(Jewish-Christian Relations.Net) Many Catholics are aware that Vatican II signified the overt Jewish takeover of the Church — but what many don’t realize is that the actual documents of Nostra Aetate were written by a rabbi, along with Jews who had recently “converted” to Catholicism — and that they used their unshakeable belief in the co-called Holocaust™ as the impetus to shame and manipulate the Vatican into accepting their radical revision of Church dogma vis a vis “The Jews”.
On the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, liberal Catholic academic Joshua Furnal published the essay, “Abraham Joshua Heschel and Nostra Aetate: Shaping the Catholic Reconsideration of Judaism during Vatican II” which detailed — if not celebrated — the Jewish hand in the writing of Nostra Aetate — from without at the behest of Rabbi Abraham Heschel — and from within by the Zionist converso Jews — notably John Oesterreicher — and not mentioned in the article — Gregory Baum, and Bruno Hussar.
Rabbi Abraham Heschel
Rabbi Abraham Heschel was a “radical” Talmudic Jew born in Poland — and claimed many of his family members were “murdered” by the “Nazis — before fleeing to the U.S. where he became a leading figure of many subversive movements such as the Civil Rights Movement and anti-Vietnam demonstrations. He became a “close friend” and “secret” confidant to the Jesuit Cardinal Bea — and he made it clear to him and many others that he’d rather die in the mythical “Gas Chambers” at Auschwitz than convert to Christianity:
“As I have repeatedly stated to leading personalities of the Vatican, I am ready to go to Auschwitz any time, if faced with the alternative of conversion or death.”
“Coincidentally” Cardinal Bea’s personal secretary was none other than the notorious Malachi Martin — a crypto-Jew and subversive, defrocked “Irish” priest and blackmailer who was working as a spy on behalf of Rabbi Heschel and the American Jewish Committee to steer the debates about Nostra Aetate in their favor.
Afterwards, Rabbi Heschel would brag,
“Have you noticed that what was introduced into the final text of the declaration [Nostra Aetate] is in the spirit of the words that I suggested to the Pope?”–from the book Spiritual Radical: Abraham Joshua Heschel in America, 1940-1972 by Edward Kaplan, p. 273
Born in Moravia, John Oesterreicher converted to Catholicism and became a priest — and in the 1930s engaged in anti-Nazi activities in Austria while his parents were interned at Theresienstadt and Auschwitz where they allegedly died — before fleeing to the U.S. where he set up the the Institute of Judaeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University.
In 1965 Oesterricher wrote the essay “Auschwitz, the Christian and the Council” in which he conceded that while “some Jews” were, in fact, involved in the killing of Christ, not all Jews for all time should be blamed for it — and used the alleged Gas Chamber myth at Auschwitz to elevate their status as “martyrs”. He also makes the outlandish claim that the “Nazis” didn’t hate the Jews for killing Christ per se — but rather hated the Jews for giving the world Jesus Christ, whom the “Nazis” allegedly hated — because He stood in their way for “world domination.”
“After Auschwitz the Christian churches no longer wish to convert the Jews. While they may not be sure of the theological grounds that dispense them from this mission, the churches have become aware that asking the Jews to become Christians is a spiritual way of blotting them out of existence and thus only reinforces the effects of the Holocaust.”
Born in Egypt to Jewish parents, Bruno Hussar converted to Catholicism and became a priest in France before moving to Israel after the war where he set up different organizations to promote Jewish-Catholic “dialogue.” Of his confused identity, Hussar wrote,
“I feel I have four selves: I really am a Christian and a Priest, I really am a Jew, I really am an Israeli and if I don’t feel I really am an Egyptian, I do at least feel very close to the Arabs who I know and love.”
It’s no wonder that these types of converso Jews have been “pricks” in the eyes and “thorns” in the sides of the Catholic Church from its very beginning.
And yet mindbogglingly, the Catholic Church still prays for their conversion — blindly ignoring the destruction within the Church that the Jews have repeatedly wrought — the foundation of the Jesuit Order, the Inquisition, the granting of “indulgences” and easing of usury laws, and their death knell — Vatican II.
And it’s hard to imagine that the Catholic Church — at the highest levels — was not aware that the Jewish claims about the so-called Holocaust were gross exaggerations of their “suffering” during World War II — they are on record as not believing outrageous Jewish claims about the Warsaw uprising.
And the fact that the Catholic Church helped many accused “Nazis” — such as Josef Mengele — escape Allied persecution after the end of the war to the safety of South America would suggest that the Church was well-aware that the accusations against these surrendered German soldiers were motivated by political retribution and propaganda rather than based in reality.
Since Jewish identity is now predicated on “antisemitism” culminating the Big Lie of the Holocaust, it raises the question — can a Jew who believes in the Holocaust ever truly give up his Jewish identity and sincerely convert to Christianity — a faith that is based on the Truth?
We saw this conflict in the “conversion” of the Jew Roy Schoeman to Catholicism — like the converso Jews mentioned above — his conversion is still deeply intertwined with Jewish Holocaust “victims” at the hands of “antisemites” — and it’s that victimhood that makes them somehow identify with Jesus “as a Jew.”
That said, here we present a section of Joshua Furnal’s essay on the outsized roles played by Rabbi Heschel and the converso Jew John Oestrreicher in the writing of Nostra Aetate at the Vatican II Council:
…After the War in 1959, as Pope John XXIII, he removed the anti-Jewish language from the Good Friday liturgy (perfidia Iudaica). One year later, John XXIII set up the possibility for an official document on Catholic-Jewish relations to be formulated, appointing Cardinal Augustin Bea to oversee the Secretariat for Christian Unity and charging him to draft the document. Bea was a renowned Hebrew Bible scholar — the rector of the Biblicum — and the confessor of Pope Pius XII. However, we need to attend to Bea’s efforts during this time period to break out of the Curia’s insular mindset because it often involved relying upon Jewish scholars, and especially Rabbi Heschel….
…One detail that is suppressed in [Gavin] D’Costa’s account [Vatican II: Catholic Doctrines on Jews and Muslims (2014)] of the formulation of Nostra Aetate is the important role played by the philosopher and theologian, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–1972). It is necessary to appreciate the role of Rabbi Heschel, especially since some scholars, like D’Costa, have reduced the contribution that Heschel made during this time merely to providing Catholics with feedback about how Jewish people felt.
Yet, without Rabbi Heschel it is doubtful that Nostra Aetate would have taken the shape that it did. After Heschel’s rightful protest, the final version of Nostra Aetate did not include the earlier proselytizing remarks regarding the conversion of the Jewish people as the Christian hope.
In August 1961, Cardinal Bea set up his first commission to identify the relevant dogmatic, moral, and liturgical principles to make concrete proposals toward the formulation of Nostra Aetate.
By November, Bea was already in conversation with Rabbi Heschel because Heschel had supplied Bea with a draft of what should be involved regarding any Catholic declaration on Jewish people—namely, a condemnation of any accusation of Jews killing God (deicide), and to drop all references to Jewish people joining the Church.
For Heschel, the problem was not that Judaism was incompatible with Christianity, but rather that the proselytizing claims of the Church were at odds with the integrity of the shared spiritual heritage of Judaism and Christianity. This fact in the timeline is often neglected.
For instance, in his commentary on Nostra Aetate, John Oesterreicher explicitly says that the American Jewish Committee and Abraham Joshua Heschel in particular, “deserve mention, even though [political initiatives] took place at a later stage, and had no influence to speak of on the discussion of the Council Declaration or the form of its text”.
Oesterreicher’s report is misleading because as a representative of the American Jewish Committee, Heschel was already in conversation with Bea since 1961. Indeed, Rabbi Heschel was a close friend of Cardinal Bea and Willebrands, and scholars have documented Heschel’s influence leading up to the final form of Nostra Aetate. This took shape in May 1962, when Rabbi Heschel sent a Memorandum to Cardinal Bea outlining the proposed agenda for a meeting with specific proposals for improving the cause for reconciliation between Jews and Catholics:
(1) a full condemnation of anti-Semitism, and any teachings that hold Jews responsible for deicide as sinful.
(2) a full recognition of holiness and faithfulness to the Torah be accorded to Judaism as a distinct feature of Jewish identity that should be preserved and celebrated today.
(3) to maximize efforts to mutually enhance religious literacy among Christians and Jews, through public discussions, research projects, and publications.
(4) that a high-level commission be put together at the Vatican regarding Christian-Jewish relations.
In his official commentary, Oesterreicher reproduces Heschel’s “demands” from the May 1962 memo in a footnote, but provides no comment on the contribution of this external, ”secular”, and Jewish element in the formulation of Nostra Aetate. Heschel’s influence is reflected implicitly in the way Oesterreicher reports that despite Cardinal Bea’s attempts to keep this wording in the council document, it was eventually dropped in the final draft.
Between 28–31 August 1960, a group of scholars gathered in Apeldoorn that was comprised of Anton Ramselaar (Katholieke Raad voor Israel), Karl Thieme (Freiburger Rundbrief), Paul Demann (Cahiers Sioniens), Jean Roger (Oeuvre de St. Jacques), and Oesterreicher (The Bridge). For Oesterreicher’s narrative, it was this group that “formed the prophetic element that over the years prepared a place in the Church, intellectually and spiritually, emotionally and theologically, for the Council Declaration of which they too as yet knew nothing”.
Later, Oesterreicher presents himself as offering an important position paper in Ariccia on 6–21 April 1961 that refocuses the discussion upon the exegetical insights of Romans 9–11. It is at this point in the story that Oesterreicher begins to insert himself into the plot as an implicit representative of the Church’s eschatological aims.
The buffered Vatican mindset during this time is repeated in Oesterreicher’s commentary, which creates a narrative that stresses the theological nature of Council deliberations so as to downplay any political maneuvers behind the scenes.
The stated reason for this apolitical strategy was to deflect any negative interpretations by Arab governments of a perceived Vatican endorsement of the State of Israel and its political agenda.
However, Cardinal Bea was in conversation with important Jewish voices during this time. For instance, Bea flew to New York to meet privately with Rabbi Heschel at the American Jewish Committee on 31 March 1963 to discuss with Heschel and some others “the basic issues of Jewish concern” regarding Vatican II. In advance of the meeting on 7 March, Heschel had sent to Bea a revised version of his memo from the year before.
One notable difference in this version was how Heschel drew to the Cardinal’s attention the need to condemn ‘sins against charity”—that is, “attributing the worst possible motive” to the intentions of any human being based upon ‘superficial evidence [and] generalizations”.
The timing of this private meeting between Bea and Heschel was crucial because the issues needed to be addressed before 8 September 1963 when the council reconvened. The meeting was meant to last 90 minutes. It was reported to have lasted three hours.
Bea returned to Rome with a new draft of the Council document — significantly influenced by the issues that Heschel brought to his attention. But by 1964, Heschel’s memo had been heavily redacted and the penultimate draft had removed the condemnation of proselytism, which was leaked to the New York Times and Herald Tribune (12 June 1964).
Because of the controversy surrounding this document, all things looked like this document would be thrown out of the Council process altogether. So Heschel went to the press and he made headlines in Time Magazine (11 September 1964) where he is quoted as saying “As I have repeatedly stated to leading personalities of the Vatican, I am ready to go to Auschwitz any time, if faced with the alternative of conversion or death”.
It has been said that after Heschel met with Pope Paul VI, the Pope crossed out the line of text with his own pen.