The treatment of the Jewish community in Europe by Christians has a long and dark history. Accountability for the role that anti-Jewish teaching played in fostering an environment in which the Holocaust could take place was sought by Jewish leaders when Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council in 1959. It took over five years of political intrigue, media attention, lobbying and debate before the statement was promulgated on October 28, 1965 under the name Nostra Aetate (In Our Time). This historic document repudiated anti-semitism, acknowledged the foundational theological contribution made by Judaism to the Church, rejected supercessionist teaching that the Church had replaced Israel as God's covenant community, and affirmed that the Jewish people are “held most dear” by God as members of a valid and irrevocable divine covenant. This represented a fundamental shift in the Roman Catholic Church's attitude towards Judaism that has provided the basis for fruitful dialogue and for pastoral initiatives within the Church over the past fifty years. This discussion will consider the traditional Church attitudes towards Judaism that were rejected in Nostra Aetate, the factors that influenced its drafting, the underlying controversies and debates, and its significance today.
The Rev. Dr. Harold Shepherd is an ordained minister in the Anglican Church with degrees in Biblical studies (B.A., M.A. and Ph.D.), law (J.D. and LL.M.), Protestant theology (S.T.M., McGill), Roman Catholic theology (M.T.S., St. Michael's College), and a diploma from the French Biblical and Archeological School in Jerusalem. He is currently enrolled in the doctoral program at Regis College in the University of Toronto in the area of Jewish-Roman Catholic relations after having written a Master's thesis in this area. In addition to experience in Anglican parish ministry, he has worked as a lawyer in private practice, the executive director of a refugee resettlement agency, an officer with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and with the Canada Border Services Agency, and as an adjudicator with the Immigration and Refugee Board's Immigration Division.
Sponsor: First Narayever Congregation