VATICAN CITY – The Catholic Church remains committed to deepening its relations with Jews and finds it “absolutely unacceptable” to consider the Jewish people as enemies, the Vatican spokesman said.

“It is absolutely unacceptable, impossible, to define the Jews as enemies of the Church,” Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi said.

In an audio recording posted on YouTube on Dec 30, the head of the traditionalist Society of St Pius X called the Jewish people “enemies of the Church”, saying Jewish leaders’ support of the Second Vatican Council “shows that Vatican II is their thing, not the Church’s”.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the society, said those most opposed to the Church granting canonical recognition to the traditionalist society have been “the enemies of the Church: the Jews, the Masons, the modernists”.

The remarks were made during a nearly two-hour talk on Dec 28 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy in New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada.

A press release on Jan 5 from the society’s US district said, “The word ‘enemies’ used here by Bishop Fellay is of course a religious concept and refers to any group or religious sect which opposes the mission of the Catholic Church and her efforts to fulfil it: the salvation of souls”.

The group said “this religious context” is based on Jesus telling the Pharisees in the Gospel of St Matthew: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

“By referring to the Jews, Bishop Fellay’s comment was aimed at the leaders of Jewish organisations, and not the Jewish people,” the statement said.

Fr Lombardi told CNS that the Second Vatican Council document Nostra Aetate described Christians and Jews as having a common heritage and a profound spiritual bond, and denounced any form of contempt of the Jews. n CNS

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