While this announcement in the pope’s new book can’t erase centuries of abuse, persecution and anti-Semitism, people are still looking at it as another step in the right direction.
“There’s a natural human tendency to take things for granted, and very often this tends to lead to a lapse in awareness and consciousness” about the risk of anti-Semitism, said Rabbi David Rosen, head of interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Committee and a longtime leader in Vatican-Jewish dialogue.
He noted that the Vatican issued its most authoritative document on the issue in 1965. “Nostra Aetate” revolutionized the Catholic Church’s relations with Jews by saying Christ’s death could not be attributed to Jews as a whole at the time or today.
Rosen said the pope’s words might make a bigger, more lasting mark because the faithful tend to read Scripture and commentary more so than church documents, particularly old church documents.
That’s mostly because they’re more readily available to the masses that go to masses. Nobody’s ordered his new book for our library yet but I’m sure that day will come, and I’m sure we’ll order more than one of them. It might even get read by somebody. Saskatoon Catholics are in the process of building a new cathedral and they wouldn’t be doing that if they didn’t think they could fill it.