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Nostra Aetate and the Shoah (Holocaust), Anti-Semitism/Anti-Judaism, Supersessionism/Replacement Theory, Deicide condemnation, Jewish-Catholic relationship


This essay explores the reason the Catholic Church felt the need to release Nostra Aetate, specifically Article 4, and were they in fact successful. The intention to improve Catholic - Jewish relationship and to denounce anti-Judaism were primary. Christianity grew on the backs of centuries of anti-Judaism rhetoric expressed by Catholic Church leaders and anti-Jewish literature written by the Church fathers. All this negativity against the Jewish people contributed to the beginnings of anti-Semitism and purposely or inadvertently influenced the reality of the Shoah. These sentiments included the deicide condemnation of the Jewish people, the replacement theory or concept of supersessionism, and the Church’s continued attempts to evangelize the Jewish people proclaiming salvation only through Jesus Christ. Desecration of synagogues, hate messages against the Jewish people and violence against the Jewish nation continues up to this very day. Proposals by the United States National Catholic Bishops calling for critical changes in Church beliefs and teachings have not been realized. The intended transformative message of Nostra Aetate seems to be confined to theologians and scholars, unknown to Christian believers of our time. The pedagogy of the Crucifixion, and the hermeneutics of the blood cry must be rectified, otherwise we will keep encountering events that may very well lead us to another Holocaust. Unless Christians learn to read, understand, and interpret Scripture from the vantage point that Yeshua is, was and will always be a Jew, any path towards reconciliation between Christians and Jews, is very unlikely.