From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Nostra Aetate: Good Friday reminders

(Good Friday intercessory prayers)
The goodness of Good Friday was historically enhanced with the adoption of Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”) by the Second Vatican Council on October 28, 1965.  The full title of this breakthrough document includes these words:  Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions.

This Declaration contains five major sections.  Section One emphasizes that all of humanity is but one family of God’s children.  Different religions are presented as vehicles for grappling with life’s ultimate questions. 

Section Two elaborates upon this communal approach by specifying that Hinduism, Buddhism and religions throughout the world “attempt in different ways to  overcome the restlessness in people’s hearts” via a reliance upon “doctrine, moral precepts, and sacred  rites.”  This section ends with a clear call for Christians to actively respect the “spiritual and moral truths,” as
well as the “social life and culture” of non-Christians.

Section Three concentrates upon the relationship between Christianity and Islam.  It begins with an affirmation of the Church’s high regard for Muslims.  It then details some commonalities of the two faiths:   worship of the same one God, submission to God’s will, veneration of Jesus and Mary, the importance of prayer, charity, and sacrifice.  Historical rifts are then acknowledged.  Immediately afterwards, there follows a plea for peace and mutual understanding.

Section Four goes on to finally tackle some centuries-old liturgical roots of anti-Semitism.  It begins with a remembrance of “the spiritual ties which link the people of the new covenant to the stock of Abraham.”  It continues with an acknowledgement of the gifts that Judaism has brought to Christianity:  the Ten Commandments, the patriarchs, the prophets, all the revelations of the “Old Testament” (Hebrew Bible).  It then references the apostle Paul, who repeatedly asserted that “the Jews remain very dear to God…”  Most importantly, Section Four declares:  Even though Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ (see Jn 19:6), neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his passion.

Section Five concludes the overall Declaration with these glorious reminders: all are created in God’s image; therefore, we cannot truly pray to God the Father of all if we treat any people as other than brothers and sisters…  


Copyright April 22, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment