This text is based on the unedited transcripts of lectures given in the series "The Catholic Church and the Jewish People from Vatican II to Today" delivered at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome between October 19, 2004 and January 25, 2005 under the auspices of the Cardinal Bea Centre for Judaic Studies. The full collected texts of the course of lectures will be published during the first half of 2005 by:

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Alberto MelloniNostra Aetate and the Discovery of the Sacrament of Otherness

Prof. Alberto Melloni

Rome, 9th November 2004 at the Pontifical Gregorian University

Alberto Melloni is professor of contemporary history at the University of Modena-Reggio Emilia and a member of the Board of the John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies, Bologna where he acts as Director of the Dossetti Library and vice-secretary of the Foundation.

            What follows is a rapid presentation of the pre-conciliar work that led to the declaration Nostra Aetate , a presentation that is almost always indebted to the main existing historiographical literature: from the memories of John M. Oesterreicher,1 to the theological reflection of Eugene Fisher,2 and to the historical work of Giovanni Miccoli and Mauro Velati in the Storia del Concilio Vaticano II directed by G. Alberigo, which I invite you to consult for the references which this lecture shall not mention.3 Today we are aware of the extent to which all these reconstructions, or at least some parts of them, are largely of a tentative nature. This is due to the fact that Paul VI chose to open the Archive of the Council to scholarly examination, moving it to a more accessible location within the Secret Vatican Archive; the documents included therein suggest nuances and corrections that are not just marginal, and that in the near future shall necessitate a general reconsideration of all the extant evidence, when the papers of the principal actors of the Council will have also been assembled and studied.

If I choose to go over the stages of a long and difficult struggle such as the one that led to the document Nostra Aetate , it is because this struggle is full of particular significance for the history of the Second Vatican Council: that document would become a document on all religions, and as such it would be received in the post-conciliar period, but in its origins we find more problematic issues concerning the relationship between the Church and Judaism. This origin is not merely textual, but, as I shall quickly review towards the end, it is also historical, in the deepest sense of the term: the weight of the culture of contempt promoted by official church teaching,4 the relationship between this tradition and the Shoah,5 the difficulty in discerning that event on the theological level,6 the burning dilemma of guilt and its polemical use as accusation7 – all of this weighs heavily on Nostra Aetate. It explains the determination with which a few Council fathers wanted contra spem [“against all hope”] a declaration that did not have behind it the long process of doctrinal exploration that had marked other conciliar decisions, and it illumines its reception, which in a certain sense experienced a turning point only when John Paul II inserted into the crannies of the Western Wall the text of the mea culpa of the Catholic Church, with a gesture that is itself a parable of the changes undergone by the Roman papacy and at the same time by the Church in its larger ecumenical sense.

Before presenting a few, extremely short points of reflection on this topic, I would like to go over the rapid succession of drafts texts in an order that is still provisional, and which requires a detailed work on the texts themselves, as well as on the archive of the general secretariat, on the papers of Bea, Rudloff, Oesterreicher, Congar, De Smedt, and many others, so as to go from an individuation of sequential segments to a more articulate “pattern.”8


The pre-history

The idea to submit for the Council’s consideration the problem of the relationship between the Church and the Jews was an important concern for many of the protagonists of the preparation of Vatican II: not wholly absent even from the chastened proposita of the Catholic Universities,9 the question did not merely torment the German Churches, but also the theological culture as a whole – and Jews especially asserted the topic as demanding reform. From 1955, Jules Isaac had attempted to convince a highly reluctant Pius XII of the necessity of a visible re-thinking of the Jewish question through the modification of the oratio universalis of Good Friday, and the question, having all sorts of implications that were extremely relevant for the time, would later be brought to the attention of the former legate to Istanbul, who was then actively involved in the attempt to rescue the Jews from genocide, and who would become Pope in 1958 with the name of John XXIII.

It is well known that in this attempt to exert pressure on the higher echelons of the Church involved people of very different backgrounds: Catholics who were not particularly appreciated in the wintery end of Pacelli’s pontificate, individuals of Jewish origin who were not always regarded with instinctive benevolence, militant members of the organizations of world Jewry or of the foreign policy of the recently established State of Israel. Congar is not Oesterreicher, Baum is not Herzog, Riegner is not Isaac, Golda Meir is not Golan – but in any case it is the summation of these contacts that achieved not only the revision of the ritual of Good Friday, timidly begun under Pius XII,10 but also the decision on the part of John XXIII to charge Cardinal Augustin Bea SJ with the task of considering the possibility of a Secretariat for Christian Union, effectively a secretariat for the unthinkable problems and the impossible missions of Roncalli’s curia.11


Draft A

An outline presented by Oesterreicher at the plenary session held in Ariccia by the Secretariat for Christian Union in November-December 1961,12 and a proposal for a declaration worked out by a commission of which Gregory Baum was a member, led to the composition of a first draft (A), which ought to have taken up the suggestions of Jules Isaac welcomed by the Pontiff as an appropriate topic of discussion for the coming council.13 This draft was then presented to the central preparatory commission in 1962. The result was disappointing for a series of reasons that are not reducible to the “real protests” of the Arab countries and the “clumsy machinations” on Israel’s part that are mentioned by Miccoli.14  Si de Judaeis cur non etiam de Mahumedanis?(“If we discuss the Jews, why not also the Muslims?”) asked Cardinal Cicognani [then Secretary of State] who still believed in Pius XI’s illusion of a dialogue conceived as an anti-Communist and anti-atheist alliance by those who believe “at least in God,” and that reaffirmed that the Church had no reluctance toward a Jew who wishes to embrace the Catholic faith…15

A new “Isaac draft”, turned into a “Bea draft” in December 1962, raised again the question [of Jewish-Christian relations], reflecting an awareness of the fact that in a time (as Congar writes) “after Auschwitz ,” further silence is no longer acceptable.16 Bea added further aspects of an ecumenical character: in fact, the recent condemnation of anti-Semitism on the part of the World Council of Churches as a “sin against God and against humanity” added an element of urgency to a [theological] move demanded both by history and by conscience.17 John XXIII’s approval ensured that the draft abandoned before the opening the Second Vatican Council could be taken up again, re-opening the discussion on a series of propositions that would emerge in the conciliar sessions during the 70th General Congregation, on November 19th, 1963, a few months before the death of Pope John and the election of his successor, Paul VI18.

Between these two moments, which are eleven months apart from each other – the dismissal of the first draft and the discussion in the conciliar sessions – the controversy over Hochhut exploded: the presentation on January 20th, 1963 of The Deputy by Rolf Hochhut had launched the argument about the “silence” of Pius XII. The theatrical drama by the German playwright led to discussions that have little historiographical value, but which are symptomatic of a climate which –though this shall only be understood much later – saw the effective convergence of those who wanted to absolve and those who wanted to condemn a single “culprit” for the Shoah.19 Pope Montini had intuited the vast implications of the question, which (at its deepest level) projected an image of pontifical government with its back continually to the wall. In fact, he had understood this even before his election, had he decided to write to the English magazine The Tablet in the days of the novendiale so as to defend Pius XII, he would ensure that its editors would have the extraordinary journalistic scoop of publishing in the same edition the announcement of the election of the Archbishop of Milan to the throne of Peter and the letter which he himself had sent before the conclave…20


Text B

Despite the intensification of this polemic, Bea (maybe deliberately, or maybe by chance) came to the Council with a text and with a series of arguments that took up, point by point, the theses of December 1962. On November 19th, 1963 , the Cardinal did not hesitate to insist that the declaration De Judaeis, there presented as a part of the text known as De Oecumenismo (B) had a “religious” goal. He began with a biblical argument against anti-Semitism, thereby overturning the standard practice of the Catholic anti-Judaic tradition that began with the idea that the “rejection” of the Messiah and ended with “deicide.” Secondly, he branded the so-called biblical foundations of Nazi anti-Semitism and racism as only a means to an end.21 He suggested to “correct” the ideas derived from anti-Semitic propaganda that Jesus’ example of forgiveness was to be followed. And he also denied the Biblical foundation of the accusation of deicide leveled against all Jews of the time of Jesus and a fortiori against their descendants. Not the New Testament, therefore, but rather “reasons of the political-national, psychological, social and economic orders” had inspired a doctrine which it was necessary to repudiate in a solemn and formal manner. Nothing was said about the placement of responsibility on religious teaching for the spreading of anti-Semitism; nor about the arguments developed by political anti-Semitism (the exigency to “defend oneself” from Jewish obstinacy); this was countered by making a point that the Germans understood very well – there could be no such thing as “collective” crimes.22

During the conciliar sessions there was no explicit vote on this chapter, but only opinions expressed in the interventions or in the written motions: favorable reactions (from the Americans and the Germans) and criticisms (from the Eastern Patriarchs) remained in the shadows, while diplomacy worked in a direction that could be discerned very easily. The series of problems that now we can quite easily disentangle, but which were far from clear to the Catholic Church in 1963, included different issues: the need to cut the Catholic roots of anti-Semitism with a conceptual razor other than denunciation, thereby removing from racist ideologies their pretended theological foundation. Then there was the problem of dialogue with Judaism where Jewish associations and Israeli structures were in objective competition with each other. There was also the problem raised by the fact that pieces of Nazi anti-Semitism were migrating into the Christian Arab world as a consolidation of their hostility towards Israel . Furthermore, there was the crucial issue of the relationship between Israel and the Holy See; crucial because in developing all sorts of arguments as to the (negative and/or paternalistic) impossibility of granting political autonomy to Jews, the Church [in previous decades] had fed the anti-Semitism of the Holy See’s partisans, as well as that of the Catholic universities and the Catholic parties. Finally there was the question of the teaching of contempt that had prevailed as an “earlier magisterium,” which was not simply one of the dimensions of the hatred perpetrated by anonymous “children of the Church,” but was actually part of a tradition recognized and expressed by popes.

In this web of questions and ideas, the temptation to solve everything by moving a short sentence against anti-Semitism into a different context (such as the chapter de populo Dei in the constitution on the Church, or the document on the contemporary world) was not incomprehensible, and even the Secretariat had discussed during the preparatory phase the possibility of transferring the theme of the relation between the Church and the Jews to the draft of the constitution on the Church, in the hope of thereby avoiding the necessity to make explicit pronouncements about Israel.23 Nevertheless, instead of encouraging voices of the most unbridled anti-Semitism to be more cautious or to disguise themselves, Bea’s sophisticated theses roused them and brought them into the open. The fact that the theses of an anonymous author who signed himself Un Prêtre (and who claimed that the genocide had been planned by the Jews so as to weaken “healthy” anti-Semitism) generated a scandalized reaction on the part of the Council Fathers who had received his pamphlets is certainly not without significance…24.

The discussion during the 1963 conciliar session – which was not specific and did not culminate in a vote on the chapter – creates an interpretative difficulty that would not only remain constant throughout the various iterations of what would become Nostra Aetate , but also represents a defining feature of the process of its redaction. The burning character of the topic was such that every passage was accompanied by lively discussions, reflections, and discoveries that “happen” even if within the conciliar sessions. What effectively happens in 1963 (and it shall happen again) is that a discussion which is not so profound paradoxically helps the text more than the analytical discussions reserved to other problems: the struggle among opposing ideas that the Church needs to give itself an explanation of otherness (especially religious otherness, but not only that) is vaster, harsher and far more direct.


Text C

This is the reason why the chapter presented by Bea and which the fathers did not subject to an analytical evaluation eventually undergoes a thoughtful and attentive revision in the plenary session that the secretariat holds at Ariccia at the end of the winter of 1964. In that context (February 27th- March 7th) fundamental decisions are taken that are reflected in the text that Bea transmitted to the general secretariat on March 23rd (Text C). The document De Judaeis is now presented as an appendix to the draft of the declaration of ecumenism.25 The coordinating commission had been informed in the meantime that the Secretariat was ready to work on a scheme on “monotheistic religions” incorporating new specialists for an elaboration which, Cardinal Bea assured, would then be subject to the body which was now responsible for the new preparation of Vatican II.26

Cicognani, who received Bea’s draft by virtue of his position as president of the coordinating commission, would then present the document De Oecumenismo at the meeting of the same coordinating commission that took place on March 16-17th.. The old cardinal, who had been a diplomat in the United States , and who had been sidelined by Pius XII only to be brought back to a position of eminence by John XXIII, gave voice to all the objections of the Arabs. However, while he says he is convinced of the need for some changes, he also claims that it is no longer possible to expunge the document De Judaies (sic!) from the draft. The variations which he proposes concern text B: he asks to eliminate the part critical of the language of contempt and deicide in the name of the letter of the Gospels, and then asks that space be devoted to the Muslims and to “pagans in general.”27 The interventions of those who were present are summarized in a letter written by Cicognani to Bea on the following day, where he suggests to write a Declaratio de hebraeis et de gentibus non christianis. This text ought to highlight “the nexus between the Jewish people and the holy Catholic Church, avoiding any reference to deicide throughout the whole text,” while also mentioning “other non-Christian people, as children of God” and affirming “the principle of universal fraternity and the condemnation of any form of oppression of peoples or races.”28


Draft C

The reaction of the Secretariat was actually not hostile to these directions, one of a series of ambiguities typical of the time; but at the same time it did not invite additional persons to take part in the ongoing discussions of its core group that by then was simultaneously working in Via dell’Erba on three very delicate points (ecumenism, religious freedom, and Judaism). The proof of this is the fact that Willebrands asked Yves Congar and Charles Moeller for an extended version of the text according to the directions of the coordinating committee, and without further obligation on the part of the Secretariat in its plenary form. This extended text was produced extremely quickly (it was ready by the evening of Match 27th, 1964), and in this text the whole of draft C is preserved, with the exception of the word “deicide.”29 Congar, according to his own theological understanding of the problem, proposed to describe a constitutive link between the paternity of God and the fraternity of all the people, a new magna observantia by which a new Christian attitude of toward the other religions could be framed: within this framework, according to Congar, are respect for all people and the condemnation of discrimination.

The revision by Congar and Moeller was not sent to the conciliar fathers (is this what Willebrands really hoped?), but handed over by the general secretary Pericle Felici (who met him on May 2nd) to Paul VI in person on May 6th; a note by Felici denounced Bea’s presumed circumvention of Cicognani’s suggestions: “The text which refers to the Jewish people has been lengthened beyond the short passage indicated by the Coordinating Commission…so as to condemn the hatreds and the vexations against the Jews. But this – according to the specified directions – ought  to have been said in an aside and in a general form in favor of all the people… Finally the new text invites Christians to avoid all form of discrimination. But this – again according to the specified directions – ought to have been a general invitation addressed to all people and not solely to Christians.”30

Paul VI – whom Felici evidently regarded as susceptible to these insinuations with obvious overtones – was not an unprepared or naïve reader, however. A few months earlier he had returned from the first trip to the Holy Land ever made by a Pope. There, in January 1964, he had visited the holy places under Jordanian and Israeli control, but he had never pronounced the word Israel , and at the Mandelbaum gate he had read a strenuous defense of Pius XII. Reviewing the text he jotted down a formal approval: “Pare che stia bene” (“I believe it is fine as it is”). But, according to a custom that in those weeks had effectively become Pope Montini’s own style, it is far from certain that his corrections to the text actually came from him31: in many cases (from ecclesiology to the theology of revelation, from religious freedom to the function of the bishop), he expressed the nuances expected by the minority through the Master of the Sacred Palace, Fr. Ciappi, or Card. Browne.32

Actually in this case Paul VI asked for corrections, of which Felici shall be a far too zealous interpreter. The Pope, indeed, asked to eliminate the expression sive anteactis sive nostris temporibus (“either in the past or in our time”) concerning the persecutions of the Jews, because “they can give rise to endless recriminations derived from history,” and asked in addition to add a reference “to the hope in the future conversion of Israel. Such a reference would indicate that the condition in which the Jews find themselves now – even if worthy of respect and sympathy – is not to be approved of as perfect and definitive, also considering that this hope is also explicitly expressed in St. Paul’s doctrine on the Jews.”33

These papal instructions (together with the observations of the Latin scholars of the secretariat for the briefs to the principles) were then communicated to Bea on June 1st, 1964 , and  examined at two levels. Perhaps Willebrands (but it could also be another person) analyzed them and replies with sarcastic humor to the Latin mistakes that are proposed as corrections; Bea signed (or does he actually write it?) a letter that is extremely harsh both in its tone and in its substance,34 supported by the agreement of the Secretary of State Cicognani, whose disregarded directions were regarded as the source for the changes in the overall thrust of the document.35 In that letter of June 23rd, Bea emphasized that he expects the preservation of the passage on the persecutions nostris temporibus, and also stressed that, if really nothing is to be said to deny the accusation of deicide, a passage must be included affirming that “speciatim in Passione et Morte Domini explicanda Christi eiusque Apostolorum mansuetam charitatem imitentur, qui palam edixerunt vel illos ipsos, qui damnationis Domini causa fuerunt, id ‘ex ignorantia’ fecisse (Act. 3, 15-17; cf. Lk. 23, 34; Act. 13, 27), id est minime plene perspexisse facinus quod patrabant. Eo minus Judaeis nostri temporis facinus illud exprobare licet. Hoc enim modo solum Christifideles voluntatem Domini Jesu complent qui uno amore et Judaeos et Gentes complectitur” (“especially in explaining the Passion and the Death of the Lord, those who claim publicly that even those who were the cause of the condemnation of the Lord did this ‘out of ignorance,’ or in other words utterly failed to appreciate what crime they were committing, are imitating the gentle charity of Christ and of his Apostles. Indeed, only in this way the Christian faithful can do the will of the Lord Jesus, who embraces the Jews as well as the Gentiles with one undiscriminating love”).36

The corrections, quickly leaked in the diplomatic and the journalistic milieux, disturbed people such as Spellman who did not want a declaration De Judaeis at all costs, but who did not want now to pay the price of a public debacle which in his view could be suspected of anti-Semitism; others who did not like such public statements (such as Cullmann) displayed their indignation; deep concern was then voiced by those who, like Rudloff, declared in public that an enormous disaster of credibility for the Church as a whole was in preparation.37


Felici’s activism

Cicognani, as we said, approved Bea’s move, and brought the text back to the meeting of the Coordinating Committee on June 26-27th. Felici – who was convinced that it had been Bea who had alerted the press – enclosed with the text a memorandum on the revision where he notes that he has made inquiries as to the Pope’s intentions, and he has found Paul VI ready to countenance only “an expression that does not let the Jews of today bear responsibility for the acts of their ancestors,” about which he asks the opinion of the Coordinating Committee.38  During the session, Felici brought forth an immense number of opinions – opinions that, according to him, all came directly from the Pope… He voiced an opinion by Paul VI opposed to the quotation of Acts 3, 15-17, opposed to the discussion among theologians, in favor of not considering guilty of the death of Jesus “all Jews, especially those of today” (sic!).39 Of course, the activism of the Secretary General unmasks who is the true author of Montini’s doubt, but it did not manage to gain the upper hand in the discussion. One option was still open: that of Cardinal Lercaro, who suggested to quote Trent (Christ died propter peccata omnium hominum, “for the sins of all of humanity”), and to exclude apertis verbis that it is possible to impute [any guilt as to Christ’s death] to the Jews of later times – a formulation that was generally liked and that, it was decided, would be immediately sent to the Pope for an opinion.40

Over the following days, however, Felici again took the text in hand, always because of a decision by the Pope who was under pressure by the supporters of the Ciappi-Browne line, whose incessant work has the previously mentioned rationale; the sentence by Lercaro was changed into an exhortation not to impute the death of Christ to the Jews of our time; the sentence that claimed that forms of contempt against the Jews voluntati Christi repugnant (“are repugnant to Christ’s own will”) was eliminated; and the mention of the common patrimony of Jews and Christians was turned into an expression of appreciation for the patrimony that the Christians have inherited from the Jews.41

A struggle, therefore, was underway around critical points of theological anti-Semitism: it is not the anti-Semitism of the Arab Christians that causes concern – an anti-Semitism that is partly dissimulated, partly disguised as a pan-Arabic solidarity, and which even the great Patriarch Maximos IV had largely shared; even the anti-Semitism of the Nazi and the Fascist type that was echoed in a few voices was only a secondary factor. The problem was theological anti-Semitism, with the political implication that the whole respublica christiana in general and in the State of the Church in particular had inspired centuries of history and of culture. In fact, suspicions linger that the Pontiff himself supported this point of view: the then theologian of Frings, Prof. Ratzinger, argued that the Pope “is convinced” of the collective responsibility of the Jews for the death of Jesus, and that therefore the difficulties cannot be eliminated;42 Card. Seper says the opposite. The point however cannot be reduced to a mechanical delineation of De Judaeis, but to the context of the beginning of that summer that was so difficult for Paul VI, who sensed how the conciliar minority was exerting an ever more violent pressure, but even for the majority, which saw the Pope (whom until the previous year they considered “their own”) as growing increasingly distant.

On July 7th, 1964, two declarationes are sent to the Council Fathers – two declarationes that had resulted from the text De Oecumenismo (according to the decision of the Coordinating Committee of April 16th, 1964) and that the previous year were merely chapters: a first De libertate religiosa,43 and a declaratio altera dedicated to the theme De Judaeis et de non-Christianis which was by now a draft D.


Draft D in the debate of the Council

I do not wish to linger on the reactions to the texts sent on July 7th, but rapidly move instead to the discussions of September 1964. Cardinal Bea went on to present the declaratio altera to the Council on September 25th, a critical moment for the Council that was struggling with the unwritten decision to enter forcefully into a discussion of the relationship with society and with modernity – questions that had been tormenting the Church for almost two hundred years…44

Surrounded by obvious sympathy, but hurriedly because of his role in the imminent departure of the relics of Saint Andrew that were going to be returned to the Orthodox Church,45 Bea presented the De Judaeis et de non-Christianis in the face of the certain support of only the German episcopate, the more tactical support of the American bishops, and the opposition of the episcopate of the Arab countries.46

Bea spoke putting forth his diversified credentials: Bea the Cardinal, Bea the Jesuit, Bea the German, Bea the ecumenist, Bea the scholar of Judaism, Bea the confessor of Pius XII… He focused on the problems connected with the expectations of the public and on the question of credibility touched on by Spellman, while emphasizing that the Church must be faithful to itself: he mentioned indirectly his agreement with Cicognani, and went on to tackle the question where (allegedly) Paul VI stopped: deicide. He rejected the accusation of having involved the press, but acknowledged that the question must be faced in all its brutal frankness, the same frankness with which the newspapers have raised it: and to this blunt question on deicide, the Council must answer yes or no. Bea proposed a clear and absolute “no.” Having done this, he went on to assess the possible political implications and – without omitting a mention of John XXIII – went overboard to stress the “religious” character of the text which – an excusatio non petita? – did not seem to be at the center of the debate: non loquimur hic de Sionismo nec de Statu politico Israel (“in this document, we talk neither of Zionism, nor of Israel as a political entity”).47

The debate – the first one to be open to the public from 1960 onwards – took place on September 28-29th, after an epic struggle on religious freedom.48 As Oesterreicher would comment, the problem of all problems was touched here: “the encounter of man with man, of God with man.” A large proportion of Fathers embraced Bea’s vision; but an equally large proportion made a number of reservations that are difficult to characterize: disconcerting, or revealing, or merely naive?49

The sequence [of these comments] can be easily found in the Acta Synodalia,50 and it creates a gallery of opinions that shocking because of the resonance they have with a tradition of Christian anti-Semitisms of different forms and degrees of danger that goes back for thousands of years: to talk of the Jews “is not opportune” (Tappouni); to invite the preachers not to talk of deicide is useless because “nobody thinks that anymore, and to mention it would be disturbing” (Bueno y Monreal);51 the text must express the hope that “all Christians one day shall be united in the Church” (Gdansk);52 it is necessary to invite the Jews to respect the Christians, since “no-one ignores that up to the present day the Jews follow the doctrine of the Talmud, according to which other men are to be despised because they are similar to beasts,” while it is also necessary to affirm that the freemasons, who are accustomed to plot against the Church, “are supported and favored by the Jews” (Ruffini); an appeal to conversion is invoked (Rwanda); a father (Catro Meyer) asks (in scriptis) that the declaration affirm that all discriminations are healthily based on the differences intended by the Creator. For a bishop of Quebec sola framassoneria judaica forsitan ea [scil. de declaratione] gaudebit, sed motivo politico vel interesse materiali (signo dollari) (“only the Jewish Freemasons, perhaps, shall rejoice because of it [i.e., because of this declaration], but for political reasons and for material interests (in the sign of the dollar).”53

These interventions reflect the tones of reactionary, harsh and aggressive pamphlets, but they also clash with many voices of support for Bea’s approach: voices from America (Leven, Cushing, Ritter), Jugoslavia (Šeper), Mexico (Méndez Arceo), France (Elchinger), Italy (Lercaro) –voices which, following Heenan, put forth again the sense of the original proposals that had been distorted by the corrections inserted in June, and which tried to reaffirm that the document did not merely respond to an occasional or historical necessity, but had a primarily theological dimension, whose goal was to overcome the theories of supersession. The judgment of Henri Fesquet – une victoire éclatante pour le cardinal Béa et un sevère échec pour la commission de coordination qui a cru devoir atténuer la première version (“a triumphal victory for Cardinal Bea and a severe defeat for the Coordinating Commission which had thought it necessary to water down the original version”) – was reasonable, or at least so it seemed.54


The October Shock

So it seemed, because two letters by Mons . Felici to Cardinal Bea dated October 8-9th outlined, following the order of the Pope, described how to proceed in relation to the two declarationes, which the sub-commissions of the Secretariat had already taken up so as to incorporate into them the motions of the Fathers: for the De libertate it appeared that there would be a “mixed” commission including Browne, Lefebvre, Colombo, Fernandez. For the De Judaeis, the letters commanded compliance with the resolution taken by the supercommission on October 7th, and to incorporate the text into the De ecclesia, reviewing however its details by October 25th in yet another committee that would include members of the doctrinal commission.55

The whole initiative – Cicognani says so explicitly – came from a request by the Pope,  upset the different alignments: members of the majority declared their shock, Siri was ready to resist all pressure, whereas Lercaro said he could accept the absorption of the text into the De ecclesia; Agagianian is ready to keep something (even if “from the Jews one cannot expect too much”); Felici ready to say that his superiors have always been opposed to this document, an assertion flying in the face of what John XXIII stood for…56 The way in which Felici summarized this debate and its conclusion for Paul VI was neither faithful nor balanced: but it obtained the nihil obstat approval which ensured that the Secretariat was relieved of all responsibility for De Judaeis, while the freedom of discussion was severely curtailed.

What had happened is well explained by Silvia Scatena’s immense research on religious freedom, from which Miccoli draws as well.57 And this question has not merely a procedural dimension, but also a substantial one: the very identity of the Second Vatican Council. It is from here that we must start because the problem of those weeks is the Council, not just a part or a  fragment of it. The offensive of the minority that no longer wishes to remain a minority puts all its hopes on Paul VI and on his intention not to contradict the anti-modernist magisterial teaching of the recent Popes: from this entanglement Montini is unable to free himself, if not with actions; in the texts he sees no way out, and that forces him to take up points of view that do not belong to him (and certainly not those of the Melchites who saw themselves as the decisive minority controlling the development of the document…).58 And yet, at this moment something more is being decided is because both in the discussions on [religious] freedom and on Judaism questions are at stake that do not merely relate to the institutions of the Roman Catholic Church, but rather concern the status of otherness in its life of faith.

Bea reacted to this polluting maneuver by showing the weaknesses and contradictions of Felici’s apparently strong and harsh instructions: to whom should then the new text on freedom be handed over? And this text, would it then really be the final version? Who would have calmed down the anxieties of the episcopates that were waiting for the opinion of the Secretariat? He asked this in writing to the secretary general and in an even stronger way to the Pope, who he asks for an account of the instructions given to him – a cardinal – vivae vocis oraculo (“orally”) on October 5th and of those transmitted by Felici: Bea asked the Pope for a final word, not without advising him as to the effect that would result if it were perceived that the Pope – who “so scrupulously has always safeguarded the freedom of the Council” – was now obstructing the Council’s work. Finally, he also asked whether a simple meeting would be sufficient to bring the document De Judaeis into the De ecclesia59

On October 13th, 1964 – after a mind-boggling succession of meetings, confusions, and maneuvers – the crisis appeared in the newspapers, with many details on the opposing groups. At least 8 cardinals supported the idea of an audience with Frings that could warn the Pope of the danger to De libertate; though not of the danger to De judaeis, because Bea was not alone in thinking that the transfer of the latter into the De ecclesia could take place without modifying its extension or its content. The result of this would be a letter with thirteen extremely weighty signatures (published in Le Monde on October 17th) asking the Pope to backtrack from the intentions of the mixed commission on De libertate. Against this, Ruffini reacted, reminding Paul VI of the serious implications of all this for the authority of the Pontiff: “Is there anyone who perhaps still ignores how the two declarations on the Jews and on religious Freedom have laid a claim on the attention of Your Holiness? I am surprised that such an extraordinary amount of interest is being displayed towards the Jews, while at the same time, with such extraordinary energy, religious Freedom is being advocated, which, as it is presented here, certainly sound bad. Forgive me, O Most Blessed Father, if I still dare to disclose my mind to You (Your Holiness is the Vicar of Jesus Christ, and as such He has the supreme responsibility of every conciliar decision).”60

Paul VI, at this point, made a decision: perhaps he chose also to take actions that shall enflame what is called the “black week” of Vatican II, but certainly he chose what to do with the draft concerning the relationship with Judaism, and he distanced from Ruffini: “It seems to us that we can reassure him concerning the letter to which he refers: its purpose is to protect the rights of the Council, not from the interference of the Pope, but rather from the initiatives of other people that might be considered excessive or abusive. It is in any case deplorable that an indiscreet publicity spreads around pieces of information that ought to be kept secret, deforming their content and their sense.”61

If this was meant to put De libertate back on track, for De judaeis it also entailed an even more fundamental re-establishment of the identity and individuality of the conciliar act. Paul VI had already told Bea on October 11th that the text would no longer undergo clumsy cuts, and the “nothing new” put forth by Felici to Bea on October 13th could lend itself to a more optimistic reading than the one given by Willebrands, who saw in it only new good premises. Among all these there was also the hypothesis to “save it” by including it into the De ecclesia, and was it for this purpose that on October 20th Congar and Moeller meet also with König, Pfister and Neuner? Maybe yes: though soon enough the idea was put forth to save the identity of the document on the relationship of the Church with non-Christian religions by asking new experts to participate.62


The approval of 1964 and the final insertion of text E

A new series of changes received the final approval of the Secretariat on October 30th, after a complex work undertaken by a sub-committee formed for this purpose and by its working groups.63 This sub-committee revealed Bea’s attention to what had emerged in the debate, as well a more general concern for the obvious instances of interference with what was happening in the wider context of the Council. This version (E) was distributed in the conciliar sessions on November 18th, 1964 , and was approved two days later by interlocution with 1651 placet, 242 placet iuxta modum and 91 non placet. Both by restoring a few aspects of the earlier drafts64 and by welcoming new suggestions, the declaration in its final form included five unequal parts that went from the common destiny of all humanity to the non-Abramitic religions, treated under two successive headings the Muslims and the Jews, and ended with an appeal to universal fraternity. The condemnation of the expression “deicide people” was explicit, and the rejection of anti-Semitism was total.

The approval by this vote seems to have startled the Vatican diplomats, who pretended an article from Bea (whose article on the theme of Judaism for Civiltà Cattolica had been vetoed in the Summer of 1962!) so as to discourage any “political” interpretations of the text, and take out the momentum from those reactions in Syria and elsewhere which, in less controversial times, had already made an observer such as Oesterreicher think of a Jihad.65 In a note of December 7th, 1964 to Felici, Cicognani lamented the failure to evaluate Arab reactions, and Bea, who replied emphasizing the fact that 1700 fathers had voted in favor, did not miss his opportunity to reject the conditioning collaboration of “new” theologians, behind whose back was already seen a plan by Felici.

In fact, the atmosphere was really tense: but there also instances of opportunism (Gori, for instance), and of alarmism, to which Bea suggested to respond sending a formal note before the final approval of the draft. And there was a resistance to backtrack on a point that was crucial for reactionary Catholicism, the right-duty to “protect” the Church from the Jews in conformity with a brief, but certainly inflammatory tradition of the magisterium: but the fact that the resistance was identified with Carli was a sure sign of its agony.

The changes were accordingly examined at the beginning of March 1965 by a working group that had already been “tried out” in October-November: Congar, Neuner, Baum, Oesterreicher, and Moeller, who then gave a report at the plenary session of the Secretariat.66 Not only the changes, but even new sensations: Willebrands explained for instance that the Arab reactions had come from a transmission of Israeli radio that had talked of an “absolution of the Jews” from the accusation of deicide, and the commission intervened on the text by inverting the sentence on the limits of the responsibility for the death of Jesus, and the retraction of the accusation of deicide. Even Bea, in a plenary session, wanted to show himself open to the concerns of the Arabs, who, unwilling to distinguish politics and religion, interpreted wrongly the declaration as if it had been a pronouncement in favor if Israel.

Along this line – which asked to give an explanation of Acts 3, 15, auctorem fidei interfecistis (“you killed the founder of the faith”) – it would have been possible to come to drastic changes: against which, however, Sheenan made his voice heard, saying that backtracking from the condemnation of the accusation of deicide would have meant that the whole purpose of the text would have been lost. The conflict was not resolved, and in the end the Willebrands formula remained in the text, waiting for a further examination in the plenary session of the following May 10th.

In the meantime, Willebrands and Duprey started a journey in the Middle East that made them more pessimistic, such as perhaps to induce Paul VI to make a grave faux pas on Passion Sunday, when, preaching in a parish, he talked of the responsibility of the Jewish people for the death of Christ.67 Ratzinger thinks of the possibility of a theological turning point, but maybe this is merely the result of emotional saturation. A few days later Patriarch Gori, to make an example, rejected all mediation offered by Willebrands by claiming that nothing could be declared or in fact ought to be declared. And Paul VI formulated (or merely handed over?) to Bea a series of extremely embarrassing corrections: [he asked] “to omit the sentence neque ut deicidii rei (“nor are they guilty of deicide”),” to remain on a general level when condemning discriminations based on religion, to reprove (as in morals ) but not to condemn (as if it were a heresy) anti-Semitism.

The result in May? – Chaos! And totally chaotic was also the plenary session of the Secretariat that month, in which Willebrands gave a report of his journey, and Bea talked of the new pressures from the Pope: only two possibilities appeared left, either to sweeten the text, or to postpone everything to the period after the Council. Congar perhaps was not the only one to think so, but his intuition was rather that it was necessary to follow a different path: to elaborate a more organic and more theological act, which would transform into a resource all the lost opportunities and the opportunisms. His project was transmitted to Bea and appeared to be a solution, but it was initially sidelined because Willebrands’ thesis – if it is not possible to do anything, better to postpone – was gaining growing support in the debate, including the approval of Oesterreicher and of Congar himself.


Towards a text F

On May 12th, after the meeting of the coordinating committee, the debate took a different turn: a less categorical Willebrands and a more inventive Bea sought to find new ways to “disentangle” the problem – and the debate regained momentum. De Smedt pushed for the discussion to continue, even if the price was to include a premise on the “non-political” character of the text; Martin, Charrière, Gran supported him.68 The German Stangl reaffirmed the thesis of Congar – twenty years after Auschwitz it is no longer possible to remain silent – and Bea read a text with a few suggestions that perhaps are the same as those jotted down by Congar a few days earlier: but he dod not go ahead, because no-one, in such confusion, wanted to risk starting from a text that had not passed though the sessions of the Council.

Thus began a period of operative discussion. Votes and formulations followed one another: to eliminate the direct mention of deicide passed by 15 votes to 9, and in a vote of control by 17 to 6; to reduce damnat to reprobat passed by 15 to 8; the “anti-political” remarks by De Smedt were also approved. The debate says however something very important about the situation: if this is the way the Secretariat proceeded, what would happen in the Conciliar session? De Smedt proposed to prepare two propositions to bring to the Council if the draft were rejected, but he was not supported in this by Bea, who by this time was set on going to the plenary session with a draft.

The outcome of these tormented discussions was text F, which welcomed the proposals of (or vehicled by) Paul VI: no deicide, no condemnation. A débacle? Perhaps not, but certainly a cause for discontent. Suenens admitted as much to Dell’Acqua, and told him of his fears that the Pope’s own prestige might be damaged by this whole story: Il s’agit en effet d’un texte déjà voté par une immense majorité qui a expressément voulu réintroduire certaines formules que l’on envisage en ce moment de supprimer. Ces modifications, venant du Secrétariat comme tel, sont formellement opposées au règlement du Concile qui n’admet pas des retouches substantielles post sufragationem. Le Secrétariat pour l’unité ne peut donc les proposer de sa propre autorité. […] on ne voit donc pas la possibilité de ne pas découvrir la couronne (“We are here talking of a text that has already been approved by an immense majority, which explicitly decided to reintroduce certain formulas that now they want to suppress. These modifications, coming from the Secretariat as such, are formally opposed to the rules of the Council, which do not admit of substantial changes after the vote […] they do not realize that in this way they can leave the authority of the Pontiff exposed.”)

Felici, who received a copy of the letter by Suenens, was of the opposite opinion: let it be known that it is the Pope’s will and everything shall be solved – or rather, they can include a reference in draft XIII…

This is a moment when the Catholic press played a very special role: the Jesuits of the magazine America asked for clear words, whereas Msgr. Carli, in the review Palestra del clero, asked to “discuss openly the Jewish question,” while in June much authoritative press gave up on the declaration as dead…69 When, on September 15th, the Secretariat took up for the last time the old De Judaeis, which in the meantime had substantially grown, nothing was certain, neither for the declaration, nor for the entire final phase of the work, where every segment of what appeared ready for promulgation appeared vulnerable to fatal attacks.70


Is it approved or not?

On September 30th, 1965, the fathers were thus to receive a final text, text G, articulated under nine headings that were going to be subject to the vote71 – before which the divisions among the different groups was clearly delineated.

Opposed to the text were the members of the Coetus internationalis patrum, who, during the session of October 11th, openly campaigned for the non placet, distributing pamphlets with their Suggestiones circa suffragationes mox faciendas de Schemate: “De Ecclesiae habitudine ad religiones non christianas,” which are an attack on the Secretariat and a politically sophisticated move: the conciliar right proposed to soften in a few places three of the four parts destined for the vote, while advancing the cause of only one unqualified rejection, for the part which revoked the “doctrine” of deicide. On the first part (the passages concerning dialogue with non-Christian religions) theological reservations were advanced – which Mauro Velati rightly considers “malicious” – against the stubborn search for a denominator communis.

The opposition of the Arabs, on the other hand, had been placated by a few moves: after having appointed to the Secretary for Christian Unity Fr. Cocq, who had previously been responsible for the commission on Islam within the Secretariat for the non-Christians, a translation of the draft was prepared which was then handed over to all Arab embassies: these, with the single exception of Iraq, assumed a more accommodating tone, and this exerted an equally calming impact on the position of the Arab bishops, who thought of a common voting declaration (which would fail because of the opposition of the Maronites) and who remarked how the Pope’s visit to the United Nations had attenuated certain polemical excesses of pan-Arab nationalism.

A variegated area of opposition was instead that of the informal organizations within Judaism which regard as an ill-fated move the choice to omit the term “deicide,” and the reduction of the damnat (referring to anti-Semitism) to a mere deplorat: Joseph Lichten, for B’nai B’rith, telegraphed the “consternation” of the American Jewish community, and the Texas bishop Leven would be ready to vote against n. 4 for reasons opposite to those of the Coetus, even though at the moment of the vote they would be confused with them.

There are also those who remarked – in the newspapers, or in the embassies – that the expensio modorum handed over to the Fathers did not explain the reasons for the softening of the text, which paradoxically could end up bringing about a convergence between traditionalist anti-Semites and disappointed innovators: once more, Nostra Aetate enables us to catch a glimpse not only of an episode in the history of the Council, but of a whole climate during the conciliar debates.72

Laurentin’s reflections on this issue exemplify how many people at the time failed to realize the implications of what they were doing: he thought that rejecting the draft would have led to an improvement of the relationships with the Jewish world, whereas the approval of the paragraph on deicide and anti-Semitism would have calmed the opposition on the part of the Islamic world – neither of which assertions corresponded to reality. Even the supporters of the more open and straight-forward solutions were unable to grasp the difference between important, but national, organizations, and European Judaism, as well as the difference between Judaism in Israel and the State of Israel as such – a State which indeed did find its roots in something different from the explosion of Nazi and Fascist anti-Semitic ideology and genocide.

The sequence of the votes chapter by chapter (October 14th-15th) did not however result in violent shocks: the first paragraphs received 110, 184 and 189 negative votes; some of the paragraphs on Judaism received as many as 245 non placet, which however had no consequence on n. 6; the last paragraph saw a decrease in the front of those opposed, which came to include a mere 58 fathers. The whole of the text is “punished” with 243 contrary votes, due to the backlash of a few sectors – the bishops of the Arab world or of the African world whose religions were not mentioned.73

Perhaps out of fear of irritating the Council fathers before the end, Lercaro had not included Nostra Aetate among the drafts to be taken to the public session on October 28th. And if it is true that Paul VI had put a threshold of 300 negative votes to proceed to the promulgation of the text, the “silence” of the Archbishop of Bologna had been wise. After passing the obstacle of the vote, in fact, the Secretariat began forcefully to demand the inclusion [of the document] into the agenda of the 28th, showing to the Pope even the congratulations of the World Council of Churches and of the American Jewish Committee. Why exert such pressures? Because there was the possibility of extremely dangerous polemical backlashes: we might be surprised by the letter of Ruffini who lamented the absence of any mention of Pius X, but was such a letter really destined to leave no trace? How ought we to judge the letter to the Pope by Msgr. Gori, who accused the Council of having distorted Rm. 11, 28? Was there not the risk of starting a process analogous to that which had disturbed the last moments of the promulgation of De Oecumenismo? This would not happen: the Pope accepted the request to broaden the agenda of October 28th, and in response to Gori’s remonstrances he advised that he ought to be reassured, but that nothing ought to be changed. At the final vote, the drafts on the bishops, the priests and the religious passed with a number of contrary votes between 2 and 4; the draft on Christian education got 35; and Nostra Aetate still received 88 stubborn rejections.

Seven years had elapsed since the election of John XXIII.


The Sacrament of Otherness

As I said at the beginning, much work still needs to be done to understand what is hidden and what emerges in the public debates, in the private struggles in which attempts were made to reject the idea that, 750 years after the Fourth Lateran Council, a Council could approve the document De Judaeis with a different tone from that of Innocent III.74 There is much that must still be simply thought out in order to understand how the impact of the declaration is being received at the various levels that make up the life of the Christian community: from commentaries to the ecumenical world, from papal diplomacy to the popularizing pamphlets, from various “initiatives” that transfer [the decisions of] the Council to the members of the Church, from Europe to the Arab world, from America to Israel. With due caution, therefore, I limit myself to put forth, as a hypothesis, a hermeneutical key which, if confirmed, I think can give a historical account (though even with a few implications that go beyond the level of the mere reconstruction of the facts) of the journey that has briefly been reviewed in these pages.

The history of the redaction of Nostra Aetate is in fact marked by the constant interference of “opportunisms”, a term in which not only I do not see any negative nuance, but where I rather view an ability to adhere to the time in its different realities: in Isaac’s requests there is the desire –certain worthy of our respect – of a section of European Judaism to show itself able to obtain something, something which those who had directly experienced the Shoah as well as the centuries-old conflicts,75 which had remained in place even after the end of the war, were able to intuit with a different degree of urgency; in Cicognani’s perspective, there is the attempt to make prevail a culture of diplomatic mediation that seems however incapable of recognizing in the political novelty [of the State of Israel] something that might mark Judaism and the Middle East forever even at the cost of a new catastrophe; in the intuition of Bea there is also something in which a German Jesuit was able to grasp the more theologically profound implications, but also the more immediate ones (if there is such a thing as collective and eternal crimes as claimed by the teaching of deicide, what shall happen with Germany’s Nazi past?); in Israel’s suspicious attitude there is the need to understand what could be the political gains of an act that could boil down to an embarrassing expression of good intentions, perhaps deserving of some polite appreciation on the part of a rabbi, but which was certainly unworthy of the commitment of a people seeking its own rebirth; in the Arab reaction there is the attempt to shorten the leash of the Churches as well as the internal intuition that the time had come to reassert leadership within societies that moved uneasily between re-Islamicization and a reconstruction of a socialist type. But in the end, what has come out of it all? Was De Judaeis watered down or sold out to the opportunities of the moment?

From the point of view of the redaction, this might appear to be the case,76 but in substance, the opposite is true. In the text and in life, in experience and in history, Judaism has become the paradigm not only of inter-religious dialogue, but also the paradigm of every difference, the sacrament of all otherness, the locus theologicus where the Christians can show that every “other” alludes in its very alterity to the One who is totally Other and yet is totally Close to every woman and to every man.77 It is this mystery of salvation that marks “our age.” In the documents of the Second Vatican Council, it is affirmed that our time can respond to the challenge that this mystery represents.     


1 Cf. J. M. Oesterreicher , Erklärung über das Verhältnis der Kirche zu den nicht-christlichen Religionen. Kommentierende Einleitung, in L Th K. Das Zweite Vaticanische Konzil, II, Freiburg-Basel-Wien, 1967; a new improved edition is in J.M. Oesterreicher, The New Encounter between Christians and Jews, New York, Philosophical Library, 1986.

2 Cf. E.J. Fisher (ed.), Visions of the Other: Jewish and Christian Theologians Assess the Dialogue. Studies in Judaism and Christianity. A Stimulus Book, New York and Mahwah NJ , Paulist Press, 1994. 

3 Cf. Storia del concilio Vaticano II, directed by G. Alberigo, Italian version edited by A. Melloni , 5 volumes, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1995-2001.

4 Cf. D. I. Kertzer, The Popes against the Jews: The Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism, New York , Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.

5 Cf. D.J. Dietrich, God and Humanity in Auschwitz: Jewish Christian Relations and Sanctioned Murder, New Brunswick NJ , Transaction Publishers, 1995, and now also M.A. Signer (ed.), Humanity at the Limit: The Impact of the Holocaust Experience on Jews and Christians, Bloomington/Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 2000.

6 Cf. E. Schlusser-Fiorenza- D. Tracy (eds.), The Holocaust as Interruption, Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1984; also J. Neusner , Death and Birth of Judaism: The Impact of Christianity, Secularism and Holocaust on Jewish Faith, New York, Basic Books, 1987. 

7 Cf. M. Phayer, The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965, Bloomington/Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 2000.

8 On the sources, cf. M. Faggioli –G. Turbanti, Il concilio inedito. Fonti del Vaticano II, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2001.

9 Cf. G. Miccoli, La libertà religiosa e le relazioni con gli ebrei, in Storia del Concilio Vaticano II (from now, Miccoli, op. cit.).

10 On the contacts, cf. Sens 2002/4, with the papers of Jules Isaac.

11 Cf. J. Willebrands, Il Cardinale Agostino Bea: il suo contributo al movimento ecumenico, alla libertà religiosa e all’instaurazione di nuove relazioni col popolo ebraico, in Simposio card. Agostino Bea (Roma, 16-19 dicembre 1981), Roma, Pontificia Università Lateranense, 1983, p. 17; for a further reflection on this topic, cf. S. Schmidt, Agostino Bea. Il cardinale dell’Unità, Roma, Città Nuova, 1987. 

12 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 162.

13 The story of the encounter between the Pope and Isaac is told in SIDIC (1968), n. 3, pp. 10-12; the text with the requests handed over to John XXIII can also be found in J. Toulat, “Una visita a Jules Isaac”, in Rassegna mensile d’Israel, 11/12 (1972) [5733], pp. 3-13.

14 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 163.

15 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 163. For the political and diplomatic context, cf. A. Melloni , L’altra Roma. Politica e Santa Sede durante il Concilio Vaticano II (1959-1965), Bologna, il Mulino, 2000. 

16 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 163. For the problem of later theology, cf. A. J. Peck (ed.), Jews and Christians after the Holocaust, Philadelphia , Fortress Press, 1982.

17 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 164.

18 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 164.

19 Cf. J. Nobècourt, ‘Le Vicaire’ et l’histoire, Paris Seuil, 1964; in the context created by this piece, Paul Rassinier invented a sort of personal negationism, discussed by F. Brayard, Comment l’idée vint à Rassinier. Naissance du révisionism, Paris, Fayard, 1996.  

20 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 165.

21 Obviously he did not refer to the missing encyclical by Pius XI on this topic, published in G. Passelecq-B. Suchecky, L’Encyclique cachée de Pie XI, Paris, La Découverte, 1995.

22 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 164.

23 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 166.

24 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 167.

25 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 167.

26 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 168.

27 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 168-169.

28 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 169.

29 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 170.

30 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 171.

31 Cf. the Pope’s own observations in AS, V/2, pp. 572ff.

32 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 175.

33 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 171.

34 Cf. AS , V/2, p. 558.

35 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 171.

36 AS, V/2, p. 558; cf. also Miccoli, op. cit., p. 172

37 The letter by Rudloff to Paul VI, dated May 10th, 1964 , is in AS, VI/3, p. 200; cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 173. No adequate research has yet been done of the drafts and the notes related to the Rudloff papers. 

38 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., pp. 173-174.

39 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 174.

40 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 174.

41 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., pp. 174-175.

42 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 177.

43 Cf. S. Scatena, La fatica della libertà. L’elaborazione della dichiarazione ‘Dignitatis humanae’ on religious freedom by Vatican II, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2003. The depth and breadth of the documentary and interpretative references of this text evidence how much work still needs to be done on Nostra Aetate  

44 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 178.

45 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 160.

46 For the diplomatic context, cf. the index of A. Melloni , L’altra Roma.

47 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., pp. 178-179.

48 Cf. Scatena, La fatica della libertà, op. cit..

49 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 181.

50 Cf. AS, III/2, pp. 567-610, and AS, III/3, pp. 9-55.

51 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 181.

52 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 190.

53 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 191.

54 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 192.

55 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 193.

56 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 204.

57 Cf. Scatena, La fatica della libertà, op. cit..

58 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 201.

59 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., pp. 208-209.

60 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 215.

61 Cf. Miccoli, op. cit., p. 216.

62 Cf. Miccoli, op .cit., p. 218.

63 Cf. Oesterreicher, The New Encounter, op. cit., pp. 228-233.

64 The synopsis of text C and of its changes is in AS III/8, pp. 637-647.

65 Cf. Oesterreicher, The New Encounter, op. cit., pp. 237-238.

66 Cf. Oesterreicher, The New Encounter, op. cit., pp. 247-249. Other documents are also in Fondo De Smedt nn. 1463-1466.

67 For the reactions, cf. A. Melloni , L’altra Roma, op. cit..

68 Cf. Fondo De Smedt, n. 1441; there is other material under the nn. 1467-1472.

69 Cf. Oesterreicher, The New Encounter, op. cit., pp. 253-260. On the reactionary milieux, cf. N. Buonasorte, Fra Roma e Lefebvre. Il tradizionalismo cattolico italiano e il concilio vaticano II, Roma, Studium, 2003.

70 The synopsis of the text which is presented to the attention of the Fathers on September 30th, 1965 , in synopsis with its earlier version, can be found in AS, IV/4, pp. 690-696.

71 Cf. Oesterreicher, The New Encounter, op. cit., pp. 272.

72 For the reactions of the embassies, cf. the index of A. Melloni , L’altra Roma, op. cit..

73 Cf. Oesterreicher, The New Encounter, op. cit., pp. 274-6.

74 Cf. S. Simonsohn, The Apostolic See and the Jews: History, Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1991. 

75 Cf. J. Neusner- E.S. Frerichs (eds.), To See Ourselves as Others See Us. Christians, Jews, ‘Others’ in Late Antiquity, Chicago , Scholars Press, 1985.

76 This was the thesis of M. Ruokanen in The Catholic Doctrine of Non-Christian Religions According to the Second Vatican Council, Leiden , Brill, 1992. Ruokanen is convinced that Nostra Aetate is characterized by a substantial negation of the salvific potential of [non-Christian] religions. 

77 With reference to this intuition by Barth, an overview of the recent theological discussions can be found in J.T. Palikowski, “ Nostra Aetate : its impact on Catholic-Jewish Relations”, in Thoughts 67 (1992), n. 267, pp. 372-384.