Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Nostra Aetate

The fortieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate came and went and no one really noticed, save a blogger or two.

My own view is that though Nostra Aetate was very important to Catholics, for Jews it was almost meaningless. By 1965 the Church, thank God, had no power, no influence, no ability and, quite possibly, no desire to hurt Jews anymore. The world had changed. Secularism and liberalism -two forces that have done much to improve the lives of Diaspora Jews -were on the rise, and where they held sway, Catholic anti-Semtisim was no longer tolerated.

Though, the Pope and her admirers imagine Nostra Aetate was revolutionary, the reality is different. Nostra Aetate was nothing but an attempt to recocile the Church to the outside world, a last-minute attempt to catch up with a liberal society that was leaving it behind.

With Nostra Aetate the church didn't lead. It followed. And, as usual it offered the Jews too little, too late.

Here's R. Yitzchok Adlerstan discussing Nostra Aetate on Cross Currents. I don't think he disagrees with me, and he's right when he says that Nostra Aetate changed the church. The mistake is assuming that the church changed out of benevolance. They didn't. They changed because the old formula wasn't working anymore, and because disgusted Catholics were abandoning the ship.