Fourth & Final Session of Second Vatican Council Opens, Will Debate Religious Liberty Hot

Fourth & Final Session of Second Vatican Council Opens, Will Debate Religious Liberty

Pope Paul VI, 1975

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The fourth and final session of the Second Vatican Council opens, focusing on debates about religious liberty and the relationship between Christianity and other religions.

One of the first things that Pope Paul VI does is create the Synod of Bishops. He intended for it to ensure closer cooperation between the bishops and the pope after the Second Vatican Council, something that will be necessary in order to best implement all of the reforms which the council has been developing.

One of the most controversial and hotly debated documents to come out of the Second Vatican Council originates in this fourth session: Nostra Aetate, a rejection of the traditional belief that Jews at the time of Jesus and/or Jews today can or should be blamed for the death of Jesus:

"True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today.

Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures.

All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ.

Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone."

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The Second Vatican Council

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