THE ROOTS OF ANTI-JUDAISM IN THE CHRISTIAN ENVIRONMENT
THE ROOTS OF ANTI-JUDAISM IN THE CHRISTIAN MILIEU
The Inter-ecclesial Colloquium on The Roots of Anti-Judaism in the Christian Milieu ended in the Vatican after three days of work - from 30 October to 1 November -, in the St. Martha's House. The international Symposium was attended by some 60 participants, including bishops, theologians and Catholic experts, together with some representatives of other Christian Churches. The first element to be stressed is the fact that the Symposium was held in the Vatican: in itself this is a particularly significant circumstance, rich in hope for the future of dialogue between Jews and Christians.
This in fact was the renewed desire the Holy Father addressed to participants at the Symposium during the audience granted on Friday, 31 October. The Holy Father's enlightened Magisterium and personal witness during the three days of reflection were a constant point of doctrinal and pastoral reference, in view of more fraternal relations between representatives of the two faiths. Sponsored by the Historical-Theological Commission of the Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, the specific task of the Symposium was to apply the indications contained in Tertio Millennio Adveniente. In this sense the meeting was essentially spiritual.
On the other hand a scientific Symposium does not gather to a draw up a Declaration or draft a Document. The primary objective of its works was to prepare a dossier to present to the Holy Father. The vast amount of contributions that emerged will later help local communities in their journey towards the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. Above all the Jubilee will be a great thanksgiving to God for the gift of Jesus Christ, the source and model of all Holiness. In order to be full and total, this thanksgiving must be preceded by an examination of conscience. Where we have not responded to God's plan, a commitment to conversion is necessary. The errors and failings of the past must never be repeated in the future.
In actual fact, this act of conversion began with Vatican II. As far as our relations with Jews are concerned, as the Declaration Nostra Aetate invites us to consider, we have tried to sound the depths of the mystery of Israel in the light of the mystery of the Church and of our own identity in the conviction that «the truth will make us free» (cf. Jn 8:32). The first stage of a commitment to conversion is a sincere recognition of facts. On the other hand, this is precisely the desire the Holy Father expresses in Tertio Millennio Adveniente. A jubilee year is a year of favour or compassion. And this was already stressed in the Old Testament.
For 49 years the quest is for Justice. The fiftieth year is a year of Favour, which brings holiness and liberation. Knowing how to forgive, as well as knowing how to ask for and receive forgiveness, is a condition that makes us free. So memory no longer brings torments, but it discovers its bond which is memory of God. Our commitment was to read the scriptures again carefully in fidelity to the Church's belief. Christians who yield to anti-Judaism offend God and the Church. The work of these three days should be considered as one stage in a long journey. It is comforting to think that the Symposium ended in the light of the solemnity of the feast of All Saints.