Fourteen simple lines – written 40 years ago as part of a larger document, all rendered in Latin – attempted to change the nearly 2,000-year-old strained relationship between Catholics and Jews.
The anniversary of the adoption of that Catholic document, known as "Nostra Aetate," on Oct. 25, 1965 – the last approved text before the closing of the landmark Second Vatican Council, which eventually revolutionized many aspects of the Roman Catholic Church – was celebrated Nov. 7 as part of the Dorothy Monteverde lecture series at Main Line Reform Temple, Beth Elohim in Wynnewood.
The 14 lines in "Nostra Aetate" (section four of five sections) officially proclaimed that acts of anti-Semitism were against God and humanity. It also repudiated the common charge among Christians that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus.
These revolutionary points became the foundation for a real, working relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people.
Cardinal William Keeler, archbishop of Baltimore and moderator of Catholic-Jewish relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the approximately 200 audience members that maintaining this relationship is now – and will continue to be – an integral and official part of Catholic teaching
Keeler said that the newly ascended Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed his intention to reach out to Jews, as well as to Muslims and the rest of the world.
The event's other speaker, Rabbi Gary M. Bretton-Granatoor – the Anti-Defamation League's point person on interfaith relations – said that in the past 40 years, the two religions have "learned how to enter into each other's space, [and] not be afraid in each other's presence."