[percy-l] Vatican II--changes in form or substance?

Jude Bloom jude at somnopolis.org
Mon Feb 16 11:27:17 EST 2004

Hello Friends

Let me emphasize a point from outside of the church -- Vatican II is  
regarded by every Jewish thinker I have known as a seminal turning  
point for Jews as well -- in the sense of the Catholic Church's  
relations with and regarding of Jews, and the effects this had on the  
rest of the Christian world.

I've just found a document on the web which speaks to this, although I  
can't vouch for anything about the document or the writer -- a paper by  
John T. Pawlikowski presented to a Catholic Theological Society in 1999. 

In an address to the CTSA meeting in Chicago in 1986 Gregory Baum  
argued that "the
Church's recognition of the spiritual status of the Jewish religion is  
the most dramatic example
of doctrinal turn-about in the age-old magisterium ordinaritun." (1)  
Christine Athans has ably
demonstrated how profoundly and how centrally Christian theology,  
beginning with the second
century, was infected with a viewpoint which saw the Church as  
replacing "old" Israel in the
covenantal relationship with God, leaving the Jews to a marginal and  
miserable status which
could be overcome only through conversion to Christianity.  NOSTRA  
AETATE changed all
that in one brief chapter (#4). Jews were now to be seen as integral to  
the ongoing divine
covenant.  Jesus and early Christianity were portrayed as deeply rooted  
in a constructive sense
in the religiosity of Second Temple Judaism (particularly its Pharisaic  
branch). Jews were not
be held collectively accountable for the death of Jesus. Vatican II did  
not "forgive" Jews of the
so-called crime of deicide as some newspapers claimed; it totally  
exonerated them of this
historic charge.  In so doing, it completely undercut the basis of the  
classical Christian theology
of Jewish covenantal displacement which was rooted in this deicide  

This would seem to argue that Vatican II did introduce significant  
theological "changes" or "clarifications."  Regardless, I know that in  
the Jewish world it is widely regarded as having done so.

~ Jude
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