New York, NY, November 12, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) praised Cardinal Kurt Koch's strong reaffirmation of the permanent value to the Catholic Church of Nostra Aetate, the foundational document for positive relations between Catholics and Jews, after questions were raised about a potential reconciliation between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X, a splinter group that rejects the reforms of Vatican II.
Cardinal Koch is the President of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, the Vatican body which oversees and promotes Catholic-Jewish dialogue.
"As the Jewish people continue to face anti-Semitism around the world, we applaud and welcome Cardinal Koch's strong and clear re-affirmation of the significance of Nostra Aetate for the Catholic Church," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "We also recognize and greatly appreciate Pope Benedict XVI dedicating himself to the full implementation of this document, and his genuine and sincere commitment to Catholic-Jewish relations."
Concerns were raised by representatives of both faith communities that the potential reconciliation between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), an anti-Semitic splinter sect, signalled a weakening of the church's commitment to Nostra Aetate, the 1965 Vatican II document that condemns anti-Semitism and declares that Jews were never collectively cursed by God for the death of Jesus.
Cardinal Koch said that Pope Benedict XVI had directed him to respond to these growing fears. In addressing members of the Commission, he called Nostra Aetate "the crucial compass of all endeavors towards Jewish-Catholic dialogue." His speech was cited on Nov. 7 in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.
"We commend Cardinal Koch's sentiments on coping with crises collectively and resolving conflicts positively," said Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, ADL Interfaith Director. We also respectfully urge that any potential rehabilitation of the SSPX include the requirement that the Society publicly reject their decades of hatred, and that as an expression of their affirmation of Nostra Aetate, be required to remove all anti-Semitic rhetoric from both their online and print publications."
ADL has been in contact with the Vatican in recent months about Jewish concerns over the continued anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism propagated by SSPX through its web sites and publications around the world.