatis et neomeniis.
Also St. Irenaeus, Origen, Commodian, Ariston de Pella; Mistiades, St.
Serarius of Antioch, Theodotus of Ancyra, Zephirus, Artapanus [a
converted Jew]. (67)
* From 313 to 1100
In the East: Eusebius; St. Gregory of Nissa, St. John
Crysostom; St. Basil of Seleucia; St. Anastasius of Sinai; St. Ephrem,
St. Isidore of Pelusa; Theodore Abucara; Eusebius of Emesa; St. Cyril
of Alexandria; Theodoretus of Cyrus; Jerome of Jerusalem; Leontius of
Naples in Cyprus; Stephan of Bostra.
In the West: St. Leo the Great; Evagrius, Altercatio Simionis Judaei et Theophili Christiani; St. Sidonius Apollinarius, De altercatione Ecclesiae et synagogae dialogus; St. Jerome; St. Ambrose; St. Augustine, De Fide Catholica ex Veteri et Novo Testamento contra Judaeos and Adversus quinque haereses; Severus of Minorca; St. Maximus of Turin; Cassiodore; St. Gregory the Great; St. Bruno of Würzburg; St. Isidore of Seville, De Fide Catholica contra Judaeos; St. Ildefonso of Toledo; St. Julian of Toledo; Paulo Alvares de Cordoba; St. Agobard of Lyon, De Judaicis superstitionibus, X; De insolentia Judaeorum, IV; Amolon of Lyon, Contra Judaeos; Rabano Mauro; Fulbert de Chartres; St. Peter Damian.
* From 1100 to 1500
Odon of Cambray; Gilbert Crispin; Guibert de Nogent; Rupert de Deutz; Peter the Venerable, Adversus Judaeorum inveteratam duritiam; Richard de Saint-Victor, De Emmanuele, Book II; Inguetto Contard; Gautier de Chatillon and Baudoin de Valenciennes; Alain de Lille, De Fide Catholica; William of Auvergne; St. Albert the Great; St. Thomas Aquinas, De regimine Judaeorum ad ducissam Brabantiae; Summa Theologiae, III, q.47, a.5-6; Raymond Martin, Pugio Fidei adversus Mauros et Judaeos;
Victor Porchetto de Selvatici; Nicolas de Lire; Lauterio de Batineis;
Bernard Oliver; Jean de Baconthorpe; Paul of Venice; Stephan Bodiker,
Bishop of Brandenburg; Juan de Torquemada; Peter George Schwartz; St.
Antonin of Florence, Dialogus discipulorum Emauntinorum cum Peregrino; Paulo Morosini, De aeterna temporalique Christi generatione; Pedro de Brutis, Victoriae adversus Judaeos; etc.
Several Jewish writers who converted to the Catholic Faith have also pointed out the errors of the Synagogue: R. Samuel de Fez, De adventu Messiae (PL 149, 337-368); Pedro Alfonso, Dialogi (PL 1.157, 535-572); Hermann (Judas of Colon), De sua conversione (PL 1.170, 805-836); Guillaume de Bourges, Paul Christiani and Jerome de Santa Fe, Tractatus contra Judaeorum perfidiam; Paul de Bonnefoy, Liber Fidei; Paulo de Burges or de Santa Maria, Scrutinium Scripturarum; Alphonso de Spina, Fortalitium Fidei; Pedro de la Caballeria, Zelus Christi; etc.
On March 22, 1984, a smiling John Paul II warmly received representatives of the Jewish organization B'nai B'rith of New York.
"It is a meeting of brothers," he told them.
* From 1500 to our days
I cite below only a few of the most consequential works from the vast
number of writings attesting to the Jewish perfidy against the Church:
J. L. Vives, De veritate Fidei Christianae; P. Du Plessis-Mornay, Traité de la verité de la Religion Chrétienne; P. Charron, Les trois vérités contre tous les athées, idolâtres, Juifs...; H. Grotius, De veritate Religione Christianae; Bossuet, Discours sur l’Histoire Universelle; J. Bartolocci, Bibliotheca magna rabbinica; P. L. B. Drach, Lettres d’un rabin converti aux Israélites ses frères; J. M. Bauer, Le Judaïsme comme preuve du Christianisme; P. Loewengard, La splendeur Catholique – du Judaïsme à l’Eglise. (68)
67. F. Vernet, Juifs et chrétiens, DAFC, col. 1749.
68. Ibid., col. 1751-2.
D. The previous Canon Law was also “condemned” by John Paul II
The prescriptions set out in past Canon Law about the Jews, which John
Paul II would have also included in his "anathema," can be summarized
"Fall to your knees before the Jews"
This is the imperative order Cardinal Carlo Martini
of Milan issued to Catholics.
An attitude diametrically opposed to the 2,000-year-old teaching of the Catholic Church
La Repubblica, September 24, 1997
1. Jews may
neither have Catholic slaves nor employ Catholic maids for their houses
or families. Catholics are forbidden to accept permanent paid
employment in Jewish homes;
2. Catholic women are particularly forbidden from accepting employment as breast-feeding nursemaids in Jewish homes;
3. In case of illness, Catholics are forbidden to go to Jewish doctors and use medicines prepared by Jewish hands;
4. Catholics are forbidden, under pain of excommunication, to live with Jews.
5. Jews should be barred from holding public posts that would give them authority over Catholics;
6. Catholics are forbidden to attend Jewish weddings and take part in their feasts;
7. Catholics may not invite Jews for meals nor accept invitations from them. (69)
69. Apud H. Delassus, La conjuration antichrétinne, vol. 3, pp. 1161-1162.
These countless Popes, Councils, Fathers, Doctors, and Saints of the
Catholic Church, as well as the ensemble of her past Canon Law dealing
with the Jews, were all supposed to be 'excommunicated' by John Paul II
when he affirmed that “whomsoever” had combated the Jews “at all times”
would be at fault.
As he cast his anathema in his Allocution, John Paul II invoked a very
recent “tradition,” as he himself noted, that of Vatican Council II
with its Declaration Nostra aetate, and the example of John XXIII. Regarding the latter, John Paul II asserted:
inheritance that I now want to have recourse to is precisely that of
Pope John, who passing by here [the synagogue] one time .... stopped
his car in order to bless the throng of Jews who were leaving this very
Now then, the 22-year-old
“tradition” of the Council and the single example of Pope John XXIII
hardly carries the weight to bring into question the 2,000-year-old
tradition of Catholic teaching. Rather, its deliberate opposition to
the Magisterium of the Church would seem to define a rupture in that
In this case, John Paul II clearly appeared to break with a tradition
of the Ordinary Pontifical Magisterium. Facing this patent
contradiction, a faithful Catholic is obliged to ask: Who is right? Is
it the Church, which for serious reasons of a theological nature was
vigilant for 2,000 years against the enmity of the synagogue? Or is it
John Paul II who, ignoring that wise rationale, went to the synagogue
and, without even alluding to the ancient errors of the Jews, began to
defend them and condemn the prior conduct and constant teaching of the
Church on the matter?
70. John Paul II, Allocution in the Synagogue of Rome, L’Osservatore Romano, April, 14-15, 1986, p. 4.
3. Analysis of John Paul II’s allocution to the Jews
To analyze the profound meaning of the Pontiff’s visit to the
synagogue, one must look closely at the Allocution he delivered there.
Here is the nucleus of the papal speech:
“Today’s visit is intended to make a decisive contribution
to the restructuring of good relations between our two communities,
following the examples given by so many men and women from both parties
who were and still are earnestly committed to overcome the old prejudices and allow for the ever fuller recognition of that ‘bond’ and ‘common spiritual heritage’ existing between Jews and Christians.
Let me analyze the main statements of John Paul II, emphasized above in bold.
“This is the wish already expressed in the fourth paragraph of the conciliar Declaration Nostra aetate, (71) which I just referred to, about relations between the Church and non-Christian religions. The decisive turnaround in relations between the Catholic Church and Judaism, and with Jews individually, took place with this brief but incisive paragraph.
“We all are aware that three points stand out especially among the many riches of this n. 4 of Nostra aetate. I would like to emphasize them here before you, in these truly unique circumstances.
“The first is that
the Church of Christ discovers her ‘link’ with Judaism by ‘sounding the
depths of her own mystery.’ (72) The Hebrew religion is not ‘extrinsic’
to us, but is somehow ‘intrinsic’ to our religion. We have, therefore,
relations with it that we do not have with any other religion. You are
our beloved brothers and in a certain way one could say, our older
“The second point stressed by the Council is that no
atavistic or collective guilt can be attributed to the Jews as a people
for ‘that which was done in the Passion of Jesus’ (73) – to neither the
Jews of that time, nor those who came later, nor those of today.
Therefore, the pretended theological justification of discriminatory or
persecutory measures is inconsistent. The Lord will judge each one - whether he be Jews or Christians - ‘according to his own works’ (Rom. 2:6).
“The third point in the conciliar Declaration that I want to underscore is a consequence of the second: it
is not licit to say .... that the Jews are ‘reprobates or accursed,’ as
though this were taught by or could be deduced from Sacred Scriptures
(74) and the Old or New Testaments. This was already stated in the same passage of Nostra aetate and also in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium (n. 6)....
“Upon these convictions we support our present relations. On
the occasion of this visit to your synagogue, I want to reaffirm and
proclaim their perennial value. This is, therefore, the meaning that
should be attributed to my visit to you, Jews of Rome.” (74)
71. John Paul II appears to refer to the middle of chapter IV of Nostra aetate, which reads:
“True, authorities of the Jews and those who followed their lead
pressed for the death of Christ (cf. John 19:6), but what happened in
His passion cannot be blamed upon all the Jews then living, without
distinction, nor upon the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new
people of God, the Jews should not be presented as repudiated or cursed
by God, as if such views followed from the Holy Scriptures. ....
“Indeed, the Church repudiates all persecutions against any man.
Moreover, mindful of her common patrimony with the Jews, and motivated
by the Gospel’s spiritual love and by no political considerations, she
deplores the hatred, persecutions, and displays of anti-Semitism
directed against the Jews at any time and from any source” (NA, § 4f-g).
74. John Paul II, Allocution in the Synagogue, L’Osservatore Romano, April 14-15, 1986, p. 4.
A. “Decisive contribution” to “overcome the old prejudices”
What did John Paul II mean by “old prejudices” when he said that he was
following the example of those who were committed to overcome the old
prejudices? To better understand the underlying thinking of the
Pontiff, I will begin by looking at the various possible meanings of
a. Racial prejudice?
He certainly did not intend to liken the Church’s previous anti-Jewish
condemnations to the spurious Nazi theories of racial prejudice. The
elevated religious motivation upon which the Church of Our Lord based
her opposition to the followers of Anas and Caiphas simply does not
permit any kind of analogy with Nazi racism. Even those enthused with
that papal visit have discarded such an absurd hypothesis. For example
in an article in La Civiltà Cattolica, Fr. de Rosa said:
April 7, 1994, John Paul II promoted an outdoor concert of Jewish
singers at St. Peter's Square. The pretext was to remember the victims
of the Nazi persecution.
On one side of the Pope was chief-rabbi Toaff in a place of honor symetrical to Italian president Scalfaro.
Corriere della Sera, April 8, 1994
period’ of Christian anti-Semitism – which was based primarily on
religious motives and should not be confounded with modern
anti-Semitism which, having culminated in the ‘holocaust,’(75) was
caused by economic, nationalist, and racist motives rather than
religious ones, even if it may have taken advantage of the latter –
ended with the pontificate of John XXIII and Vatican Council II.” (76)
75. The word “holocaust" is often used,
above all by progressivists and the media, to designate the barbarous
slaughter of Jews carried out by the Nazi regime during World War II.
It became a characteristic talisman-word, employed to create a climate
of compassion and sympathy for the Jews, inappropriately comparing them
to the first martyrs of the Church. The impropriety of this usage lies
in the fact that the latter were martyred on behalf of the one true
Catholic Faith, whereas the Jews practice a false religion. Further,
the Nazi persecution waged against the Jews was of a racist character,
whereas the one unleashed against the martyrs was clearly religious.
76. G. De Rosa, “Ebrei e cristiani ‘fratelli’ nel ‘fratello Gesù,’” La Civiltà Cattolica, May 3, 1986, p. 261.
b. Temperamental or emotional prejudices?
Having discarded out of hand the hypothesis that the “old prejudices”
had a racial character, one could ask whether John Paul II was
referring to some temperamental or emotional prejudice in the Catholic
Church against the Jews, unconnected to matters of Faith?
History has objectively recorded the facts that took place in the
relations between the Catholic Church and the Synagogue. And even
though such facts may displease the progressivist current, this does
not change their essence. “Historia vero testis temporum, lux veritatis, vita memoriae, magistra vitae, nuntia vetustatis.”
[History is the witness of all times, the light of truth, the life of
memory, the mistress of life, the messenger of antiquity.] (77)
Analyzing the facts of History, one finds more “old prejudices” of Jews
against Catholics rather than the contrary. The constant hatred of Jews
for Catholics generated direct and indirect persecutions of Jews
against Catholics. Let me set out some facts recorded by History of
persecutions of both types.
77. Cicero, De Orat. book II, Chap. 9:36.
* Direct persecutions of the Jews against Catholics
* The Jews never ceased to plot against the Catholic Faith since the
crime of Deicide. It was they who instigated the first persecution
against the Church in Jerusalem by arresting St. Peter (Acts 12:3),
stoning to death St. Stephen (Acts 7:54-58), and beheading St. James
the Greater (Acts 12:1-2). They ordered the Apostles to be whipped
(Acts 5:40) and stirred up Saul against the disciples (Acts 8:3). After
the conversion of St. Paul, they persecuted him with calumnies and
instigated revolts against him (Acts 13:50; 17:5). In the year 65 in
Jerusalem, they dragged him out of the city in order to kill him. The
Apostle of the Gentiles was saved by the pagan tribune Lysias, who, to
rescue him from the hands of the infuriated Jews at Jerusalem, ordered
him flogged and sent him under a guard to Caesarea (Acts 24:7).
* St. Paul himself bears witness to this radical hatred directed
against him when he wrote that the Jews “never ceased to combat the
Church of Jesus Christ” (I Thes. 2:14).
* As soon as the nascent Church had begun to rise up in Rome, the local
Jews tried to drown her in the blood of the first Christians. Rome was
burned in the year 64 AD. The mystery over whether it was Jews or
pagans who ordered the burning of Rome during the reign of Nero is
debated even to this day. But those who profited were mainly the Jews
who held sway over the Emperor. (78) The fire served as a pretext to
set off the bloody persecutions of the pagan Emperors against the first
* Since the year 70 AD, with the fall of Jerusalem to the troops of
Vespasian and Titus, the writings of the rabbis became more and more
violent and hostile toward Christians. (80)
* In the years 132-135, during the insurrection of the Jews of
Jerusalem led by Simon Barcochba against the Roman power, the
Christians were brutally tormented by the henchmen of this false
messiah. (81) Throughout the Empire the synagogues became focal points
of the persecution. This fact is expressed in the famous saying of
Tertullian: “Synagogae Judaeorum fontes persecutionum” [The synagogue of the Jews is the source of the persecutions]. (82)
woodcraft from the Diocesan Museum of Trent representing a group of
Jews inflicting tortures on St. Simonino Unverdorben, or St. Simon of
According to reliable historic documents, Simonino, a
child of 30 months, was kidnapped and murdered in Trent by seven Jews
in a religious ritual during their Pesah in 1475. The mutilated
body of the the child was found in a sewer, and transported to the
Church of St. Peter where it still remains.
Similar ritual killings of children by Jews occured in Cologne, Moguncia, Trever, Lublin, and Lincoln.
1584 St. Simonino was introduced into the Roman martyrology. In 1588
Pope Sixtus V allowed a special Divine Office and Mass in honor of St.
Simonino. In 1965 Paul VI removed St. Simonino from the list of Saints.
Notwithstanding, the cult of the little saint continues to be very
popular in Trent.
Historia, October 1991
* In the era of the Church of the Martyrs, the Jews were almost always
among those who incited massacres of Christians. According to the Letter of the Church of Smyrna
(chapters 12 and 13), a chronicle of the martyrdom of St. Polycarp
written by the faithful, the Jews played an important role in bringing
about the execution of St. Polycarp, (83) carried out on February 23,
155, the day of the great Sabbath. When the Bishop-martyr was condemned
to be burned, the unruly rabble hastened to gather the wood for the
fire, and “as was their custom, the Jews were the ones who showed the
greatest eagerness in this task.” (84)
* During the persecution by Decius in 250, also in Smyrna, St. Pionius
and his companions Sabina and Asclepiades were sent before the judge on
the anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Polycarp. A large number of
Jews came to demand the death of the Christians who refused to
apostatize. “These people have already lived too long!” they shouted.
* St. Calixtus, Pope from 217 to 222, was another illustrious victim of
Jewish hatred in the early years of the Church. A former slave, St.
Calixtus had made some unsuccessful business deals on behalf of his
master and sought the help of his creditors, among them, some Jews. The
latter denounced him as a Christian to the pagan authority. The prefect
had him scourged and condemned him to forced labor in the mines of
* In his work Contra Celsum
(VI, XXVII), Origen confidently stated that the Jews gave rise to the
calumnies that were so ominously fateful to Christians. According to
him, the Jews were the ones who spread the rumor that Christians ate
beheaded children in their nightly meetings in the Catacombs. (87)
* Julian the Apostate found his best allies in the Jews during his war
against Our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Gregory Nazianzen said that the
Jews’ centuries-old hatred for Christians was what motivated them to
assist the tyrant. (88)
* Eusebius related how Emperor Constantine the Great, in a letter about
the celebration of Easter, recalled the implacable persecutions of the
Jews against Christians. He advised: “Let there be nothing in common
between us and the most inimical rabble of the Jews.” (89)
* Jewish hatred for Christians was also present in the East. King
Sapor’s persecution of Christians in Persia in the mid-fourth century
was instigated by the Jews, “these perpetual enemies of Christians who
are always found in turbulent times, constant in their implacable
hatred and unhesitating in making any calumnious accusation,” according
to the Acts of St. Simeon-bar-Sabae, Patriarch of Seleutia, who died in
* At the beginning of the 5th century, the Jews in Alexandria fueled an eruption of violence against the Christians. (91)
* In North Africa during the 5th and 6th centuries, Ethiopian
Christians who had settled in Nedjran and Saphar were the victims of
the anti-Christian fury of the Jews. A symptomatic event took place in
the year 523, when Dhu-Nowas, chief of the Himarytes, Jewish by
religion, stirred up the whole region and took over Saphar, massacred
the Catholic clergy and soldiers of the local garrison, and transformed
the church into a synagogue. He then lay siege to Nedjran, where he
accepted the surrender of the inhabitants. Then, violating his
promises, he ordered all the Christians to be slain. (92)
A clipping from a Brazilian newspaper reported that the first issue (July 1997) of the Jewish bi-monthly Galileo magazine, published in Jerusalem, printed a picture of the Virgin Mary with a head of cow superimposed over hers.
the editor, Stephen Svtiski, was asked for an explanation, he
sarcastically replied that was just a study of a cloning technique
between humans and animals.
Fr. Elias Audi, in Nazareth,
commented that "the episode reflects the mentality of the Jews that
they are the elect people and others do not deserve any respect."
Estado de Sao Paulo, July 5, 1997
* In the year 608, the Jews in Antioch – taking advantage of the
invasion of Syria by the troops of Bonosius – attacked the Christians,
killed a large number of them and burned their corpses. According to
Graetz, they tortured the Patriarch, St. Anastasius with sophisticated
cruelty, dragging him through the streets of the city before murdering
* Around the middle of the 7th century, the Jews persuaded the caliph
Omar, who ruled Jerusalem, to tear down all the crosses in the city,
especially the one on the Mount of Olives. (94)
* On the Iberian Peninsula, the Jews collaborated with the Muslims in the conquest of Visigothic Spain. (95)
* In 723 in Syria, an edict of Caliph Yezid ordered the destruction of
all images “be they in temples, churches or homes.” From a report by
Monk John to the Second Council of Nicea, Patriarch Nicephorus stated
that it was a Jew from Tiberiad who suggested that Yezid take that
measure, promising him a long reign if he did so. Notwithstanding that
“prophecy,” Caliph Yezid died one year after issuing this edict. (96)
* Early in the 11th century, the Jews of Orleans, France, sent a letter
to Sultan Hakem, then in possession of the Holy Places, “informing” him
that Christian armies would soon be sent to re-conquer Jerusalem. This
false story caused the Sultan to destroy the Church of the Holy
Sepulcher and break the accord allowing Catholic pilgrims to visit the
Holy Land. (97)
News of this insidious Jewish intrigue and the consequent profanations
in the Holy Land by the Moors understandably gave rise to a surge of
religious indignation throughout Europe. Were there exaggerations in
that reaction against Moors and Jews? Probably. But the first ones to
blame for possible excesses were the authors of that crime of
profanation – the Muslims – and their Jewish “informers,” rather than
to point the finger only at those seeking to redress the rights of
their insulted Faith. To attribute such a religious reaction to a
temperamental or emotional phobia would be a gross simplification.
Here I will close this sampling of Jewish hatred against the Holy
Church expressed through direct persecutions in the first eleven
centuries of the History of the Church.
has also recorded indirect persecutions instigated by Jews against
Catholics. Some of the more noteworthy of these will be presented next.
78. Nero’s favorite lover, Sabina Popea, was known to be sympathetic toward the Jews (Cf. Flavius Josephus, Vita, 3, Antiquitates iudaicae, XVIII-XX; Tacito, Hist., I, 22, apud J. Zeiller, Les premières persécutions. La législation impériale relative aux Chrétiens, Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise, vol. 1, p. 290).
Jewish arrogance against Catholics is expressed today in the blatant
rupture of Jerusalem's international juridical status as a neutral
religious city. Despising the rights of Catholics and Muslims, the Jews
took the city by force and declared it their capital.
Photo: Inside the Vatican, October 2001
The Jews who frequented Nero’s palace, protected by Popea, are thought
to have denounced the Christians as authors of the criminal fire. They
spread the calumny that the minds of the Christians were filled with
“ideas of heavenly vengeance, universal conflagration, and the
destruction of the world” (Duruy, Histoire des Romains, Paris, 1882, vol. 4, p. 507, apud J. Zeiller, Les premières persécutions. La législation impériale relative aux Chrétiens, ibid.).
79. In his Commentary on the Holy Scriptures,
Cornelius A Lapide asserts: “The first persecution waged by the pagans
[against the Christians] was provoked by the Jews and through the Jews,
who stirred up the pagans against the Christians” (in Apocalypsim II, 9).
80. J. Klausner, Jésus de Nazareth, pp. 54-5., apud J. Lebreton, Saint Jacques et Saint Jean, Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise, vol. 1, p. 243.
81. In his first Apology
(1:31), St. Justin states: “Barcochba ordered that the Christians – and
only the Christians – undergo the most terrible tortures if they did
not renege Jesus Christ and blaspheme against him” (XXXI, 6, apud J. Zeiller, La persecution sous les Flaviens et Antonins, Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise, vol. 1, p. 310).
82. Tertullian, Adversus Gnosticos Scorpiace, PL 2, 166.
83. J. B. Pereira, Epístolas dos Apóstolos e Apocalypse, p. 638.
84. Martyrium S. Polycarpi, XII, XIII, XVII, XVIII, apud F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens, col. 1658.
85. Passio S. Pionii, III-IV, XIII-XIV, ibid., col. 1658. See also Jacques Zeiller, Les grandes persecutions du milieu du IIIe. siècle et la période de paix religieuse de 260 … 302, Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise , vol. 2, p. 149.
86. J. Zeiller, Le siège romain, Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise , vol. 2, p. 405.
87. F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens , cols. 1658-9.
88. St. Gregory Nazianzene, Oratio, v. 3, apud H. Delassus, La conjuration antichrétienne, vol. 2, p. 683.
89. Eusebius, De vita Constantini, III, XVIII, apud F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens , cols. 1744, 1762.
90. Ibid., col. 1665.
91. G. Bardy, Atticus de Constantinople et Cyrille d’Alexandrie, Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise, vol. 4, p. 157.
92. G. Bardy & L. Bréhier, L’expansion Chrétienne aux Ve. et VIe. siècles, Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise, vol. 4, pp. 526-7. See also Rohrbacher, Histoire Universelle de l’Eglise Catholique,
vol. 5, pp. 24-6, narrating the massacre of Christians in Nedjran and
transcribing the letter sent by Dhu Nowas (or Dunaan) to the Arab sheik
Almondar boasting of having killed 280 Catholic priests and inviting
him to do the same in his territories.
93. F. Vernet, Juifs et Chrétiens, col. 1665; L. Bréhier, Les rapports entre Rome et Constantinople..., Fliche & Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise, vol. 4, pp. 73-75.
94. L. Bréhier, L’Ekthesis, la fin du Règne et la succession d’Héraclius (638-641), ibid., vol. 5, p. 141.
95. R. Aigrain, L’Espagne Chrétienne, ibid., vol. 5, pp. 260 and 266.
96. L. Brohier, La querelle des images jusqu’au Concile iconoclaste de 754, ibid., vol. 5, p. 446.
97. Raul Glaber, a medieval chronicler, notes that “the devil had
decided to employ his favorite nation to turn the poison of his
wickedness against the servants of the true Religion” (Historiae, III, VII). See also Adhemar de Chabannes, Chronicon, III, XLVII-LII, apud A. Dumas, Le sentiment religieux et ses aberrations, ibid., vol. 7, p. 464.
* Indirect persecutions waged by Jews against Catholics or Doctrinal hostilities
In addition to combating the Holy Church directly, the Jews have
infiltrated Catholic circles to distort faith in Jesus Christ and the
Most Holy Trinity, and thereby promote heresy. This is attested in the
luminous text of Bossuet, in his comments on the Apocalypse.
“Since the origin of Christianity, falsely converted Jews have mixed
among the faithful striving to cultivate in their midst a hidden leaven
of Judaism, principally by the rejection of the mysteries of the
Trinity and Incarnation. Such were a certain Cerintho and Ebion, who
denied the divinity of Jesus Christ and would only recognize one person
in God .... From time to time, these things [the Jewish propaganda]
would ascend from hell, where the [arguments of the] Gospel of St. John
appeared to have imprisoned them. Around the end of the second century
, a sect called the Alogeans [Greek for no-word] (98) rose up,
without a known founder. Its followers were called this name because
they did not admit the Divine Word. Out of hatred for the Word, whom
St. John had announced, they rejected his Gospel and even his
Apocalypse, where Jesus Christ is also called the Word of God ....
Cardinal Lustiger tête-à-tête with the chief rabbi of France.
He told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: "The decision to become Christian did not present itself to me as a negation
of my Jewish identity."
Photo: Inside the Vatican, December 1997
which originated from this one, so strongly diminished Jesus Christ as
to place Him below Melchizedek. (99) It repeated the Jewish theories
that reduced the Trinity to mere names. The same was affirmed at this
time by Praxeas, whom Tertullian wrote against. Noetus also followed
this error, which was later taken up by Sabellius, who made many
disciples not only in Mesopotamia but also in Rome ....
“One sees clearly that these heresies were a remnant of this Jewish
leaven .... and that the Christians who adopted them were, under the
Christian name, Pharisees and Jews, as St. Epiphanius and other Fathers
called them. (100)
“But it was never so obvious that these opinions came from the Jews as
at the time of Paul of Samosata, Bishop of Antioch. When Arthemon took
up the heresy of Cerinth and Theodatus, which reduced Jesus Christ to a
mere man, Paul adhered to it along with Zenobia, the Queen of Palmyra,
who was linked to the Jewish religion. (101) The Jews, therefore, were
in fact authors of that impiety, and they incite this Queen to adopt it
“The consequences of this error for the Church were terrible, for it
was accepted not only by Photinus, Bishop of Sirmium, but also by the
Arians, the Nestorians, and all the other sects that later attacked the
Divinity or the Incarnation of the Son of God, all of them being
nothing more than offshoots of this Jewish heresy.
“The Church suffered for a long time, therefore, a kind of persecution
by the Jews through the spreading of these pharisaic doctrines.” (102)
98. Epiphanius, Haer., 51.
99. Ibid., 55, 57, 62.
100. Ibid., 65-69.
101. Athanasius, Ep. ad Solit. Theodor., 1.lib. II, Haer. Fabul. in Paul Sam.
102. Bossuet, Oeuvres Complètes - Explication de l’Apocalypse, Paris: Berche & Tralin, 1885, vol. 1, pp. 298-300.
Many documents exist demonstrating that the two types of Jewish
persecutions – a bloody one against the Catholics and a bloodless one
against the doctrine and customs of the Church – were carried out not
only through the first thousand years of the Christian era, but also
have continued all the way to modern and contemporary times. The
testimony of Bernard Lazare, a French Jew himself, provides one example
of this. (103) Lazare showed the significant role played by his Jewish
colleagues in the revolutionary process against Christian civilization
and the Catholic Church. (104)
In 1967, Chilean Cardinal Silva Henriquez visited a synagogue in Santiago
Informations Catholiques Internationales, October 15, 1967
103. Bernard Lazare
(1865-1903), a French writer and journalist, was born in Nimes and died
in Paris. In collaboration with his cousin, he published the poem La fiancée de Corinthe and later, with other writers, Entrétiens politiques et littéraires. Holding largely anarchist and class struggle views, he wrote for the Mercure de France, Journal, Figaro, and other publications. In 1894 he published L'Antisémitisme, son histoire et ses causes, (Anti-Semitism, Its History and Causes); in it he described the Jewish role in the fostering of anti-Semitism.
Here is what Bernard Lazare stated regarding the Jewish revolutionary role in History:
With the outbreak of the Dreyfus affair in 1894, he entered the fight on behalf of Captain Dreyfus (Enciclopedia Universal Ilustrada,
Espasa-Calpe). He became one of the main characters of the famous
Dreyfus affair, which resulted in the demoralization of the Army and
monarchist circles in France. As a sign of gratitude, the republican
government erected a statue in his honor (H. Delassus, La conjuration antichrétienne, vol. 2, p. 684).
104. For more on the revolutionary process, see Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolução e Contra-Revolução, São Paulo: Chevalerie, 1993, Part I, Chap. III.
“From the 10th to 15th century, these ‘Jewish’ rationalists
and philosophers were collaborators to which can be called the general
Revolution of humanity....
Lazare went on to point out the role played by Jews in Protestantism:
“The majority of Averroists were unbelievers, who more or less assailed
the Christian religion. They were the direct ancestors of the men of
the Renaissance. It is owing to them that the spirit of doubt ....
worked itself out. The Florentine Platonists, the Italian
Aristotelians, the German Humanists came from them. Thanks to them,
Pomponazzo composed the treatises against the immortality of the soul;
thanks to them, too, Theism, which corresponded to the decadence of
Catholicism, sprang up among the thinkers of the 16th century.” (105)
“The Reformation in Germany as well as in England was one
of those movements when Christianity acquired new force in Jewish
sources. The Jewish spirit triumphed with Protestantism.
Jewish influence was also felt in the French Revolution. Bernard Lazare
pointed this out, providing the names of the chief collaborators and
“Against Catholicism the Jews equipped them with the formidable
exegesis which the rabbis had cultivated and built up during centuries:
the free-examination that Protestantism would make good use of.” (106)
“The Jews were implicated in all revolutionary
movements, for they took an active part in all revolutions, as we shall
see when we study their role during all periods of trouble and change.
“The Jewish spirit is essentially a revolutionary spirit, and consciously or otherwise, the Jew is a revolutionary. ...
“During the Revolution the Jews did not remain inactive, considering
how few their numbers were in Paris. The position they occupied as
district electors, officers of legion, and associate judges, was
Confirming Lazare’s statements about the role of Jews in the French
Revolution, a document titled "The Agony of the Roman Universe,"
published in the Hebrew journal Haschophet toward the end of 19th century, asserted that the French Revolution was a work identifiable with Judaism:
JPII and Toaff embraced three times during the visit to the synagogue
Avvenire, January 9, 1993
“To no avail does the triple-crown [the papacy] fight
against the scepter of the Jewish Revolution of 1793; in vain would it
[the triple-crown] seek to free itself from the iron grip of the
Semitic giant that clutches it; all of its efforts are useless. The
danger is imminent, and Catholicism is dying to the degree that Judaism
penetrates the layers of society.” (108)
To the same effect, the English review The Mouth, in its October 1896 issue, substantiated the words of the Haschophet column:
“The Jews do not even try to disguise the fact that they,
in their eternal hatred of Christianity, aided by the chiefs of
Freemasonry, were the authors of the [French] Revolution.” (109)
Bernard Lazare also said that Jews worked ardently in the communist and socialist revolutionary upheavals of the 19th century:
“During the second revolutionary period, which began in
1830, they displayed even greater ardour than during the first .... In
labouring for the triumph of Liberalism, they were looking out for
their own good. It is beyond a doubt that the Jews, through their
wealth, energy and talents, supported and furthered the progress of the
European revolution. In the second revolutionary period that starts in
1830, they showed even more ardor than in the first .... It is beyond
doubt that with their gold, energy and capabilities, they sustained and
helped the European revolution .... Their contribution to present-day
Socialism was, as is well known, and still is very great .” (110)
Another fact should be added to the documents attesting to the
persecutions stimulated by Jews against Catholics, and that is their
doctrinal hostility and participation in the revolutionary process that
has been destroying Christendom. The precepts of the Talmud,
which manifest a great hatred of the Church and Catholics, seek to give
religious foundation to the Israelite loathing for Christianity. (111)
This hatred was reinforced after the Talmud first came into
force, that is, the 2nd century, when its foundations were laid by
Barchochbas, Akiba and Aquila, until today. Bernard Lazare noted:
“The tanaim [early ‘teachers’] wanted to preserve
the faithful from Christian contamination; for this purpose the Gospels
were likened to books on witchcraft, and Samuel Junior, by order of the
patriarch Gamaliel, inserted in the daily prayers a curse against the
Christians, Birkat Haminim, which has furnished the foundation for the charge that the Jews curse Jesus thrice a day.” (111)
Even if other documents were lacking, the Talmud canons highlighted in the box - above right - would constitute proof of the permanent hatred of the Jews for the Catholic Religion. (112)
105. Bernard Lazare, L’Antisemitisme, son histoire, ses causes, apud H. Delassus, La conjuration antichrétienne, vol. 2, pp. 684-5.
106. H. Delassus, La conjuration antichrétienne, vol. 2, p. 685.
107. Ibid, p. 686.
110. Ibid., pp. 686-7.
111. B. Lazare, Antisemitism, its history and causes, New York: The International Library Publishing Co., 1903; repr. London: Britons Publishing Co., 1967, chap. 3.
112. See box
Considering what has been expounded thus far, I find that the hatred of
the Jews against Catholics throughout History is so visceral and
unrelenting that one could say it fulfills the revelation God made to
“For all that this people speaketh, is a conspiracy” (Is. 8:12).
One could also say that this other warning of Isaiah applies to the
historic role of the Jews against the Catholic Church in History:
“They have conceived labor (that is, hurting their neighbor) and brought forth iniquity.
“They have broken the eggs of asps, and have woven the webs of spiders:
he that shall eat of their eggs, shall die; and that which is brought
out, shall be hatched into a basilisk ....
“The work of iniquity is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed innocent blood” (Is. 59:4-7).
Clearly, if there has ever been an emotional "old prejudice" in
Church-Synagogue relations, it was not on the part of the Catholics,
who suffered the effects of the Jewish conspiracy. Rather, it was held
by the Jews, who took the initiative in the religious struggle.
Incidentally, shortly before the theories on National-Socialism came to
light with their pagan and absurd ethnic pretensions, the conniving
character of Judaism against the Church and its anti-Catholic hatred
was widely evident and generally acknowledged among Catholics. From a
certain point of view, the Nazi and Fascist persecutions against the
Jews became very good tools to save Judaism from those well-merited
* The constant goodness of the Church toward persecuted Jews
In face of this bad treatment, the Church never ceased to charitably
invite the Jews to convert and to receive them with open arms when they
so deserved it.
The Holy Catholic Church went even further than this. She always
emphatically forbade the persecutions that were often waged by the
people as a reaction to the constant hatred of the synagogue against
An official testimony of this stance can be found in a speech
delivered at the Great Sanhedrin meeting in Paris on October 30, 1806
at the time of Napoleon. At that session, the Jews of France and Italy
applauded the address delivered by rabbi Isaac Samuel Avigdor in which
he recognized, and invited the Sanhedrin to acknowledge, the constant
and unceasing benignity of the Catholic Church toward Jews. He began by
calling to mind that the most celebrated Catholic moralists prohibited
persecutions, professed tolerance, and preached fraternal charity. Here
are some relevant excerpts from that text:
“St. Athanasius says: ‘It is an execrable heresy to try to oblige by
force, blows, or prison those who cannot be convinced through reason’ (Book I).
Above, Catholic nuns pose with the Jewish children they saved during World War II.
Below, Hebrews whom Pius XII hosted in his Castel Gandolfo residence to escape the Nazi persecutions.
Top photo, Inside the Vatican, February 2005; bottom, 30 Giorni, October 2001
“'Nothing is more opposed to Religion,' states St. Justin Martyr, 'than coercion in matters of Faith' (Book V).
“'Shall we persecute,' asks St. Augustine, 'those whom God tolerates?'
“In this regard, Lactance says: ‘Force-fed religion is not Religion. It
is necessary to persuade rather than to force. Religion cannot be
imposed’ (Book V).
“St. Bernard says: ‘Counsel, and force ye not.’ ....
“These sublime virtues of humanity and justice were often practiced by
truly well-instructed Christians and, above all, by the worthy
ministers of this pure morality that calms passions and instills
“As a consequence of these sacred principles of morality, at different
times the Pontiffs protected and welcomed in their States the
persecuted Jews expelled from several parts of Europe, and churchmen
from all countries often defended them in many States in that part of
“Around the middle of the 7th century, St. Gregory defended and protected the Jews throughout the whole Christian world.
“In the 10th century, the Bishops of Spain most energetically opposed
the people who wanted to massacre them. Pontiff Alexander II wrote
those Bishops a letter of congratulations for the prudent conduct they
showed in this regard.
“In the 11th century, the Jews, quite numerous in the Dioceses of Uzès and Clermont, were vigorously protected by the Bishops.
Rabbi Israel Zolli converted to Catholicism in 1945. He changed his name to Eugenio in honor of Pope Pius XII, Eugenio Pacelli
Inside of the Vatican, February 1999
“In the 12th century, St. Bernard defended them from the furor of the Crusaders.
“Innocence II and Alexander III likewise protected them.
“In the 13th century, Gregory IX protected them in England, France, and
Spain from great calamities that threatened them; he forbade, under
pain of excommunication, to coerce their consciences ....
“Clement VI granted them asylum in Avignon ....
“In the middle of the same century, the Bishop of Spira [Speyer]
prohibited people who owed money to Jews from reneging on their
obligation by asserting the oft-used excuse of usury.
“The following century, Nicholas II wrote the Inquisition to proscribe coercing Jews to embrace Christianity. ....
“It would be easy to cite an unlimited number of other charitable
actions toward the Israelites, in numerous epochs, practiced by
churchmen well-instructed in the duties of man and their Religion. ....
“The people of Israel .... has never had the means or the occasion to
manifest their recognition for so many benefits; a recognition made all
the sweeter inasmuch as it is owed to disinterested and highly
On the Inquisition
Someone could object that the Inquisition persecuted the Jews, and that ipso facto the Church is responsible for such treatment.
I answer, saying:
1. The Tribunal of the Holy Inquisition, established to defend the
integrity of the Catholic Faith, was not concerned about the Jewish
religion as such, nor did it prevent the Jews from professing their
false beliefs, so long as they did not propagate their convictions
among Catholics. The Tribunal dealt only with those who hypocritically
converted to Catholicism and entered the fold of the Church or those
who, having sincerely converted, later relapsed into their old errors
(Joseph de Maistre, Cartas sobre a Inquisição Espanhola, Niteroi: Leituras Católicas, 1949, p. 27).
In the 16th century, the Jews were abusing the freedom that the Kings
of the Iberian Peninsula gave them by means of constant blasphemies and
attacks against the Catholic Faith. During this period, there were also
large numbers who made false conversions to Catholicism. For these two
reasons, the Jews came to pose a serious danger for the Faith in the
Kingdoms of Portugal and Spain (Ernest Lavisse - Alfred Rambaud, Histoire Générale du IVe siécle à nos jours,
Paris: Armand Colin, 1984, vol. 4, p. 332). Moreover, they endangered
the political stability of those States (Juan Baptista Weiss, História Universal,
vol. 8, p. 304). Then, in legitimate defense of the Faith and exercise
of their position of temporal rulers, the Catholic Monarchs decreed
that the Jews should choose either to leave the Iberian territories at
the expense of the royal powers, or to remain as upright Catholics or
as Jews without disseminating their false convictions. In the latter
case, the Jews - and especially the converts - would be subject to the
vigilance of the Inquisition insofar as matters of Faith were
concerned. These were the measures the Spanish Inquisition took. It is
necessary to emphasize, however, that such measures were adopted by the
temporal powers of Spain and Portugal and not by the Church, and,
therefore, they should not be attributed to her.
2. The tribunals of the Inquisition were mixed tribunals, composed
partly of churchmen and partly of representatives of the temporal
power. The churchmen judged crimes against the Faith and their
sentences were restricted to the spiritual sphere. The representatives
of the temporal power, in turn, executed the sentences which, in each
State and in diverse and independent ways, corresponded to those
spiritual sentences. A zealous defender of the autonomy between the
spiritual and temporal powers with their different roles, the Church
did not take part in the execution of civil sentences, with the obvious
exception of providing spiritual comfort to those who were condemned
(J. de Maistre, Cartas sobre a Inquisição Espanhola, pp. 17-18.; E. Vacandard, entry Inquisition, Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, vol. 7-2, col. 2065; Henri Hello, A verdade sobre a Inquisição, Petropolis: Vozes, 1936, p.11; W. Devivier, Curso de Apologética Christã,
São Paulo: Melhoramentos, 1924, pp. 457-9).
Therefore, the Church cannot be accused of direct responsibility for
the promulgation and execution of civil sentences issued by Inquisition
tribunals in the several countries where it existed. Nor can she be
held accountable for possible injustices committed by the temporal
heads of the Inquisition.
3. The Roman Inquisition was a characteristic example of the Holy
Church’s justice and equanimity in her judgments on matters of Faith.
It was the only Church tribunal that had both temporal and spiritual
functions. Since its establishment by Pope Paul III in 1542, it has
always depended on the Sovereign Pontiffs. The Roman Inquisition was a
celebrated model of an elevated juridical system and was recognized
everywhere for its prudence and serenity in the distribution of
temporal justice. It introduced various improvements in legal
provisions favoring the defendant, placing it in the forefront of the
most renowned legislations of the time, a fact acknowledged by
impartial commentators even today (John Tedeschi, “A outra face da
Inquisição,” O Estado de São Paulo, March 16, 1986, Cultural Supplement, pp. 1-4).
The goodness of Roman Inquisition under the papal aegis became
proverbial. This is indirectly recognized by a testimony of the Great
Jewish Sanhedrin, transcribed below. For this reason, one can repeat,
without exaggeration, the words of Joseph de Maistre that Rome was the
“paradise of the Jews” (Cartas sobre a Inquisição Espanhola,
p. 13). Also applicable is the popular German adage about those who
lived under the temporal power of the Princes of the Church: How good
it is to live under the shadow of the crosier! (R. Aubenas, Hérétiques et sorciers, Fliche-Martin, Histoire de l’Eglise, vol. 15, pp. 385-6.).
Thus, no injustices or persecutions of the Jews can be attributed to the Church when she exercised her temporal duties.
Therefore, the objection is erroneous in its foundation – the
Inquisition persecuted the Jews – and in its consequence – that the
Church also did the same.
“For eighteen centuries, this circumstance in which we now find
ourselves is the only one that has arisen for us to display the
sentiments imbued in our hearts.
“This great and fortunate circumstance, which we owe to our august and
immortal Emperor, presents us with the most opportune, excellent and
glorious opportunity to express .... especially to the churchmen, our
full gratitude toward them and their predecessors.
“Let us, therefore, gentlemen, hasten to take advantage of this
memorable occasion to pay the just tribute of recognition that we owe
them; let this room resound with the expression of our gratitude; let
us solemnly bear witness to our sincere recognition for the
uninterrupted benefits that they have let fall upon the generations
that preceded us.” (113)
The Jewish assembly applauded this speech, voted to accept it, and
inserted it in the proceedings of February 5, 1807. It later approved
the following amendment:
“The representatives of the Hebrew Synod in the Empire of France and
the Kingdom of Italy .... are filled with gratitude for the successive
benefits received from the Christian clergy for the Israelites in the
various States of Europe in the past centuries;
“Fully acknowledge the welcome that several Pontiffs and many other
ecclesiastics gave at different times to the Israelites from diverse
“Do here decree that the expression of these sentiments be recorded in
today’s proceedings as a permanent and authentic testimony of the
gratitude of the Israelites of this assembly for the benefits received
by the generations that preceded them from churchmen of the various
countries of Europe.” (114)
This unique manifestation of gratitude on the part of the Great
Sanhedrin assembled in France stands as testimony to the benefits
bestowed by the Church through the ages. It, along with the material
presented above on the persecutions instigated by the Jews against the
Catholic Religion, clearly show that that the Holy Church never had a
temperamental or emotional bias that could serve as foundation for the
statement by John Paul II that her history includes “old prejudices"
against the Jews.
113. Procès-verbal des séances de l’assemblée des députés francais professant la religion juive, p. 169, etc., apud H. Delassus, La conjuration antichrétienne, vol. 3, pp. 1164-1167.
114. H. Delassus, La conjuration antichrétienne, vol. 3, pp. 1167-1168.
c. Theological prejudices?
In the absence, therefore, of an adequate historical foundation to
uphold that the expression “old prejudices," employed by John Paul II,
refers to racial or emotional prejudices against the Jews, one must ask
whether the Pontiff was referring to doctrinal matters.
Was John Paul II referring to theological “prejudices”? To accept such
a hypothesis, however, it would have to be asked if the very serious
theological questions that separate the Catholic Church from the
Synagogue are “prejudices”? For example, would it be a “prejudice” to
affirm the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ or to profess the dogma of
the Most Holy Trinity? Or to proclaim the articles of Faith that derive
These are questions that John Paul II did not answer. Instead he left
the Catholics who followed the news of his visit to the synagogue of
Rome in a state of perplexity, bewildered by the impression of a Pope
who appeared to abandon the mentioned dogmas of our Faith in order to
favor the Jewish religion.
B. “A Decisive turnaround in the relations of the Catholic Church with Judaism”
Svolta decisiva was the Italian expression chosen by the Pontiff to describe the new relations of the Catholic Church with Judaism. Svolta means a complete change of direction on a road. (115) A svolta decisiva is, therefore, a decisive turnaround.
According to John Paul II, the Declaration Nostra aetate
triggered a crucial turnaround in Church relations with Judaism. A
turnaround to which, as seen, he wanted to offer a “decisive
contribution.” He could hardly have been more categorical in expressing
a desire to abandon the previous doctrinal position of the Holy Church
115. Everton Florenzano, Dicionario Italiano-Portugues: Svolta - turn, turnaround, change, transformation; Nicola Zingarelli, Il Nuovo Zingarelli – Vocabulario della Lingua Italiana: Svolta - 1. action of turning oneself around .... 3. figurative: important change: That discovery beckons a svolta in the history of science.
C. “The Church of Christ discovers her link with Judaism sounding the depths of her own mystery”
statement by John Paul II is quite remarkable. I just listed the
numerous Popes, Councils, Doctors, and Saints who combated Judaism as a
doctrinal evil. From the historical and doctrinal perspectives, it can
be said that there is no greater and more continuous opposition between
two religions than what exists between the Catholic Church and Judaism.
So, if someone pretends to annul such an antagonism, he must employ
strong arguments. It is the least we could expect. What argument does
John Paul II use to annul this bi-millenary antagonism?
On December 1, 2003, rabbi Marvin Hier gives John Paul II a menorah to reward his support for the Jewish religion
America, December 15, 2003
None. Not even one. He merely appeals to a vague notion of “mystery.”
Catholics should change their attitude toward Jews because “the Church
discovered her link with Judaism sounding the depths of her own
mystery.” What does the mentioned “mystery” mean? No one can explain
Based on this enigma, without any further clarification, he goes on to
assume the more radical doctrinal consequences: Catholics should thrust
aside their entire past and adhere to the new conciliar pro-Judaism
In practical terms, this use of mystery seems to be a way to shroud
something that John Paul II does not want to reveal to the general
public. What would it be? It would probably signify that the Conciliar
Church and Judaism are becoming increasingly linked and closer to each
D. “The Hebrew religion is not ‘extrinsic’ to us, but is somehow ‘intrinsic’ to our religion”
This statement also appears to confirm that Judaism is a model for the
Conciliar Church. The final goal of Progressivism would be to transform
the Church into a branch of Judaism.
E. “You are our beloved brothers .... our older brothers”
Commenting on this statement of John Paul II, Fr. de Rosa noted in La Civiltà Cattolica:
“One could not more forcefully express the links that exist between
Christians and Jews. In Christian terminology, ‘brother’ implies a
community of faith. By calling Christians and Hebrews ‘brothers,’ the
Pope refers particularly to this [community of faith], even though the
Jews do not believe, as Christians do, in Jesus Christ or in the
Trinitarian mystery.” (116)
These few lines by the Jesuit commentator seem to point to a
contradiction made by John Paul II. The true meaning of the word
“brother” is, as Fr. de Rosa rightfully observes, that of brother in
the faith. How is it possible, then, to have a communion of Faith with
those who deny its most profound foundations, such as the Holy Trinity
and the divinity of Jesus Christ?
Various American Protestant sects have become ardent supporters of Judaism.
Above, a demonstration by Evangelicals in Jerusalem "lobbying" for the coming of the Jewish messiah...
Is the Conciliar Church walking on the same path?
Le Monde des Religions, November-December 2003
Therefore, besides employing the expression “dear Hebrew friends and
brothers” in his opening statement of his Allocution at the synagogue,
(117) John Paul II further calls the followers of Caiphas “beloved
brothers” and “older brothers.” With this, one sees that the Pontiff
not only affirms a unity with them in the same religious profession,
but also acts as if they have some “predilection” and “first-born
rights” independent of the truths of the Catholic Faith.
How would it be possible for the Jews to enjoy the same “predilection”
of Catholics if, as Scriptures clearly states, “without the Faith it is
impossible to please God”? (Hebr. 11:6)
John Paul II’s mention of “older brothers” also appears to suppose a
“right of the first-born” that present-day Jews would have over
Now then, the ancient and true right of the first-born among the Jews,
which was established in anticipation of the coming of Our Lord,
presupposed the Faith. Without it, there would have been neither the
promise nor the Old Covenant. This is what St. Paul states when writing
specifically to the Jews:
“Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not ....
“By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice exceeding that of Cain ....
By faith Henoch was translated, that he should not see death .... By
faith Noah, having received an answer concerning those things which as
yet were not seen, moved with fear, framed the ark for the saving of
his house, by which he condemned the world; and was instituted heir of
the justice, which is by faith.
Fr. Bruno Hussar, founder of the Catholic-Hebrew Church Neve Shalom, which pretends to unify the two creeds.
He drafted what Nostra aetate says regarding the Jews.
Domenica del Corriere, July 7, 1984
“By faith he that is called Abraham, obeyed to go out into a place
which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not
knowing whither he went. By faith he abode in the land .... By faith
also Sarah herself, being barren, received strength to conceive ....
“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered Isaac .... By faith also
of things to come, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob dying,
blessed each of the sons of Joseph .... By faith [Moses] left Egypt
.... By faith he celebrated pasch .... By faith the walls of Jericho
“And what shall I yet say? For the time would fail me to tell of
Gedeon, Barac, Samson, Jephthe, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who by
faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped
the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of
the sword, recovered strength from weakness, became valiant in battle,
put to flight the armies of foreigners ....
“And all these being approved [by God] by the testimony of faith,
received not the promise [immediately]; God providing some better thing
for us, that they should not be perfected without us” (Heb. 11).
Further on, the Apostle makes it clear that the faith of the ancient Patriarchs was the faith in Jesus Christ:
“Remember your prelates who have spoken the word of God to
you; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation,
Jesus Christ yesterday and today; and the same forever.” (Hebr. 13:7-8.)
Faith was, therefore, the reason for the promise; and the promise was
made in the prevision of Christ. With Our Lord, the promise was
fulfilled and the Old Covenant, therefore, finished. Our Lord
established the New Covenant, which replaced the Old Covenant:
The alliance of God with Abraham was based on an act of faith.
The alliance relies entirely, therefore, on fidelity to that same faith.
Abraham's descendents are spiritual rather than racial.
“Now in saying a new [covenant], he [God] has made the former old. And
that which decayeth and groweth old, is near its end.” (Hebr. 8:13)
Thus, both as the substance of the continuity of the Old Covenant and
as the foundation of the New, faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ is the
basis of any predilection and the only grounds for the right of
Therefore, to speak of the “predilection” of the Jews in our day and attribute to them some religious right of first-born vis-à-vis
Catholics, completely setting aside the question of Faith, is not
acceptable. It seems either a clear denial of the Catholic dogmas and
their base in Scriptures or a nonsensical declaration of the supremacy
of the Jewish race over the others.
This analysis of the Pontiff’s words gives rise, in the mind of a
Catholic faithful, to an appalling question: Could John Paul II make
such statements without abandoning the Catholic Faith?
116. G. De Rosa, “Ebrei e cristiani ‘fratelli’ nel ‘fratelo’ Gesù,'” La Civiltà Cattolica, May 3, 1986, p. 262.
117. L’Osservatore Romano, April 14-15, 1986, p. 4.
F. “No atavistic or collective guilt
can be attributed to the Jews as a people for ‘that which was done in
the Passion of Jesus.’ (NA, n. 4) .... Therefore, the pretended
theological justification of discriminatory or persecutory measures is
The first objectionable thing that calls one’s attention in this
reasoning is the inversion of the most elementary rules of logic. John
Paul II takes as a premise the conclusion, and draws as a conclusion
the abolition of premises.
Indeed, it is elementary in theological thinking that the obligatory
premises are the data of Revelation coming from Sacred Scriptures and
Tradition. If John Paul II intended to exempt the Jews from the guilt
of the crime of Deicide, he should have based himself on passages from
Holy Scripture that would permit him to make such a defense. Or, in the
absence of such foundations, he should have based himself on elements
provided by Tradition. Now then, to buttress this unprecedented
“absolution” of the Jews, the Pontiff fails to present any basis from
the sources of Revelation.
To make this extremely serious dogmatic judgment, he invokes only two points that do not constitute per se a solid basis for an argumentation: the notion of “mystery” and the conciliar Declaration Nostra aetate
(n. 4). The notion of mystery is unclear, as the very word indicates,
and does not allow a conclusion of this gravity. The text of Nostra aetate
is likewise inadequate, since it also fails to present data from Sacred
Scripture or Tradition to justify the “absolution” of the Jews.
Therefore, for all practical purposes, to cite the conciliar
Declaration has the value of a petition of principle (118), which amounts to saying that it is devoid of value.
Thus, John Paul II took as a premise what should have been the conclusion of his argument.
118. Petition of principle,
or tautological argument, is a proposition that pretends to be an
explication or proof of something but only repeats in identical or
equivalent terms what was intended to be proved. Ex: Nostra aetate absolved the Jews of the crime of Deicide because it said it absolved them from such a crime.
From this defective premise, he draws, as a conclusion, the
disconcerting affirmation that “therefore, the pretended theological
justification of discriminatory or persecutory measures is
inconsistent.” What does John Paul II really mean by this conclusion?
What is in the “inconsistent” justification he is speaking about? Is he
perchance referring to the excerpts from Sacred Scriptures that clearly
speak about the crime of Deicide as having been committed by the whole
people and thereby justify considering the Jews guilty? (119) If so,
are we witnessing the revocation of Sacred Scriptures? Would a Pope
have the power to contradict Revelation?
Further, why would he consider everything that the Popes, Councils,
Fathers, Doctors, and Saints of the Church have taught throughout the
centuries about the guilt of the whole Jewish people for the crime of
Deicide as “inconsistent theological justifications”? Would such an
assertion be a revoking of the centuries-old teaching of the Church?
Again I ask: Does a Pope have such a power?
Given the bizarre “probative” method used by the Pontiff, a serious
analysis of his statement would lead one to conclude that John Paul
II’s act was just an abuse of authority lacking any theological
foundation. It should simply be accepted as a despotic act by a Pope
who justifies his position by saying: you have to accept it because I
am the stronger, quia nominor leo... (120)
If this hypothesis is correct, such an act would be a tyrannical
imposition of the inter-religious dialogue with Jews taken to such a
paroxysm that it annuls the very foundations of the Catholic Faith.
Oddly enough, this inter-religious dialogue was first presented as an
overflowing of the mercy of the Church. This curious mercy toward the
Jews would thus have led the Progressivist Church to anathematize the
whole past of the Catholic Church. Thus do the steps of dialogue go
from dialogue to anathema... (121) What a curious paradox!
119. See the next item.
“Because I am the lion,” is a reference to an Aesop’s fable in which
the lion obliges the other animals to obey him for no reason except by
force. In other words, 'this is so because I want it to be and have the
power to impose my will.'
121. The book by Roger Garaudy, From Anathema to Dialogue,
was considered a milestone in the dialogue between the Vatican and
Communism. Garaudy, a known French communist writer, praised conciliar
Vatican policy for having left off the condemnations in order to open
up to the modern world - as well as to the communists. Now, one sees
the reverse side of the coin of the conciliar policy, which shows its
G. “It is not licit to say .... that the Jews are ‘reprobates or accursed’”
Here, the imperative nature of John Paul II’s aims appears unequivocally. Non licet... It is not licit... An unjustified prohibition is the consequence of the previous illogical and despotic anathema.
It would have been very useful for the Pontiff to have explained to
Catholics how his statement could harmonize with St. Paul’s words about
“But Israel, by following after the law of justice, is
not come unto the law of justice. Why so? Because they sought it not by
faith, but as [if] it were [possible] of works. For they stumbled at
the stumbling stone, as it is written: Behold I lay in Zion a stumbling
stone and a rock of scandal” (Rom. 9:31-33).
In contradiction to John Paul II’s anathema, St. Paul then explains why Israel was rejected:
VI wears the symbol of the Hebrew high priest, the rational of the
judgment, the small square pendant hanging from his stole. It is inlaid
with 12 precious stones that represent the 12 tribes of Israel.
30 Dias, May 1994
“That which Israel sought he hath not obtained; but the
election [by God] hath obtained it; and the rest have been blinded [by
their malice], as it is written: God hath given them the spirit of
insensibility; eyes that they should not see; and ears that they should
not hear, until this present day.
St. Paul is also clear when he speaks about the Jews who left the Church after having converted:
“And David saith: Let their
table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a
recompense unto them. Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not
see; and bow down their back always [under the weight of the law]”
“For if we sin willfully after having the knowledge of the
truth, there is now left no sacrifice for sins, but a certain dreadful
expectation of judgment, and the rage of a fire which shall consume the
adversaries [of God]. A man making void the law of Moses [by becoming
an idol-worshiper] dieth without any mercy under two or three
witnesses; how much more do you think he deserveth worse punishments,
who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath esteemed the blood
of the testament unclean, by which he was sanctified, and hath offered
an affront to the Spirit of grace?
The following excerpt from the Epistle to the Hebrews also opposes the desire to exempt the Jews from God’s curse:
“For we know him that hath said: Vengeance belongeth to me, and I will
repay. And again: The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful
thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebr. 10:26-31)
“For it is impossible for those who were once illuminated,
have tasted also the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy
Ghost, have moreover tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the
world to come, and [afterward] are fallen away; [it is impossible for
them] to be renewed again to penance, crucifying again to themselves
the Son of God, and making him a mockery. For the earth that drinketh
in the rain which cometh often upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet
for them by whom it is tilled, receiveth blessing from God. But that
which bringeth forth thorns and briars, is reprobate, and very near
unto a curse, whose end is to be burnt.” (Hebr. 6:4-8)
The anathema by John Paul II clearly clashes with these and many other passages of Holy Scriptures.
The Pontiff closed the core of his Allocution emphasizing the points I
have just analyzed and announcing that his anathema against the
previous teaching of the Church has a perennial character:
“On the occasion of this visit to your synagogue, I want
to reaffirm and proclaim their [the above analyzed phrases] perennial
value. This is, therefore, the meaning that should be attributed to my
visit to you, Jews of Rome.” (122)
122. L’Osservatore Romano, April 14-15, 1986, p. 4.
4. The Jews reaffirm their false convictions
However bewildered these words of John Paul II may leave the mind of a
Catholic, they nevertheless express only part of the reality: the
desire of the Pontiff to abandon the 2,000-year-old position of the
Catholic Church toward the errors of the Jewish religion. Another facet
of the reality is the ceremony – the hymns and psalms – with which the
rabbis received John Paul II, as well as the speeches by Jewish
representatives. Let me now analyze these symbolic acts.
A. Passages from Scriptures, hymns, and psalms sung by the Jews at the reception of John Paul II (123)
Since this was the first time in History that a Pope visited a
synagogue, the ceremonies made by both parties are particularly
symbolic. This is especially so if we bear in mind that the Hebrew
people, by character, are prone to express their thoughts and feelings
much more through metaphors and symbols than discursive and systematic
expositions. Moreover, since the greatest clash between religious
convictions the world has ever seen is the struggle between the Faith
of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the false faith of the Jews, it seems
indispensable to analyze the ceremonies held during the visit of John
Paul II to the synagogue of Rome in order to realize what Jewish
intentions are toward Holy Mother Church. (124)
123. I analyze here only five of the
seven Jewish rituals made during the visit of John Paul II to the
synagogue of Rome. Excluded were Psalms 118 (117 in the Vulgata) and
150 (150 in the Vulgata), whose texts are anodyne.
Cover of the booklet distributed to the Jews in the synagogue for John Paul II's visit. It is written in Italian and Hebrew.
Since I could not find a clear account of exactly which psalms were sung in the Catholic sources that I read – L’Osservatore Romano (April 14-15, 1986, p. 5), La Civiltà Cattolica (n. 3261, p. 273), and La Documentation Catholique
(n. 1917, p. 433) – I entered into contact with the Synagogue of Rome,
which provided me a copy of the bi-lingual booklet the Jews used in the
ceremony. I am quoting, therefore, straight from this booklet. The
following texts are my translations from the Italian.
124. Criterium of analysis:
I do not intend here to take univocally the symbolic meaning of the
ceremonies held by the Jews on the occasion of John Paul II’s visit to
the synagogue of Rome as a doctrinal manifestation. As in any ceremony,
the Jewish chants and psalms performed there reflect primarily the
state of mind of those who arranged and carried out the program. In
order to detect their state of mind toward Catholics, who were
represented by John Paul II, a bit of a sense of propriety should
suffice. With this, one can gauge the successive affronts made by the
Jews to Catholics, as well as the reaffirmation of their errors.
Therefore, the analysis to be made here of the doctrinal meaning
underlying the symbolism of the ceremony is not intended to go beyond
this criterium of common sense.
Possibility of conversion: Someone could object that I fail to
contemplate the possibility that John Paul II was preparing a sagacious
maneuver to convert the Jews, which is why he went to the synagogue.
The answer is simple. Since the end does not justify the means, it is
not possible for any Catholic, above all a Pope, to convey the
impression that he is abandoning the Faith in order to achieve a
hypothetical conversion of the Israelites. Further, John Paul II did
not make the least mention that the Jews should renounce their false
faith, nor did the Jews show the least propensity toward this.
Therefore, in both the moral sphere and actual realm of facts, the
objection lacks any foundation.
After the Pope was seated in the place of greatest prominence in the
synagogue, on equal footing with Elio Toaff, the chief rabbi of the
Roman Jews, another rabbi began to recite a passage from Genesis
(15:1-7) alluding to God’s promise to Abraham:
“After these facts the word of the Lord was directed to
Abraham in a vision, in these terms: ‘Do not be afraid Abraham, I am
your shield; the reward you will receive will be very large.’
“And Abraham said: ‘Lord God, what will You give to me? I am alone; the
inheritor of my house is Eliasar from Damasco.’ He added: ‘Thou did not
give me a descendant, my domestic servant will be my heir.’
“The Lord answer him immediately: ‘Your heir will not be him, but one
who will come from your body.’ He led him outside and said: ‘Look at
the sky and count the stars, if you can.’ And added: ‘As numerous as
they will be your descendents.’
“He had faith in the Lord who increased his merit. Thus the Lord said
to him: ‘I am the Lord who took you from Ur-Casdim to give you this
This excerpt clearly manifests that the present-day Jews see themselves
as heirs to the promise made to Abraham. Now then, as St. Paul taught
in passages inspired by the Holy Ghost, (126) the promise made to the
Patriarch was fulfilled by Our Lord Jesus Christ. His spiritual
offspring is the Holy Church and the inheritance of the elect relies
upon grace. Notwithstanding, reading the mentioned text of Genesis, the
Jews insisted that the promise is racial and not spiritual, and not
based on supernatural grace.
on December 30, 1993, representatives from the Vatican and Israel toast
after official diplomatic relations were established. In practical
terms, this means that the Holy See recognizes Israel as a legitimate
Below, commemorating the occasion, rabbi Henry Sobel kisses Cardinal Arns in Sao Paulo.
Below, the first Vatican ambassador to Israel, Msgr. Montezemolo, presents his diplomatic credentials to Israeli president Weizman
Photos from Estado de Sao Paulo, December 31, 1993; January 1, 1994; August 17, 1994
Rabbi della Rocca immediately went on to read the text of Micheas
(4:1-5) that ends with this passage, which the Jews apply to
“For the peoples will walk every one in the name of his god; but we
will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever” (Mic. 4:5).
Reciting this excerpt in the presence of John Paul II, the visible head
of the Catholic Church, is to strongly insinuate that Catholics – a
"people” other than the Jews – do not worship the true God; rather, the
Jews do. Again, the intention here appears to be to insult Jesus Christ
and the dogma of the Trinity – whose Persons for the Jews are false
gods – and to reaffirm their ancient errors.
What did John Paul II do after this insult and the speeches which will
be analyzed below? He recited Psalm 133 (132 of the Vulgate) exalting
the joy of brothers who live together in unity.
Responding to this anodyne joy of John Paul II, the chief rabbi read
Psalm 124 (123 of Vulgata) which reveals Jewish resentments: Catholics
are implicitly viewed as enemies of God, unjust and bestial persecutors
of the Israelites, who are the true faithful protected by the Lord. The
Jewish booklet reads:
“If the Lord were not for us, let Israel now say; if the Lord were not
for us, when men rose up against us, probably they would have swallowed
us up alive. When their fury was enkindled against us, then the waters
[of calamity] would have drowned us; a torrent would have passed over
us; the impetuous waters would have passed over us.
“Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us to be a prey to their teeth.
Our persons have been delivered as a sparrow out of the snare of the
fowlers. The snare is broken, and we are delivered. Our help is in the
name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
Such allusions to alleged Catholic persecutions of the Jews, besides insulting, are unfounded, as was demonstrated above.
Having ended this violent metaphoric allusion with Psalm 124,
implicitly blaming the Catholics for the persecutions they suffered,
all the Jews present – about 1,500 – stood up to sing the hymn Ani Ma’amin (I believe), (127) their equivalent of a profession of faith.
With this, the offense to the honor of the Holy Church reached its
apex. True Faith in Jesus Christ was implicitly denied by a Vicar of
Christ, present in the synagogue to assist at a profession of the false
faith of those who are heirs to the Deicide and whose relentless design
is to destroy Holy Mother Church.
After chanting the Ani Ma’amin
– which the Jews are said to have sung as they were led to Nazi
extermination camps (128) – those present observed one minute of
silence for the victims of Auschwitz. The timing of this act casts an
even less favorable shadow on the alleged persecutions by Catholics.
Indeed, it would seem that the organizers of the ceremony were trying
to blame the Holy Church for the Nazi massacres, or at least liken the
persecutions waged by the neo-pagan National-Socialism to those
allegedly carried out by Catholics.
Underlying this ceremony, one again notes a desire to offend the Church.
This was followed by the singing of psalm 16 (15 of the Vulgate), which reads:
“Their sorrows were multiplied, those who follow strange
gods. I will not share the blood of their offerings, nor will I
pronounce their names with my lips” (Ps. 16:4).
Since the Jews deny the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Most
Holy Trinity, such affirmations by rabbis and Jews were certainly meant
for Catholics – “those who follow strange gods.” After this affront,
each one repeated: “Nor will I pronounce their names with my lips.”
Therefore, the recognition of Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity, as
well as the possibility of conversion are out of the question.
Incidentally, the Jews made sure to avoid the least mention of Our
Lord’s name throughout the ceremony.
They continued with the psalm by alluding to the false idea that the
inheritance of the present-day Jews is the true inheritance of God:
“The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup; it is thou that holds in thy hand my part” (Ps. 15:5).
The psalm ended with a text applying to the errors of the synagogue
signifying that the latter follow the true ways of the Lord leading to
eternal happiness. This would indirectly amount to intoning victory
over the Church, the sole means to attain life eternal:
“Thou hast made known to me the ways of [immortal] life;
thou shalt fill me with joy with thy countenance; at thy right hand are
delights even to the end” (Ps. 15:11).
Thus, in this last psalm chanted during John Paul II’s visit to the
synagogue of Rome, one can see the clear intention of offending
Catholics, “followers of false gods,” and the reaffirmation of ancient
January 2005, in his library at the Vatican, JPII receives a reward
from Israeli rabbis for his constant support for the Jewish religion
National Catholic Reporter, January 30, 2005
As the chanting of Psalm 16 (15 of Vulgate) drew to an end, John Paul
II and the chief rabbi embraced each other once again, and then left
for a private meeting. The newspapers and magazines covering the event
did not report what might have taken place on this occasion.
During the ceremony, John Paul II received a copy of the Torah, a sacred book of the Jews, and a menorah, a seven-branch candelabrum.
The ceremony ended, according to booklet distributed in the synagogue,
with the text of a brief profession of “faith” that the Jews chanted
together. I think it was a simplified formula of a longer profession of
“faith,” the above-mentioned Ani Ma’amin
that had already been sung.
Here are the words of the canticle, as recorded in the Jewish booklet,
chanted by the Hebrew choir as John Paul II was leaving the synagogue:
“I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah!
The insult to Our Lord Jesus Christ is blatant. By chanting this at the
end of the ceremony, the Jews categorically denied that Christ is God
and the Messiah, and reaffirmed the old errors of their religion. If
they thus affront the Word Incarnate, one can only imagine how
scornfully they look on the Pope, the Vicar of Christ.
“And even if he takes a long time coming, I will wait every day until he comes!”
After leaving the synagogue, John Paul II embraced the chief rabbi for a third time.
In brief, the consequences of these psalms and hyms said in the
synagogue in the presence of the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church
* The implicit reaffirmation, by the Jews, of their
doctrinal errors, namely the negation of the divinity of Jesus Christ
and the Most Holy Trinity.
Finally, as an aggravating factor it should be noted that following
customary Vatican procedures, this ceremony must have been prepared
beforehand and agreed upon by competent organs of the Holy See. That
is, the Vatican and probably also the Pope knew beforehand that these
affronts would be made and approved them.
* The symbolic reaffirmation that they are the only true followers of God.
* The actual affirmation of numerous, thinly-veiled insults
cunningly made against the Holy Church and Catholics: that Catholics
follow false gods, foster a torrential furor against Jews, are beasts
whose teeth grind the Jews as their prey, were accomplices of the Nazi
persecutions, and so on.
125. In ocassione della visita del Pontefice Giovanni Paolo II, Communità Israelitica di Roma, Templo Maggiore, 1896, p.2.
Hebrews 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11; Romans 2:25-29; 3:27-30, especially the
excerpt: “For not through the law was the promise to Abraham, or to his
seed, that he should be heir of the world; but through the justice of
faith. For if they who are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, the
promise is made of no effect” (Rom. 4:13-14);
Further on, in another passage St. Paul says: “For all are not (true)
Israelites (heirs to the promises) that are of Israel. .... That is to
say, not they that are the children of the flesh are the children of
God; but they that are the children of the promise” (Rom. 9:6-8). Many
other passages could be cited that affirm the same.
127. C. de Lucia, "Cari amici e fratelli ebrei e cristiani. . .," L’Osservatore Romano, April 14-15, 1986, p. 5.
B. The speeches of the rabbis
The opening greeting to John Paul II by the representative of the
Hebrew community of Rome, rabbi Giacomo Saban, also had an arrogant
tone with veiled slights and offenses. The following points should be
* In passing, the rabbi pejoratively called the Christian era the “vulgar era:”
“Soon after the end of the first millennium of the Vulgar Era .... a son of this community in Rome .... wrote the l’Arukh, the first compendium of norms of the Hebrews in the Diaspora.” (129)
* He claimed that Vatican II drew the Catholic Church closer “to
the faith of Israel,” although he refused to call the Catholic Faith by
its name, referring to it instead as “the faith of the world”:
“Nostra aetate, one of the Council’s documents, the one that most closely has to do with us, introduces a different relationship between the faith of Israel and that of the world which surrounds us,
restoring to us not only what was denied us through the centuries, but
also the dignity to which we have always been entitled.” (130)
* He made the recognition of the State of Israel by the Holy See
a condition for taking the next step in the “fraternal dialogue”
proposed by Nostra aetate:
“I believe I should manifest the hope that some hesitation
regarding the State of Israel be dropped. The land of Israel,
emotionally and spiritually, has a central place in the heart of every
Jew, and a change of attitude in this matter would please not only
those present here, but the whole Judaic world as well .... This would
be, therefore, a further step in the 'fraternal dialogue' of which Nostra aetate speaks. .... I do not hesitate to believe that this will be done.” (131)
As is known, for the Jews the State of Israel represents a messianic
aspiration linked to the long-awaited domination of Israel over the
whole world. (132) Thus, the rabbis’ request that the Holy See
recognize Israel should be viewed in light of their religious
conviction of world hegemony.
March 12, 2000, Cardinal Ratzinger lights a seven-branch candelabra to
ask forgiveness for the past "sin" of Catholic militancy. This included
the Catholic combat against the Jewish religious errors.
Photo: Inside the Vatican, January 2001
In a later speech by chief rabbi Elio Toaff, the following
reaffirmations of the false Jewish faith and more insults to the Holy
Church and the Catholic Faith should be pointed out:
* He called the Church’s 2,000 year-old policy toward the Jewish errors an “inadmissible teaching of scorn:"
“We find ourselves, therefore, facing a true and authentic turnaround in the policy of the Church, which already looks to Jews with feelings of esteem and respect, abandoning that [former] teaching of scorn, the inadmissibility of which Jules Isaac .... called to the attention of Pope John.” (133)
* He affirmed the unshakable “fidelity” of the Jewish people to
their false faith throughout History, which supposedly would make them
the last surviving people of the Ancient World. It is noteworthy that
this self-praise of Judaism as a religion, expressed immediately after
the insolent criticism of the conduct of Holy Church toward Jews,
transcribed above, clearly implies that the Jewish “martyrs” were
victims of the Church’s “teaching of scorn.” He said:
“In the historic moment in which we are living, my
thoughts turn with admiration, recognition, and sorrow to the infinite
number of Jewish martyrs who serenely faced death for the
sanctification of the Name of God. To them is owed the merit for the
fact that our faith has never wavered and that fidelity to the Lord and to His Law never diminished as centuries passed. Due to this merit, the Jewish people still lives, unique among all the peoples of antiquity.” (134)
* He proposed spreading the Jewish errors as a way to achieve the pacifist and inter-confessional longings of John Paul II:
“We propose to disseminate Israel’s idea of moral and spiritual monotheism in order to unite men and the universe in love.” (135)
* He also made veiled mention of the gnostic Jewish doctrine of the Eternal Feminine [click here for more]:
“At the same time, we reaffirm the universal paternity of
God over all men, drawing our inspiration from the prophets who taught
that this filial love unites all living beings in the maternal bosom of the infinite as in its natural matrix.” (136)
* Again, he insisted that the State of Israel be recognized,
thus proclaiming the religious-messianic-hegemonic role that the Jews
attribute to it:
“The return of the Hebrew people to their land must be
recognized as a good and irrevocable victory for the world, for this is
a prelude .... to that epoch of universal fraternity to which we all
aspire, and to that redeeming peace whose firm promise is found in the Bible. The recognition of this unique function of Israel in the plan of final redemption promised by God cannot be denied.” (137)
So, the speeches of the rabbis in the presence of John Paul II
constituted a categorical reaffirmation of their old errors,
aspirations, and insults against the Church.
129. Greeting by the President of Rome’s Israelite Community, L’Osservatore Romano, April 14-15, 1986, p. 5.
132. H. Delassus, La conjuration antichrétienne, vol. 3, Sionnisme, pp. 1233-48.
133. L’Osservatore Romano, April 14-15, 1986, p. 5.
5. Conclusion of this Analysis
conclusion to the analysis of this visit, in my view, is clear and
painful. John Paul II went to the synagogue of Rome for these purposes:
* to try to annul the foundation in Revelation for the crime of Deicide;
In contrast, the rabbis, explicitly in their speeches and symbolically
in their recitation of psalms and passages from the Bible, made this
* to condemn the wise 2,000-year-old conduct of Holy Mother Church in relation to the Jews;
* to praise their false faith and anathematize whomsoever should
criticize or censure the followers of Caiphas from the religious
*they insistently reaffirmed their false faith;
This is what was accomplished during the visit of John Paul II to the synagogue of Rome. ”Qui habet aurem, audiat...” [He that hath an ear, let him hear, Apoc. 2:7]
* they condemned the historic attitude of the Church;
* they insulted the honor of the Church and Catholics;
* they proclaimed the need for Jewish hegemony over the whole world,
* they demanded that the Holy See recognize their State, to which they attributed a messianic destiny.
Related Articles of Interest:
Paul II Blessed by the Rabbis
Coming Visit to the Synagogue of Cologne
Rational of Judgment