Towards the very end of the final session of the Second Vatican Council, the document Nostra Aetate,
the “Declaration on the Church’s Relation to Non-Christian Religions,”
received definitive approval from the Council Fathers meeting in Rome. At the heart of the declaration is the relationship of the Church to the Jewish people, “the descendants of Abraham” (NA 4).The approved text of the “Declaration on the Church’s Relation to
Non-Christian Religions” promulgated on 28 October 1965 was intended to
put an end to every form of anti-Semitism within Christianity and to
express the Church’s acknowledgment of its own Jewish roots. The Declaration shows that, on the basis of sound biblical and
historical arguments, the Church was able to set aside centuries of
traditional animosity towards the Jews, and also to create a space for
genuine interreligious dialogue more broadly.
It was fitting then that the International Council of Christians and
Jews (ICCJ) should hold its 2015 Conference in Rome to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that landmark document, Nostra Aetate.