Guest / Limited Access /

Think back some 40 years to the release of Nostra Aetate, the revolutionary Vatican document that inexorably changed the nature of Catholic-Jewish relations. It firmly confronted old church attitudes and teachings that Jews suffered under for centuries. It unequivocally asserted the historical and theological dignity of the Jewish people.

Imagine if, a week later, Pope Paul VI stood on the porch of Castel Gandolfo and announced, "There has been a terrible misunderstanding. All we meant is that when we complain, as we must from time to time, about price-gouging around Christmas by pushy Jewish merchants (by that we only mean some of them, of course), we should not go so far as to blame them for the crucifixion. That hurts their feelings."

In May, the Presbyterian Church (USA) released "Vigilance against Anti-Jewish Ideas and Bias." Jewish organizations were effusive in their praise. The last decade has seen a spike in violent anti-Semitic hate crimes in Europe. The document could not have been more welcomed and well timed.

The love-fest was short lived. In June, the PC(USA) removed the original document from its website and replaced it with "Vigilance against Anti-Jewish Bias: In the Pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian Peace."

It would be hard to construct two more dissimilar documents with similar titles. The original pointed directly to problematic PC(USA) overtures and materials, such as overtures "declaring that the Jewish people are no longer in covenant with God … or to blame for the crucifixion." It was a startling and honest mea culpa that directly addressed Jewish concerns about a steady pattern of criticism of Israel that had morphed into derision of Jews. (The latest U.S. State Department annual report on human rights ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueSeven Boring Ways the Church Can Change the World
Subscriber Access Only
Seven Boring Ways the Church Can Change the World
Honestly, it’s nothing radical.
RecommendedBiblical Archaeology’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2016
Biblical Archaeology’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2016
A glimpse at the important excavation work revealed this year.
TrendingCompassion Has 'Very Little Hope' for India, Sets Deadline to Shut Down Sponsorships
Compassion Has 'Very Little Hope' for India, Sets Deadline to Shut Down Sponsorships
About 145,000 children have already lost its assistance with food, education, and health care.
Editor's PickThe Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
The Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
It begins by recognizing the name above every name.
Christianity Today
The Presbyterians Giveth, the Presbyterians Taketh Away
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

June 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.