[Paleopsych] Look: How The Jews Changed Catholic Thinking (1966)

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How The Jews Changed Catholic Thinking

                     By Joseph Roddy, Look Senior Editor

            from LOOK Magazine, January 25, 1966, Volume 30, No. 2

            For the simple tenets of their faith, most Roman Catholics
    rely on the catechism's hard questions and imprimatured answers.
    Children in Church schools memorize its passages, which they rarely
    forget the rest of their lives. In the catechism, they learn that
    Catholic dogma does not change and, far more vividly, that Jews killed
    Jesus Christ. Because of that Christian concept, for the past 20
    centuries anti-Semitism spread as a kind of social disease on the body
    of mankind. Its incidence rose and fell, but anti-Semites were never
    quite out of style. The ill-minded who argued all other matters could
    still join in contempt for Jews. It was a gentlemen's agreement that
    carried into Auschwitz.
            Few Catholics were ever directly taught to hate Jews. Yet
    Catholic teaching could not get around the New Testament account that
    Jews provoked the Crucifixion. The gas chambers were only the latest
    proof that they had not yet been pardoned. The best hope that the
    Church of Rome will not again seem an accomplice to genocide is the
    fourth chapter of its Declaration on the Relation of the Church to
    Non-Christian Religions, which Pope Paul VI declared Church law near
    the end of Vatican Council II. At no place in his address from the
    Chair of Peter did the Pope talk of Jules Isaac. But perhaps the
    archbishop of Aix, Charles de Provenchères, had made Isaac's role
    perfectly clear some few years earlier. "It is a sign of the times,"
    the Archbishop said, " that a layman, and a Jewish layman at that, has
    become the originator of a Council decree."
            Jules Isaac was a history scholar, a Legion of Honor member,
    and the inspector of schools in France. In 1943, he was 66, a
    despairing man living near Vichy, when the Germans picked up his
    daughter and wife. From then on, Isaac could think of little but the
    apathy of the Christian world before the fate of incinerated Jews. His
    book Jesus and Israel was published in 1948, and after reading it,
    Father Paul Démann in Paris searched schoolbooks and verified Isaac's
    sad claim that inadvertently, if not by intent, Catholics taught
    contempt for Jews. Gregory Baum, an Augustinian priest born an
    Orthodox Jews, called it "a moving account of the love which Jesus had
    for his people, the Jews, and of the contempt which the Christians,
    later, harbored for them."
            Isaac's book was noticed. In 1949, Pope Pius XII received its
    author briefly. But 11 years went by before Isaac saw real hope. In
    Rome, in mid-June, 1960, the French Embassy pressed Isaac on to the
    Holy See. Isaac wanted to see John XXIII. He was passed from the old
    Cardinal Eugene Tisserant to the archconservative Cardinal Alfredo
    Ottaviani. Ottaviani sent him on to the 83-year-old Cardinal Andrea
    Jullien, who stared without seeing and stayed motionless as stone
    while Isaac told how Catholic teaching led to anti-Semitism. When he
    had finished, he waited for a reaction, but Jullien stayed in stone.
    Isaac, who was hard of hearing, stared intently at the prelate's lips.
    Time passed, neither spoke. Isaac thought of just leaving, then
    decided to intrude. "But whom should I see about this terrible thing?"
    he asked, finally, and after another long pause, the old Cardinal
    said," Tisserant." The silence settled in again. The next word was,
    "Ottaviani." Isaac shook that off too. When it was time for another,
    the word was, "Bea." With that, Jules Isaac went to Augustin Bea, the
    one German Jesuit in the College of Cardinals. "In him, I found
    powerful support," Isaac said.
            The next day, the support was even stronger. John XXIII,
    standing in the doorway of the fourth-floor papal apartment, reached
    for Jules Isaac's hand, then sat beside him. "I introduced myself as a
    non-Christian, the promoter of l'Amitiés Judéo-Chrétiennes, and a very
    deaf old man," Isaac said. John talked for a while of his devotion to
    the Old Testament, told of his days as a Vatican diplomat in France,
    then asked where his caller was born. Here, Isaac felt a rambling chat
    with the Supreme Pontiff coming on and started worrying about how he
    would ever bring the conversation around to his subject. He told John
    that his actions had kindled great hopes in the people of the Old
    Testament, and added: "Is not the Pope himself, in his great kindness,
    responsible for it if we now expect more?" John laughed, and Isaac had
    a listener. The non-Christian beside the Pope said the Vatican should
    study anti-Semitism. John said he had been thinking about that from
    the beginning of their talk. "I asked if I might take away some sparks
    of hope," Isaac recalled. John said he had a right to more than hope
    and then went on about the limits of sovereignty. "I am the head, but
    I must consult others too....This is not monarchie absolue!" To much
    of the world, it seemed to be monarchy benevolent. Because of John, a
    lot was happening fast in Catholicism and Jewry.
            A few months before Isaac spelled out his case against the
    Gentiles, a Vatican Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity was set
    up by Pope John under Cardinal Bea. It was to press toward reunion
    with the churches Rome lost at the Reformation. After Isaac left, John
    made it clear to the administrators in the Vatican's Curia that a firm
    condemnation of Catholic anti-Semitism was to come from the council he
    had called. To John, the German Cardinal seemed the right legislative
    whip for the job, even if his Christian Unity secretariat seemed a
    vexing address to work from.
            By then, there was a fair amount of talk passing between the
    Vatican Council offices and Jewish groups, and both the American
    Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith were
    heard loud and clear in Rome. Rabbi Abraham J. Heschel of New York's
    Jewish Theological Seminary, who first knew of Bea in Berlin 30 years
    ago, met with the Cardinal in Rome. Bea had already read the American
    Jewish Committee's The Image of the Jews in Catholic Teaching. It was
    followed by another AJC paper, the 23-page study, Anti-Jewish Elements
    in Catholic Liturgy. Speaking for the AJC, Heschel said he hoped the
    Vatican Council would purge Catholic teaching of all suggestions that
    the Jews were a cursed race. And in doing that, Heschel felt, the
    Council should in no way exhort Jews to become Christians. About the
    same time, Israel's Dr. Nahum Goldmann, head of the World Conference
    of Jewish Organizations, whose members ranged in creed from the most
    orthodox to liberal, pressed its aspirations on the Pope. B'nai B'rith
    wanted the Catholics to delete all language from the Church services
    that could even seem anti-Semitic. Not then, nor in any time to come,
    would that be a simple thing to do.
            The Catholic liturgy, where it was drawn from writings of the
    early Church Fathers, could easily be edited. But not the Gospels.
    Even if Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were better at evangelism than
    history, their writings were divinely inspired, according to Catholic
    dogma, and about as easy to alter as the center of the sun. That
    difficulty put both Catholics with the very best intentions and Jews
    with the deepest understanding of Catholicism in a theological fix. It
    also brought out the conservative opposition in the Church and, to
    some extent, Arab anxieties in the Mideast. The conservative charge
    against the Jews was that they were deicides, guilty of killing God in
    the human-divine person of Christ. And to say now that they were not
    deicides was to say by indirection that Christ was not God, for the
    fact of the execution on Calvary stood unquestioned in Catholic
    theology. Yet the execution and the religion of those demanding it
    were the reasons Jews were "God-killers" and "Christ-killers" in the
    taunts of anti-Semites. Clearly, then, Catholic Scripture would be at
    issue if the council spoke about deicides and Jews. Wise and
    long-mitred heads around the Curia warned that the bishops in council
    should not touch this issue with ten-foot staffs. But still there was
    John XXIII, who said they must.
            If the inviolability of Holy Writ was most of the problem in
    Rome, the rest was the Arab-Israeli war. Ben-Gurion's Israel, in the
    Arab League's view, like Mao's China in the world out of Taiwan,
    really does not exist. Or, it only exists as a bone in the throat of
    Nasser. If the Council were to speak out for the Jews, then the
    spiritual order would seem political to Arab bishops. Next, there
    would be envoys passing in the night between the Vatican and Tel Aviv.
    This was a crisis the Arab League thought it might handle by
    diplomacy. Unlike Israel, its states already had some ambassadors to
    the papal court. They would bear the politest of reminders to the Holy
    See that some 2,756,000 Roman Catholics lived in Arab lands and
    mention the 420,000 Orthodox Catholics separated from Rome, whom the
    Papacy hoped to reclaim. Bishops of both cuts of Catholicism could be
    counted on to convey their interests to the Holy See. It was too soon
    for the threats. Instead, the Arabs importuned Rome to see that they
    were neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Jewish. Arabs, too, are Semites,
    they said, and among them lived thousands of Jewish refugees.
    Patriotic Arabs were just anti-Zionist because to them, Zionism was a
    plot to set a Judaic state in the center of Islam.
            In Rome, the word from the Mideast and the conservatives was
    that a Jewish declaration would be inopportune. From the West, where
    225,500 more Jews live in New York than in Israel, the word was that
    dropping the declaration would be a calamity. And into this impasse
    came the ingenuous bulk of John XXIII - not to settle the dispute but
    to enlarge it. Quite on his own, the Pope was toying with an idea,
    which the Roman Curia found grotesque, that non-Catholic faiths should
    send observers to the Council. The prospect of being invited caused no
    crisis among Protestants, but it plainly nonplussed the Jews. To
    attend suggested to some Jews that Christian theology concerned them.
    But to stay away when invited might suggest that the Jews did not
    really care whether Catholics came to grips with anti-Semitism.
            When it was learned that Bea's declaration, set for voting at
    the first Council session, carried a clear refutation of the decide
    charge, the World Jewish Congress let it be known around Rome that Dr.
    Haim Y. Vardi, an Israeli, would be an unofficial observer at the
    Council. The two reports may not have been related, but still they
    seemed to be. Because of them, other reports-louder ones-were heard.
    The Arabs complained to the Holy See. The Holy See said no Israeli had
    been invited. The Israelis denied then that an observer had been
    named. The Jews in New York thought an American should observe. In
    Rome, it all ended up with a jiggering of the agenda to make sure that
    the declaration would not come to the Council floor that session.
    Still, for the bishops, there was quite a bit of supplementary reading
    on Jews. Some agency close enough to the Vatican to have the addresses
    in Rome of the Council's 2,200 visiting cardinals and bishops,
    supplied each with a 900-page book, Il Complotto contro la Chiesa (The
    Plot Against the Church) In it, among reams of scurrility, was a kind
    of fetching shred of truth. Its claim that the Church was being
    infiltrated by Jews would intrigue anti-Semites. For, in fact,
    ordained Jews around Rome working on the Jewish declaration included
    Father Baum, as well as Msgr. John Oesterreicher, on Bea's staff at
    the Secretariat. Bea, himself, according to the Cairo daily, Al
    Gomhuria, was a Jew named Behar.
            Neither Baum nor Oesterreicher was with Bea in the late
    afternoon on March 31, 1963, when a limousine was waiting for him
    outside the Hotel Plaza in New York. The ride ended about six blocks
    away, outside the offices of the American Jewish Committee. There, a
    latter-day Sanhedrin was waiting to greet the head of the Secretariat
    for Christian Unity. The gathering was kept secret from the press. Bea
    wanted neither the Holy See nor the Arab League to know he was there
    to take questions the Jews wanted to hear answered. "I am not
    authorized to speak officially," he told them. "I can, therefore,
    speak only of what, in my opinion, could be effected, indeed, should
    be effected, by the Council." Then, he spelled out the problem. "In
    round terms" he said, "the Jews are accused of being guilty of
    deicide, and on them is supposed to lie a curse." He countered both
    charges. Because even in the accounts of the Evangelists, only the
    leaders of the Jews then in Jerusalem and a very small group of
    followers shouted for the death sentence on Jesus, all those absent
    and the generations of Jews unborn were not implicated in deicide in
    any way, Bea said. As to the curse, it could not condemn the
    crucifiers anyway, the Cardinal reasoned, because Christ's dying words
    were a prayer for their pardon.
            The Rabbis in the room wanted to know then if the declaration
    would specify deicide, the curse and the rejection of the Jewish
    people by God as errors in Christian teaching. Implicit in their
    question was the most touchy problem of the New Testament. Bea's
    answer was oblique. He cautioned his listeners that an unwieldy
    assemblage of bishops could not possibly get down to details, could
    only set guidelines, and hope not to make the complex seem simple.
    "Actually," he went on, "it is wrong to seek the chief cause of
    anti-Semitism in purely religious sources - in the Gospel accounts,
    for example. These religious causes, in so far as they are adduced
    (often they are not), are often merely an excuse and a veil to cover
    over other more operative reasons for enmity." Cardinal and rabbis
    joined in a toast with sherry after the talk, and one asked the
    prelate about Monsignor Oesterreicher, whom many Jews regard as too
    missionary with them. "You know, Eminence," a Jewish reporter once
    told Bea, "Jews do not regard Jewish converts as their best friends."
    Bea answered gravely, "Not our Jews."
            Not long after that, the Rolf Hochhuth play The Deputy opened,
    to depict Pius XII as the Vicar of Christ who fell silent while Hitler
    went to The Final Solution. From the pages of the Jesuit magazine
    America, Oesterreicher talked straight at the AJC and B'nai B'rith.
    "Jewish human-relations agencies," he wrote, "will have to speak out
    against The Deputy in unmistakable terms. Otherwise they will defeat
    their own purpose." In the Table of London, Giovanni Battista Montini,
    the archbishop of Milan, wrote an attack on the play as a defense of
    the Pope, whose secretary he had been. A few months later, Pope John
    XXIII was dead, and Montini became Pope Paul VI.
            At the second session of the Council, in the fall of 1963, the
    Jewish declaration came to the bishops as Chapter 4 of the larger
    declaration On Ecumenism. The Chapter 5 behind it was the equally
    troublesome declaration on religious liberty. Like riders to bills in
    congress, each of the disputed chapters was a wayward caboose hooked
    to the new ecumenical train. Near the end of the session, when On
    Ecumenism came up for a vote, the Council moderators decided the
    voting should cover only the first three chapters. That switched the
    cabooses to a siding and averted a lot of clatter in a council trying
    hard to be ecumenical. Voting on the Jews and religious liberty would
    follow soon, the bishops were promised. And while waiting around, they
    could read The Jews and the Council in the Light of Scripture and
    Tradition which was shorter, but more scurrilous than Il Complotto.
    But the second session ended without the vote on the Jews or religious
    liberty, and on a distinctly sour note, despite the Pope's announced
    visit to the Holy Land. That pilgrimage would take up a lot of
    newsprint, but still leave room for questions about votes that
    vanished. "Something had happened behind the scenes," the voice of the
    National Catholic Welfare Conference wrote." [It is] one of the
    mysteries of the second session."
            Two very concerned Jewish gentlemen who had to reflect hard on
    such mysteries were 59-year-old Joseph Lichten of B'nai B'rith's
    Anti-Defamation League in New York, and Zachariah Shuster, 63, of the
    American Jewish Committee. Lichten, who lost his parents, wife and
    daughter in Buchenwald, and Shuster, who also lost come of his closest
    relatives, had been talking with bishops and their staff men in Rome.
    The two lobbyists were not, however, seeing a lot of one another over
    vin rosso around St. Peter's. The strongest possible Jewish
    declaration was their common cause, but each wanted his home office to
    have credit for it. That is, of course, if the declaration was really
    strong. But until then, each would offer himself to the American
    hierarchs as the best barometer in Rome of Jewish sentiment back home.
            To find out how the Council was going, many U.S. bishops in
    Rome depended on what they read in the New York Times. And so did the
    AJC and B'nai B'rith. That paper was the place to make points. Lichten
    thought Shuster was a genius at getting space in it, but less than
    deeply instructed in theology. Which is just about the way Shuster saw
    Lichten. Neither had much time for Frith Becker. Becker was in Rome
    for the World Jewish Congress, as its spokesman who sought no
    publicity and got little. The WJC, according to Becker, was interested
    in the Council, but not in trying to shape it. "We don't have the
    American outlook," he said, "on the importance of getting into print."
            Getting into print was even beginning to look good to the
    Vatican. Yet an expert at the public relations craft would say the
    Holy See showed inexperience in the Holy Land. When Paul prayed with
    the bearded Orthodox Patriarch Athenagora in the Jordanian sector, the
    visit looked very good. Yet when he crossed over to Israel, he had
    cutting words about the author of The Deputy and a conversionest
    sermon for the Jews. His stay was so short that he never publicly
    uttered the name of the young country he was visiting in.
    Vaticanlogists studying his moves thought they saw lessened hope for
    the declaration on the Jews.
            Things looked better at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
    There, at a Beth Israel Hospital anniversary, guests learned that,
    years earlier, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver had told Cardinal Francis
    Spellman of Israel's efforts to get a seat in the United Nations. To
    help, Spellman said he would call on South American governments and
    share with them his fond wish that Israel be admitted. About the same
    time, il Papa americana told an AJC meeting it was "absurd to maintain
    that there is some kind of continuing guilt." In Pittsburgh, Rabbi
    Marc Tanenbaum of the AJC spoke to the Catholic Press Association
    about the deicide charge, and the editorial response was abundant. In
    Rome, six AJC members had an audience with the Pope, and one of them,
    Mrs. Leonard M. Sperry, had just endowed the Sperry Center for
    Intergroup Cooperation at Pro Deo University in the Holy City. The
    Pope told his callers he agreed with all Cardinal Spellman had said
    about Jewish guilt. Vaticanologists could not help but reverse their
    reading and see a roseate future for the declaration.
            Then came the New York Times. On June 12, 1964, it reported
    that the denial of deicide had been cut from the latest draft of the
    declaration. At the Secretariat for Christian Unity, a spokesman said
    only that the text had been made stronger. But that is not the way
    most Jews read it, nor a great many Catholics. Before the Council met
    and while the text was still sub secreto, whole sections of it turned
    up one morning in the New York Herald Tribune. No mention of the
    deicide charge was to be found. Instead, there was a clear call for
    the ecumenical spirit to extend itself because " the union of the
    Jewish people with the Church is a part of the Christian hope." Among
    the few Jews who did not mind reading that were Lichten and Shuster.
    They could look at it professionally. It read, say , much better over
    coffee in a morning paper than it would if the Pope were promulgating
    it as Catholic teaching. On other Jews, its effect was galvanic. Their
    disappointment set off indignation among some American bishops, and
    Lichten and Shuster appreciated their concern. Chances that a
    deicideless declaration, with a built-in conversion clause, would ever
    get by the American bishops and cardinals at the Council were what a
    couple of good lobbyists might call slim.
            About two weeks before that, Msgr. George Higgins of the
    National Catholic Welfare Conference in Washington, D.C., helped
    arrange a papal audience for UN Ambassador Arthur J. Goldberg, who was
    a Supreme Court Justice at the time. Rabbi Heschel briefed Goldberg
    before the Justice and the Pope discussed the declaration. Cardinal
    Richard Cushing, in Boston, wanted to help too. Through his aide in
    Rome, the Cardinal set up an audience with the Pope for Heschel, whose
    apprehensions had reason to exceed Cushing's. With the AJC's Shuster
    beside him, Heschel talked hard about deicide and guilt, and asked the
    Pontiff to press for a declaration in which Catholics would be
    forbidden to proselytize Jews. Paul, somewhat affronted, would in no
    way agree. Shuster, somewhat chagrined, disassociated himself gingerly
    from Heschel by switching to French, which the Pope speaks but the
    Rabbi does not. All agree that the audience did not end as cordially
    as it began. Only Heschel and a few others think it did good. He
    invited notice in an Israeli paper that the declaration's next text
    had emerged free of conversionary tone. To the AJC, that interview was
    one more irritant. The Rabbi's audience with Paul in the Vatican, like
    Bea's meeting with the AJC in New York, was granted on the condition
    that it would be kept secret. It was undercover summit conferences of
    that sort that led conservatives to claim that American Jews were the
    new powers behind the Church.
            But on the floor of the Council, things looked even worse to
    the conservatives. There, it seemed to them as if Catholic bishops
    were working for the Jews. At issue was the weakened text. The
    cardinals from St. Louis and Chicago, Joseph Ritter and the late
    Albert Meyer, demanded a return to the strong one. Cushing said the
    deicide denial would have to be put back. Bishop Steven Leven of San
    Antonio called for clearing the text of conversionary pleas and ,
    unknowingly, uttered a prophetic view about deicide. "We must tear
    this word out of the Christian vocabulary," he said, "so that it may
    never again be used against the Jews."
            All that talk brought out the Arab bishops. They argued that a
    declaration favoring Jews would expose Catholics to persecution as
    long as Arabs fought Israelis. Deicide, inherited guilt and
    conversionary locutions seemed like so many debating points to most
    Arabs. They wanted no declaration at all, they kept saying, because it
    would be put to political use against them. Their allies in this holy
    war were conservative Italians, Spaniards and South Americans. They
    saw the structure of the faith being shaken by theological liberals
    who thought Church teaching could change. To the conservatives, this
    was near-heresy, and to the liberals, it was pure faith. Beyond faith,
    the liberals had the votes, and sent the declaration back to its
    Secretariat for more strength. While it was out for redrafting again,
    the conservatives wanted it flattened into one paragraph in the
    Constitution of the Church. But when the declaration reappeared at the
    third session's end, it was in a wholly new document called The
    Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions.
    In that setting, the bishops approved it with a 1,770 to 185 vote.
    There was considerable joy among Jews in the United States because
    their declaration had finally come out.
            In fact, it had not. The vote had been an endorsement only for
    the general substance of the text. But because votes with
    qualifications were accepted (placet iuxta modum is the Latin term for
    "yes, but with this modification"), the time between the third session
    and the fourth - just finished - would be spent fitting in the
    modifying modi, or those most of the 31 voting members of the
    Secretariat thought acceptable. By Council rules, modi could qualify
    or nuance the language, but they could not change the substance of the
    text. But then, what substance is or is not had always kept
    philosophers on edge. And theologians have had trouble with it too.
            But first there were less recondite troubles to face. In
    Segni, near Rome, Bishop Luigi Carli wrote in the February, 1965 issue
    of his diocesan magazine that the Jews of Christ's time and their
    descendants down to the present were collectively guilty of Christ's
    death. A few weeks later, on Passion Sunday, at an outdoor Mass in
    Rome, Pope Paul talked of the Crucifixion and the Jews' heavy part in
    it. Rome's chief rabbi, Elio Toaff, said in saddened reply that in
    "even the most qualified Catholic personalities, the imminence of
    Easter causes prejudices to reemerge."
            On April 25, 1965, the New York Times correspondent in Rome,
    Robert C. Doty, upset just about everybody. The Jewish declaration was
    in trouble was the gist of his story reporting that the Pope had
    turned it over to four consultants to clear it of its contradictions
    to Scripture and make it less objectionable to Arabs. It was about as
    refuted as a Times story ever gets. When Cardinal Bea arrived in New
    York three days later, he had his priest-secretary deny Doty's story
    by saying that his Secretariat for Christian Unity still had full
    control of the Jewish declaration. Then came an apologia for Paul's
    sermon. "Keep in mind that the Pope was speaking to ordinary and
    simple faithful people - not before a learned body," the priest said.
    As to the anti-Semitic Bishop of Segni, the Cardinal's man said that
    Carli's views were definitely not those of the Secretariat. Morris B.
    Abram of the AJC was at the airport to greet Bea and found his
    secretary's views on that reassuring.
            In Rome a few days later, some fraction of the Secretariat met
    to vote on the bishops' suggested modi. Among them were a few borne
    down from the fourth floor of the Vatican over the signature of the
    Bishop of Rome. It is not known for certain whether that special
    bishop urged that the "guilty of deicide" denial be cut. But the
    alternate possibility that the phrase would have been cut, if he had
    wanted it kept, is not pondered on much any more. Accounts of the
    Secretariat's struggles over deicide agree that it was a very close
    vote after a long day's debate. After deicide went out, there remained
    the Bishop of Rome's suggestion that the clause beginning "deplores,
    indeed condemns, hatred and persecution of Jews" might read better
    with "indeed condemns" left out. That would leave hatred and
    persecution of Jews still "deplored." The suggestion stirred no debate
    and was quickly accepted by vote. It was late, and nobody cared to
    fuss any more about little things.
            That meeting was from May 9 to 15, and during that week, the
    New York Times had a story every other day from the Vatican. On May 8,
    the Secretariat denied again that outsiders were taking a hand in the
    Jewish declaration. On the 11th, President Charles Helou of Lebanon,
    an Arab Maronite Catholic, had an audience with the Pope. On the 12th,
    the Vatican Press Office announced that the Jewish declaration
    remained unchanged. If that was to reassure Jews, it came across as a
    Press Office protesting too much. On the 15th, the Secretariat closed
    its meeting, and the bishops went their separate ways, some sad, some
    satisfied, all with lips sealed. A few may have wondered if something
    out of order had happened and if, despite Council rules, a Council
    document had been substantially changed between sessions.
            The Times persisted in making trouble. On June 20, under
    Doty's by-line, was the report that the declaration was "under study"
    and might be dropped altogether. On June 22, Doty filed a story
    amounting to a self-directed punch in the nose. Commenting to Doty on
    his own earlier report, a source close to Bea said it was "so deprived
    of any basis that it doesn't even deserve a denial." For those who
    have raised refutations to a fine art, that was a denial to be proud
    of, because it was precisely true while completely misleading. Doty
    had written that the declaration was under study when in fact, the
    study was finished, the damage was done, and there existed what many
    regard as a substantially new declaration on the Jews.
            In Geneva, Dr. Willem Visser 'tHooft, head of the World
    Council of Churches, told two American priests that, if the reports
    were true, the ecumenical movement would be slowed. His sentiments
    were not kept secret from the U.S. hierarchy. Nor was the AJC saddened
    into inactivity. Rabbi Tanenbaum plied Monsignor Higgins with press
    clippings from appalled Jewish editors. Higgins conveyed his fears to
    Cardinal Cushing, and the Boston prelate made polite inquiry to the
    Bishop of Rome. In Germany, a group for Jewish-Christian amity sent a
    letter to the bishops claiming, "There is now prevailing a crisis of
    confidence vis-à-vis the Catholic Church." At the Times, there had
    never been a crisis of confidence vis-à-vis its reporting from Rome,
    but if there had been one, it would have passed on September 10. In
    his story under the headline VATICAN DRAFT EXONERATING JEWS REVISED TO
    OMIT WORD "DEICIDE," Doty allowed no Times reader to think he had
    pried into Vatican secrets. He was pleased to credit as his source,
    "an authorized leak by the Vatican."
            Similar stories in the Times foretold Council failings before
    they happened. Most of these were substantiated in magazine pieces and
    books published later, though some had traces of special pleading. The
    American Jewish Committee's intellectual monthly, Commentary, had
    offered a most bleak report on the Council and the Jews by the
    pseudonymous F. E. Cartus. In a footnote, the author referred the
    reader to a confirming account in The Pilgrim, a 281-page book by the
    pseudonymous Michael Serafian. Later, in Harper's magazine, Cartus,
    even more dour, added to the doubts on the Jewish text. To buttress
    his case, he recast Pilgrim passages and cited Council accounts in
    Time, whose Rome correspondent had surfaced for by-line status as
    author of a notably good book on the Council. At the time, both Time
    and the New York Times were glad to have an inside tipster. Just for
    the journalistic fun of it, the inside man's revelations were signed
    "Pushkin," when slipped under some correspondents' doors.
            But readers were served no rewritten Pushkin on the Council's
    last sessions. The cassock had come off the double agent who could
    never turn down work. Pushkin, it turned out, was Michael Serafian in
    book length, F.E. Cartus for the magazines, and a translator in the
    Secretariat for Christian Unity, while keeping up a warm friendship
    with the AJC. At the time, Pushkin-Serafian-Cartus was living in the
    Biblical Institute, where he had been known well since his ordination
    in 1954, though he will be known here as Timothy Fitzharris O'Boyle,
    S.J. For the journalists, the young priest's inside tips and tactical
    leaks checked out so well that he could not resist gilding them every
    now and then with a flourish of creative writing. And an imprecision
    or two could even be charged off to exhaustion in his case. He was
    known to be working on a book at a young married couple's flat. The
    book finally got finished, but so did half of the friendship. Father
    Fitzharris-O'Boyle knew it was time for a forced march before his
    religious superior could inquire too closely into the reasons for that
    crisis in camaraderie. He left Rome then, sure that he could be of no
    more use locally.
            Apart from his taste for pseudonyms, fair ladies, reports on
    the nonexistent and perhaps a real jester's genius for footnotes,
    Fitzharris-O'Boyle was good at his job in the Secretariat, valuable to
    the AJC and is still thought of by many around Rome as a kind of
    genuine savior in the diaspora. Without him, the Jewish declaration
    might well have gone under early, for it was Fitzharris-O'Boyle who
    best helped the press harass the Romans wanting to scuttle it. The man
    has a lot of priests' prayers.
            Other years, Fitzharris-O'Boyle was around Rome when the
    declaration needed help. At Vatican II's fourth and last session,
    there was no help in sight. And things were happening very fast. The
    text came out weakened, as the Times said it would. Then, the Pope
    took off for the UN, where his jamais plus la guerre speech was a
    triumph. After that, he greeted the president of the AJC in an East
    Side church. That looked good for the cause. Then, at the Yankee
    Stadium Mass, the Pope's lector intoned a text beginning "for fear of
    the Jews." And on TV that sounded quite astonishing. Everywhere, there
    were speeches on the rises and falls of the Jewish declaration, many
    of them preparing for a final letdown. Lichten's executive
    vice-president, Rabbi Jay Kaufman, had told audiences of his own
    puzzlement "as the fate of the section on Jews is shuttled between
    momentary declaration and certain confutation, like a sparrow caught
    in a clerical badminton game." Shuster could hear about the same from
    the AJC. He could also hear the opposition. Not content with a
    weakened declaration, it again wanted the total victory of no
    declaration at all. For that, the Arabs' last words were "respectfully
    submitted" in a 28-page memorandum calling on the he bishops to save
    the faith from "communism and atheism and the Jewish-Communist
            In Rome, the bishops' vote was set for October 14, and to
    Lichten and Shuster, the prospects of anything better looked almost
    hopeless. Priests had slipped each a copy of the Secretariat's secret
    replies to the modifications the bishops wanted. The modi made
    disconsolate reading. In the old text, the Jewish origin of
    Catholicism was noted in a paragraph, beginning, "In truth, with a
    grateful heart, the Church of Christ acknowledges..." In the modi sent
    to the Secretariat, two bishops (but which two?) suggested that "with
    a grateful heart" be deleted. It could, they feared, be understood to
    mean that Catholics were required to give thanks to the Jews of today.
    "The suggestion is accepted," the Secretariat decided. The replies
    went that way for most of 16 pages. Through all of them, few reasons
    were advanced for taking the warmth out of the old text and making the
    new one more legal than humane.
             When Shuster and Lichten had finished reading, there were
    telephone calls to be made to the AJC and B'nai B'rith in New York.
    But these were not much help at either end. It was Higgins who first
    tried convincing two disheartened lobbyists to settle for what they
    would get. Yet for a day or two, Bishop Leven of San Antonio gave them
    hope. He thought the new statement was so weakened that the American
    bishops should vote en bloc against it. If followed, the tactic would
    have added a few hundred negative votes to the Arab-conservative side
    and marked the Council as so split that the Pope might not promulgate
    anything. The protest-vote tactic was soon abandoned. Lichten's
    remorse lasted longer. He sent telegrams to about 25 bishops he
    thought could still help retrieve the strong text. But again, it was
    Higgins who quietly told him to give up. "Look, Joe," the priest with
    the labor-lawyer manner told Lichten, "I understand your
    disappointment. I'm disappointed too." Then, he went off to console
            In his own room, where Higgins thinks he had Lichten and
    Shuster together for their first joint appearance in Rome, the priest
    could sound as if he were putting it straight to company men looking
    for a square shake from the union. "If you two give New York the
    impression you can get a better text, you are crazy," he told them.
    "Lay all your cards on the table. It's just insane to think by some
    pressures here or newspaper articles back in New York, you can work a
    miracle in the Council. You are not going to work it, and they will
    think you fell down on the job."
            Lichten remembers more. "Higgins said, 'Think how much harm
    can be done, Joe, if we allow these changes to erect barriers in the
    path we have taken for such a long time. And this may happen if your
    people, and mine, don't respond to the positive aspects.' That was the
    psychological turning point for me," Lichten said. Shuster was still
    unreconciled, and he can remember the day well. "I had to break my
    head and heart," he said, "to think what should be done. I went
    through a crisis, but I was convinced by Higgins. The loss of deicide,
    frankly, I did not consider a catastrophe. But 'deplore' for 'condemn'
    is another thing. When I step on your toes, you deplore what I do. But
    massacre? Do you deplore massacre?"
            A differing view was taken by Abbé René Laurentin, a Council
    staff man who wrote to all the bishops with a last-minute appeal to
    conscience. Of itself, the loss of the deicide denial would not have
    mattered to Laurentin either, if there would never be anti-Semitism in
    the world again. But since history invites pessimism in this,
    Laurentin asked the bishops to suppose that genocide might recur.
    "Then, the Council and the Church will be accused," he contended, "of
    having left dormant the emotional root of anti-Semitism which is the
    theme of deicide." Bishop Leven had wanted the word deicide torn out
    of the Christian vocabulary when he argued a year earlier for the
    stronger text. Now, the Secretariat had even torn it out of the
    declaration, and proscribed it from the Christian vocabulary so
    abruptly that even the proscription itself was suppressed. "With
    difficulty, one escapes the impression,' Laurentin wrote, "that these
    arguments owe something to artifice."
            Before the vote in St. Peter's, Cardinal Bea spoke to the
    assembled bishops. He said his Secretariat had received their modi
    "with grateful heart" - and the words just happened to be the very
    first ones deleted by his Secretariat's vote from the new version. A
    year earlier, Bea had argued for getting the deicide denial into the
    text, and now he was defending its removal. He spoke without zeal, as
    if he, too, knew he was asking the bishops for less than Jules Isaac
    and John XXIII might have wanted. Exactly 250 bishops voted against
    the declaration, while 1,763 supported it. Through much of the U.S.
    and Europe, the press minutes later made the complex simple with
            Glowing statements came from spokesmen of the AJC and B'nai
    B'rith, but each had a note of disappointment that the strong
    declaration had been diluted. Bea's friend Heschel was the harshest
    and called the Council's failure to deal with deicide "an act of
    paying homage to Satan." Later on, when calm, he was just saddened.
    "my old friend, the Jesuit priest Gus Weigel, spent one of the last
    nights of his life in this room," Heschel said. "I asked him whether
    he thought it would really be ad majorem Dei gloriam if there were no
    more synagogues, no more Seder dinners and no more prayers said in
    Hebrew?" The question was rhetorical, and Weigel has since gone to his
    grave. Other comments ranged from the elated to the satiric. Dr.
    William Wexler of the World Conference of Jewish Organizations tried
    for precision. "The true significance of the Ecumenical Council's
    statement will be determined by the practical effects it has on those
    to whom it is addressed," he said. Harry Golden of the Carolina
    Israelite called for a Jewish Ecumenical council in Jerusalem to issue
    a Jewish declaration on Christians.
            With his needling retort, the columnist was reflecting a view
    popular in the U.S. that some kind of forgiveness had been granted the
    Jews. The notion was both started and sustained by the press, but
    there was no basis for it in the declaration. What led quite
    understandably to it, however, was the open wrangling around the
    Council that had made the Jews seem on trial for four years. If the
    accused did not quite feel cleared when the verdict was in, it was
    because the jury was out far too long.
            It was out for reasons politicians understand but few thought
    relevant to religion. The present head of the Holy See, like the top
    man in the White House, believed deeply in pressing for a consensus
    when any touchy issue was put to a Council vote. By the principle of
    collegiality, in which all bishops help govern the whole Church, any
    real issue divided the college of bishops into progressives and
    conservatives. Reconciling them was the Pope's job. For this rub in
    the collegial process, the papal remedy, whether persuaded or imposed,
    played some hob with the law of contradiction. When one faction said
    Scripture alone was the source of Church teaching, the other held for
    the two sources of Scripture and Tradition. To bridge that break, the
    declaration was rewritten with Pauline touches to reaffirm the
    two-source teaching while allowing that the other merited study. When
    opponents of religious liberty said it would fly against the teaching
    that Catholicism is the One True Church, a similar solution trickled
    down from the Vatican's fourth floor. Religious liberty now starts
    with the One True Church teaching, which, according to some satisfied
    conservatives, contradicts the text that follows.
            The Jewish issue was an even more troublesome one for a
    consensus-maker. Those who saw a dichotomy in the declaration could
    find it in the New Testament, too, where all are agreed it will stay.
    But to what extent was that issue complicated by the politics of the
    Arabs? In Israel, there is the feeling since the vote, and in Mideast
    journals there is considerable evidence for it, that the masses of
    Arab Christians were more indifferent to dispute then the Scriptural
    conservatives would like known. By the Newtonian laws of political
    motion, pressure begets counterpressure more often than lobbyists like
    to admit. And one of the hypotheses that B'nai B'rith and the AJC must
    ponder is that much Arab resistance and some theological intransigence
    were creatures of Jewish lobbying. There was anxiety all along about
    that, and Nahum Goldmann cautioned Jews early to "not raise the issue
    with too much intensity." Some did not. After the vote, when Fritz
    Becker, the WJC's silent man, admitted he once called on Bea at home,
    he said the declaration was not mentioned. "We just talked, the
    Cardinal and I," Becker said, "about the advantages of not talking."
            There are Catholics close to what went on in Rome who think
    that Jewish energy did harm. Higgins, the social-action priest from
    Washington, D.C., is not one of them. If it had not been for the
    lobbying, he felt, the declaration would have been tabled. But in his
    usual gruff way, Cardinal Cushing said that the only people who could
    beat the Jewish declaration were the Jewish lobbyists. Father Tome
    Stransky, the touchy, young Paulist who rides a Lambretta to work at
    the Secretariat, thought that once the press got on to the Council
    there was no way to stop such pressure groups. If the Council could
    have deliberated in secret with no strainings from the outside, he
    thinks the declaration would have been stronger.
            As it stands, Stransky fears that some Catholics may gleefully
    pass it off as if it were written to and for Jews. "This, you have got
    to remember, is addressed to Catholics. This is Catholic Church
    business. I don't mind telling you I'd be insulted, too, if I were a
    Jew and I thought this document was speaking to Jews." For the
    Catholics, he thinks it is now written for its best effect.
            It was Stransky's superior in the Secretariat, Cardinal Bea,
    who came around most to the claims of the conservatives. Bea
    apparently realized fairly late that there were some Catholics, more
    pious than instructed, whose contempt for Jews was inseparable from
    their love for Christ. To be told by the Council that Jews were not
    Christ-killers would be too abrupt a turnabout for their faith. These
    were Catholicism's simple dogmatics. But there were many bishops at
    the Council who, if far less simple, were no less dogmatic. They felt
    Jewish pressure in Rome and resented it. They thought Bea's enemies
    were proved right when Council secrets turned up in American papers.
    "He wants to turn the Church over to the Jews," the hatemongers said
    of the old Cardinal, and some dogmatics in the Council thought the
    charge about right. "Don't say the Jews had any part in this," one
    priest said, "or the whole fight with the dogmatics will start over."
    Another, Father Felix Morlion at the Pro Deo University, who heads the
    study group working closely with the AJC, thought the promulgated text
    the best. "The one before had more regard for the sensitiveness of the
    Jewish people, but it did not produce the necessary clearness in the
    minds of Christians," he said. "In this sense, it was less effective
    even to the very cause of the Jewish people."
            Morlion knew just what the Jews did to get the declaration and
    why the Catholics had settled its compromise. "We could have beaten
    the dogmatics," he insisted. They could, indeed, but the cost would
    have been a split in the Church. END


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