Jacques Maritain Center : On the Church of Christ


A Look at History

To speak broadly of the failures and of the errors of the personnel of the Church without saying clearly of what one is thinking would be, I believe, to fail in a duty of intellectual honesty. On the other hand, the slightest discussion of historical detail entails endless developments, incompatible with a book like this. I do not experience besides any pleasure in dwelling on a subject which recalls only too well the wounds left in us by the old Adam (as does history in general, history "with the hideous visage," as Julian Green says, history in which I also see "the nightmare of humanity"{1} in travel). I shall limit myself therefore, in this chapter and in the two following ones, to the analysis (impossible, alas, to make it as brief as I would have wished) of a small number of typical examples which I have grouped as best I could.


The Crusade and Its Executants

1. The crusade was an idea which, in itself, was pure, but, in actual fact, was immediately invaded and stained by an impure idea. If one turns toward those who preached it, toward a St. Bernard for example, and toward those who assumed the chief responsibility of the enterprise (Urban II,{2} and the Popes who succeeded him in the course of three centuries), and if one thinks of the extraordinary élan of faith which gave birth to the latter, it is the pure idea which one sees first, as also the noblest religious motives, accompanied by temporal solicitudes themselves very noble, and by those great dreams of political wisdom -- as activating as they are utopian -- of which men have such a great need (to unify the Christian republic -- in other words, the Europe of the Christian princes and of their sordid rivalries -- for a supranational generous goal): let us not forget that the regime of mediaeval civilization was a sacral regime, in which the political is the ally and the instrument of the sacred. From the point of view, -- itself utopian, -- which I have just indicated, the history of the Crusades appears as a splendid epic.

But from the point of view of the reality of the facts, and considering the executants, this same history can appear only as at one and the same time heroic and terribly stained. In actual fact, the memories which the Franks left where they passed are those of their violence and of their exactions. In order to inaugurate the latter there had been the massacre of the Jewish colonies of the German cities by the unorganized popular bands which followed Peter the Hermit, and the havocs to which they had devoted themselves in the East. Other exactions were not lacking afterwards with the regular armies; pillages, rapes, massacres sometimes worse than those committed by the Mohammedans (such as the horrible massacre which followed the storming of Jerusalem in 1099: the blood of the massacred prisoners rose even to the knees of the horses{3}), -- all of this is the lot of man unleashed in war. The "great white barbarians" did not go at it with dead hand in the matter of pillage and of brutality, and of the sacking of the treasures of a refined civilization. They excited the horror of the Islamic populations and caused them to hate the name of Christ; they insulted the Christians of the Greek rite; and what remains of the Crusades in the mind of numerous Christian Arabs of today, as of their Mohammedan compatriots, is the idea of an imperialist enterprise ferociously conducted by the West.

2. Louis Bréhier{4} remarks that the crusade of Louis VII and of Conrad III, launched by St. Bernard and Pope Eugene III, "had no other result than to augment the hatred between the Greeks and the Occidentals." St. Bernard had intrepidly opposed the pogrom which threatened to annihilate all the Jews of the Rhineland when a populace inflamed by the crusade had wished to show how it also knew how to serve God. But St. Bernard was not in the East in order to evangelize those whom he had sent there in the name of the Almighty. After him, there was the unforgettable testimony of St. Francis of Assisi at Damiette, -- the arms of his crusade were the word and love, and he succeeded in entering into the city and in having himself led into the presence of the Sultan of Egypt Malik-al Kâmil in order to tell him that he was ready to undergo the ordeal by fire,{5} refused formerly by the Christians; this conversation, cordial and courteous on both sides, took place three months before the capture of Damiette by the Crusaders (5th of November, 1219) and the pillage which followed, "so ferocious and so terrible" that Joergensen{6} sees in it the work of "wild beasts."

St. Bernard, St. Francis. . . . One will ask perhaps: And the high personnel of the Church? Did it raise its protest against the exactions of which I have spoken, and which dishonored the Cross? In the books which I have read I have found mention of the regret, expressed by Innocent III, of being constrained to shed blood.{7} But not a word, as far as I know, was uttered concerning the massacres and other excesses of which the Crusaders rendered themselves guilty. Valiant hearts without reproach, were they not, since they were (according to the common opinion) the instruments of the Church? -- They were absolutely not the instruments of the Church, they were the missioned ones of the Popes of the Middle Ages, -- whose intentions they betrayed. And these Popes themselves were in nowise the voice of the Church (in the whole affair, nothing, of course, which was said ex cathedra), they acted as proper cause invested with the highest authority in the Church of the earth: it is still the personnel of the Church which we have here before our eyes. The person of the Church, -- it remained to her to weep, and to do penance for so many sinful missioned ones.

The Holy War

3. A still more grave omission concerns the idea of the holy war. It was necessary to wait for John XXIII and the general teaching of Vatican II for it to find itself ipso facto placed under interdict, and chased finally from the obscure subsoils where the phantoms of the past lie in the soul. Up until then I do not see that the high personnel of the Church did anything in order to prevent the Christian conscience from being contaminated by the idea of the holy war, impure idea which poisoned centuries of history, and which is in itself an outrageous insult to the Gospel. To James and John asking Him for the authorization to cause the fire of Heaven to descend on a city which refused to receive Him, Jesus answered these frightful words: "You do not know of what manner of spirit you are," adding: "The Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."{8}

The pure idea of the crusade was invaded and stained from the outset by the impure idea of the holy war. In order to understand how this phenomenon too naturally occurred, I shall have recourse to a letter of St. Bernard to the Bishop of Spires,{9} in which, addressing himself to the "warlike natures," he says to them: "Why turn your zeal or rather your fury against the Jews? They are the living images of the Passion of the Savior. It is not permitted to persecute them or to massacre them, or even to expel them. . . . It is not they whom it is necessary to strike, but the Gentiles. These latter ones took the offensive.{10} It is fitting that those who bear the sword respond to violence by violence." It is the notion of the just war which is here in play (notion morally well founded), -- and of the just war haloed by the love of Christ; such is, according as it is allowable to disengage it from this text, the pure idea of the crusade.

But in the same letter there are other lines: "Admire," St. Bernard writes, "the abysses of His mercy. Is it not an exquisite invention and one worthy of Him to admit into His service murderers, plunderers, adulterers, perjurers and so many other criminals and to offer them by this means an occasion of salvation? Have confidence, sinners, God is good." Dangerous lines;{11} St. Bernard, carried away by his utopian idealism, did not see that the conclusion drawn by the sinners would be quite simply: "Let us kill therefore the infidels, it is the easy and sure means to gain paradise." He did not see that what he wrote opened the door to the idea of the holy war: war in order to chastize and to subjugate the infidels, or in order to convert them by force, or in order to defend by violence the faith threatened by the errors which they spread and by their arguments in controversy, even by their sole existence. He did not see that the very loftiness of the religious motive which inspired the crusade, -- to deliver the Holy Places from the hands of the Mohammedans, -- ran the risk, if one was not very careful, of effacing the sole reason (to reply by violence to one who has used it first) by which a war can be morally justified. In actual fact this moral consideration was immediately forgotten, and the idea of the crusade confused with that of the holy war. Anxiety about the just war was not the affair of the Barons. They thought only of conquering the Holy Places in order to cause them to pass into the power of the Christians, and of gaining their salvation by triumphing over the infidels and by shedding blood for God. When Humbert of Romans defended the crusade, it was the idea of the holy war in its naked extravagance which he exalted. The Mohammedan nation was summa culpabilis. War against it was commanded by divine authority. Its combatants were the army of God, and the sword of the Church{12}. . . .

4. The crusade of St. Louis was the last crusade properly so called. But from the eleventh to the sixteenth century the wars of the Spaniards against the Moors were a long crusade. And there were many other "crusades," in France against the Albigenses, in Bohemia against the Hussites, -- one could extend the list. All of them conveyed the idea of the holy war. This idea played a role of psychological ferment -- on the two sides -- in the wars of religion of the sixteenth century. At the beginning of the present century it reappeared openly in the Spanish Civil War;{13} "blessed be the cannons," a bishop said then,{14} "if in the breaches which they open the Gospel flourishes." Under attenuated forms it had continued during a half dozen centuries to make its way in the subconscious of history; -- without speaking of the secret stimulation which it had exercised in the choice of certain means of force and of constraint with a view to vanquishing the enemy, the unorthodox one.

The last crusade properly so called was the least stained. It was the pure idea of the crusade which inhabited the mind and the heart of St. Louis, and this great king (the sole great king in the history of France) conducted his crusade with pure hands. Did he not have however to accept a final purification? He died of the plague off Tunis (25th of August, 1270).

However fruitful in results per accidens they may have been for the West and for its culture the Crusades, as regards their essential aim, were a total failure. It does not seem that Providence wished to sanction the holy war and to seem to excuse the sins of the Crusades.

"God wills it!" shouted those who received the cross and attached it to their clothing. May I be permitted a short digression on this.

The will of God is inscrutable. The sole events which we know to be purely willed by Him are the miracles which He performs Himself, and the actions accomplished by Jesus and by Mary. In good theology it is necessary to make, it seems to me, a distinction between the pure will of God and, I do not say the mere permission given (which concerns only evil), but what I shall call conjointly His will-permission, will which "countersigns" or marks "good for the event" that in which the free will of man, and that of the devil, have also their part. For its divine purposes, then, the will of God says yes to what is going to happen in history. This is why Leon Bloy said: "All that which happens is adorable." But that which happens on earth is very often frightful.

In Heaven there is no will-permission; it is the pure will of God which alone is done there. To tell the truth, in the third petition of the Lord's Prayer (Thy will "on earth as it is in Heaven," -- as in Heaven!) Jesus, in order that we may be simply Christians, has us ask God for the impossible. Through this petition itself we separate ourselves from the world, bear witness that, like Him, we are not of this world.

God wills it! God willed (willed-permitted) the Crusades as an event of this world, and terribly of this world, not as a thing willed by His pure will. This is a distinction which Humbert of Romans did not make.


The Teaching of St. Paul Concerning the Chosen People

1. The mystery of Israel is inseparable from the mystery of the Church.

The Jewish people, and this is its glory, will always be suspect to the nations of the earth: because it is the chosen people, awaited through all the sufferings of history by Him from whom it turned away and to whom it is always beloved, and of whom the gifts are without repentance; the people of Moses and of the prophets, the people from whom Christ is descended, and from whom salvation comes, salus ex Judaeis est. There is here enough to excite the jealousy of people, of whatever strand they may be, and even if they are atheists.

One does not condemn a people for a judicial crime committed by a few at a given moment. St. Paul does not reproach the Jews for the putting to death of Jesus, a work, as to the second causes at play in history, of a high priest, of a band of Pharisees and of a Roman procurator of that time. Moreover, and as to the First Cause, Jesus had come in order to die thus, and He willed himself to give His life in order to take away the sin of the world. St. Paul reproaches the Jews for being deaf to the Good News and for refusing the crucified Redeemer.

With regard to Israel he has words both harsh and full of love. What does he say in the Epistle to the Romans? (One will excuse these too long quotations, I believe them necessary.)

9, 1. "My conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit that there is great grief and constant pain in my heart. Indeed, I could even wish to be separated from Christ{15} for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen the Israelites. Theirs were the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the law-giving, the worship, and the promises; theirs were the patriarchs, and from them came the Messiah (I speak of his human origins). Blessed forever be God who is over all!"

9, 18. "God has mercy on whom he wishes, and whom he wishes he makes obdurate. . . ." 30. "How, then, shall we put it? That the Gentiles, who were not seeking justice, attained it -- the justice which comes from faith -- while Israel, seeking a law from which justice would come, did not arrive at that law? And why did it not? Because justice comes from faith, not from works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. . . ."

10, 19. "First of all, Moses says, 'I will make you jealous of those who are not even a nation; with a senseless nation I will make you angry.' Then Isaiah says boldly, 'I was found by those who were not seeking me; to those who were not looking for me I revealed myself.' But of Israel he says, 'All day long I stretched out my hands to an unbelieving and contentious people.'"

11, 1. "I ask, then, has God rejected his people? Of course not! . . . God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew."{16}

11. "I further ask, does their stumbling mean that they are forever fallen? Not at all! Rather, by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles to stir Israel to envy. But if their transgression and their diminishing have meant riches for the Gentile world, how much more their full number! . . ." 15. "For if their 'being set aside' [Tr.] has meant reconciliation for the world, what will their acceptance mean? Nothing less than life from the dead!"

What does this "being set aside" (apobolê) mean, which is not at all a rejection?{17} It is, I think, a 'being set aside' in the history of the redemption. As long as they do not believe in Christ, the Jews are no longer members of the Body dedicated to the work of redemption, and which is henceforth the Church. But that the "true Israel" is henceforth the Church of Christ, and that the ancient Israel placed itself aside from the history of salvation, this does not mean in any way that God would have revoked the vocation and the election of this people, which are "without repentance," and therefore for always. In other words, the Church alone is henceforth the people of God, according as these words signify the people actually committed to the redemption of the world. But Israel remains for ever the people of God, according as these words signify that, even unfaithful to its mission, it is ever called and ever chosen, ever "beloved because of the patriarchs."

11, 16. "If the first fruits are consecrated," St. Paul continues, "so too is the whole mass of dough, and if the root is consecrated, so too are the branches. If some of the branches were cut off and you, a branch of the wild olive tree, have been grafted in among the others and have come to share in the rich root of the olive, do not boast against the branches. If you do boast, remember that you do not support the root; the root supports you . . . ." 23. "And if the Jews do not remain in their unbelief they will be grafted back on, for God is able to do this. If you were cut off from the natural wild olive and, contrary to nature, were grafted into the cultivated olive, so much the more will they who belong to it by nature be grafted into their own olive tree."

25. "Brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery lest you be conceited: blindness has come upon part of Israel until the full number of Gentiles enter in, and then all Israel will be saved.

28. "In respect to the Gospel, the Jews are enemies of God for your sake; in respect to the election, they are beloved by him because of the patriarchs. God's gifts and his call are irrevocable."

30. "Just as you were once disobedient to God and now have received mercy through their disobedience, so they have become disobedient -- since God wished to show you mercy -- that they too may receive mercy. God has imprisoned all in disobedience that he might have mercy on all."{18}

2. St. Paul did not foresee all the horror of the long persecutions which his people was to suffer. It is for the mind a terrifying mystery to think that all of this was permitted by God. Does an old vagabond without title have the right to express an idea on this? I think that in a unique will-permission God enveloped at one and the same time the obstinate fidelity of Israel to the awaiting, to the nonaccomplished, and this abandonment to the rage of men and to that of the demons which were in themselves the fruit of the refusal opposed to the Chosen One by the chosen people, after the death on the Cross: for it is a law of the order of the universe that every tree bears its fruit, and in not willing Christ it is the abandonment of which I have just spoken that Israel willed without knowing it. It is odious to say, but I believe that this is true: it has had that which it willed, this people whom God loves ever because of its fathers, and whom He has never ceased to love, and whom He awaits with what immense desire, and with the tears of whom He has made through the centuries pure jewels in Heaven.

God is not a furious lover Who takes to hating the one whom He loved and who has betrayed Him. It is to blaspheme Him to think that His hate and His malediction have fallen upon Israel and that He has revenged Himself on it like an insulted man.{19} He has respected, as He does always, the order of the universe, He has let the tree of obstinacy bear its fruit. But in loving more than ever Israel persecuted, and in sympathizing with all His love in its sufferings.

Christian Antiquity

3. In the course of the first century it was the Jews who persecuted the Christians.{20} And it was the fierce opposition of the princes of the priests, detesting that which they held to be an impious sect, which decidedly released that expansion of the Gospel to all the Gentiles which God wanted, and which had been prefigured by the Baptism of the Centurion Cornelius.

It is not surprising that the Christians kept an unpleasant memory of these persecutions. From this to becoming themselves persecutors, and to hating the Jewish people, there was a world.

One would err greatly if one took for hate really present in the heart all that which the Fathers of the Church were able to say against the Jews, even those who spoke of them in the most insulting manner. They were oratorical violences, due to the confrontation of two opposite proselytisms, and one knows that there is no more virulent eloquence than that which displays itself in religious quarrels: in actual fact one was in an immense spiritual battle, in which no one spared blows, and of which the stake was the fate of humanity and eternal life.

The Jews, in the first centuries, still enjoyed a great prestige, one admired their knowledge, and one kept mutual attachments, for in the Christian community the proportion of converts from Israel remained the largest. For the Fathers it was a question above all of averting the dangers arising for the faith from this mixture of customs and of beliefs which one calls Judeo-Christianity.{21} If St. John Chrysostom treated the synagogues as brothels,{22} and if St. Jerome, in a phrase unworthy of him (who owed so much to the rabbis), declared that if there was occasion to hate men and to detest a people, the Jewish people in its synagogues of Satan would be for him the object of a choice hatred,{23} I see there only strayings of polemics and verbal rages. They went nevertheless a little too far. Those of the Fathers of the Church who succumbed to them did not suspect that without wishing it they were opening the door to abominable ideas which under another historical and social climate were to invade the common consciousness in the beautiful periods of the Christian Middle Ages.

4. There had been for a long time a Jewish colony at Rome; others in Spain and in the south of Gaul. The Diaspora which followed the ruin of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in the year 70 was more important; a great many Jews passed then through Asia Minor in order to disperse in Europe, toward the East, toward the North, toward the West.

Without forgetting that chronological divisions are always more or less arbitrary, let us say that during a first phase, of about three hundred years (end of the Roman Empire, in other words "Christian antiquity"), the condition of the Jews of Europe differed little from that of their contemporaries. For the Roman law the Jewish religion was religio licita; and in 313 the Edict of Milan prescribed religious liberty. Religious controversy was lively on the two sides, but except for the struggle against the Judeo-Christianity conducted by the Fathers and the episcopate in order to preserve the faith of the converts, no grave element of discord in the social domain and the ordinary course of life disturbed the relations between Jews and Christians.

It is true that the conversion of Constantine, about 323, marked the beginning of a radical change in the situation of the Jews of the Diaspora as in the history of the world. Christianity became a religion of State, and the jurists also were going to employ themselves in defending the Christians against the Jewish attraction.

5. There will come soon the sacral regime in which religious faith did not constitute the body politic, as in the theocratic regimes, but in which it was the highest value recognized in the body politic, and asked (not without sometimes very lively resistances on the side of the princes) to rule and to move from above the social-temporal. In itself, the internal logic of the sacral regime tends to exclude or to subject the dissident. The Jews were therefore destined to become strangers on both religious and civil grounds, alienigenae whose presence was an affair of tolerance, not of right,{24} and who could enjoy only privileges graciously granted, and always revocable.

But the internal logic of a regime is slow to unfold, and the morals of people slower still to improve if they were bad or to deteriorate if they were good. There were needed the miseries of the whole of the High Middle Ages in order for the frustrations caused by them and the furious need of a scapegoat to give birth, by means of the rhetoric of the lower clergy, to a sordid religious hate in a Christian people composed henceforth almost entirely of the descendants of baptized pagans still half barbarian.

The High Middle Ages

One can start, approximately, from the second half of the fifth century (St. Augustine, who died in 430, is as it were the hinge), the second phase of the history of the Jewish Diaspora in Europe: a phase which lasted until the time of the first crusade, in other words, which occupied the whole of the High Middle Ages.

After the invasion of the barbarians the sacral regime which characterizes the Middle Ages is going to install itself. The Jews, already numerous in Spain, in Italy and in Gaul, and spreading little by little in Europe, will have from that time onwards the status of strangers (easily suspect at the same stroke to the common people) in a Christendom which expands and becomes stronger in the midst of tempests. During the period of which I speak they were often molested more or less gravely by Christian proselytism, while the abominable idea indicating in the Jew as such the enemy of Christ and the accursed one of God made little by little its tenebrous way in the uncultivated mass. But it is only at the beginning of the eleventh century that hatred and persecution will begin to break loose against them. Already however Baptism imposed by constraint or the threat of banishment was to become, especially in Spain, a frequent practice, in spite of the condemnation of forced Baptism by St. Gregory the Great{25} and Isidore of Seville. Nevertheless in this second phase of their history the Jews knew long respites,{26} and were not, in spite of the jurists, the object of a systematic discrimination in social relations. One had not entirely forgotten that they were the elder race.

It is very remarkable that then an authentically human convivium remained, in spite of all, normal between Jews and Christians. As Bernhard Blumenkranz has brought to light,{27} the relations of good neighbourliness were "greatly facilitated by the fact that, outside of religion, no important factor differentiated the Jews from the non-Jews: neither the language spoken, nor the professions exercised, nor the places of habitation. In a positive manner, good neighbourliness manifested itself by the armed service rendered in common, by familiar contacts in daily life, by frequent intellectual exchanges."{28} The missionary competition continues however, ardent on the two sides,{29} as also the religious polemics, accompanied "by intellectual exchanges pursued in a disinterested and gratuitous manner, instigated by the sole thirst to know," and attesting in a brilliant manner "the intellectual vitality of the High Middle Ages."{30}

The Jews are hawkers, merchants (who know the route to the Orient, and whom the ecclesiastical dignitaries appreciate very much), doctors, sailors, artisans, -- and agriculturists (until the end of the tenth century they were able to acquire lands). In spite of the edict of Theodosius II (438) and the interdictions of the Councils one sees them often public functionaries (a right which will be later absolutely withdrawn from them). There are not yet any ghettos.{31}

The canonists, it is true, do not relax in their hostility, but their edicts remain long a dead letter. It was they however who won the game, the juridical apparatus codifying the legal disqualification of the Jews was ready when the brutal rupture in the relations between Jews and Christians occurs at the time of the Crusades.

The Last Centuries of the Middle Ages
Religious Hatred of the Jewish People Develops
and It Will Be a Good While before It Will Pass

6. One enters then into the third phase, a phase of calamity, of the history of the medieval Diaspora now widespread in the whole of Europe. The populace is ready for all the excesses against the scapegoat. It is over the blood of the people of Jesus that the Crusades make their way toward the Holy Land.

In the armies of the Crusades the Jews could clearly not take part; it is the end of armed service rendered in common, and from that moment onwards the Jews will be suspected of connivance with the enemy. The rights which they enjoyed are going to be abolished one after another (until there comes the expulsion from England in 1290, from France in 1306{32} and in 1394, from Spain in 1492).

The eleventh century inaugurated a long period in which what one is going to see is the regime of the ghetto,{33} and the discriminatory sign{34} -- the small wheel in France, the sugar-loaf hat in Germany; -- "it is the exclusion from a long series of trades, it is the accusations of violation of the Host, of ritual murder, of poisoning of wells, and the horrible theory of bloody persecutions which accompany these accusations, it is the skilfully organized religious discussions with the verdict in favor of the Christian prepared in advance, it is the autos-da-fé of the Talmud, it is the Jews slaves of the princes and lords, mere merchandise without will or right of their own, whom one exchanges at the best rate, whom one sells to the highest bidder, it is the usurers{35} impelled toward this activity by an economy which closes to them all other possibilities, reviled and execrated for this activity by the entirety of decent people. It will be a species of men definitively banished from society, exploiting for the greatest profit of the prince, exploited according to the good pleasure of the prince, money of exchange between the great, easy prey abandoned to the vile instincts of excited crowds, hypersensitized by a pious and sanguinary imagery, by an edifying and terrifying literature."{36} At the time of the Black Plague (1348-1350), it is they who will be held responsible for the scourge, one will massacre them everywhere.

Certain significant traits show the sentiments which animated the majority of the Christian people. Let us note first the abstention from the genuflection in the prayer Pro Judaeis, so beautiful in itself, of Good Friday.{37} For having been only local, other customs are nevertheless singularly revealing: at Béziers, for example, that one which was abolished only in 1160 (by the bishop Guillaume), and which authorized the Christians to stone the houses of the Jews from the first hour of the Saturday before Palm Sunday until the last hour of the Saturday after Easter; or elsewhere that one (wholly lay, and which seems to have been quite widespread) of the corporal toll required for Jews as for animals: "Upon each ox and pig, and upon each Jew, a sou";{38} and again that one (quite late, I believe) of the homage given, the first Saturday of the carnival, -- and what a wild carnival! -- by the Jews of Rome to a civil dignitary who placed his foot on the nape of the neck of the chief rabbi, before he rises again at the word: "Go"; and again that one of colaphisation, which established itself at Toulouse at the beginning of the eleventh century, and which was the deed of the clergy: every year, the vigil of Easter, a Jew (he was at first the president of the Jewish community) was to be publicly slapped in the face by a Christian (who was at first the Count of Toulouse). Later the slap in the face was to become a more gentle but no less significant liturgical slap, on the condition of tax paid by the Jewish community to the venerable as much as shrewd chapter.

But what it is important above all to point out is the role of the imagery presented to the faithful during the readings in Church; (these images were traced on the back side of the scroll which the priest used, so that, while he read, the people could contemplate them). Let us not forget that, as Father Jean-Julien de Santo Tomas notes,{39} the religious Middle Ages was a civilization of the image.

"It is only through a slow evolution and one in correlation with the political and religious events of Christendom that the portrait of the Jew became stereotyped. Carolingian and Ottonian art possesses no iconographic attribute in order to distinguish the Jew from the Christian, so that it accompanied the image with a legend destined to identify the personages. After 1096, the date of the first crusade, therefore of an enterprise of Christendom from which the Jew found himself excluded, appear the distinctive signs";{40} either vestimentary (small wheel or sugar-loaf hat), or caricatural. And what do the miniatures studied by Blumenkranz show us? Roman soldiers (even Pilate himself) wearing the sugarloaf hat when they scourge Christ or ridicule Him or nail Him to the Cross, -- it is necessary that the Jew alone be guilty. The Jew "holds the role of the enemy of the Church, of the wicked person, of the profligate, of the heretic always in first place in the mouth of the infernal monster."{41} And how would the hatred of people against him not have blazed up, when these Jews whom they saw flagellate Jesus, nail His hands, and insult Him on the Cross, were "exactly dressed as the contemporary hawker, the contemporary shopkeeper, and the contemporary pawnbroker?"{42} The Passion of Christ was presented to the eyes of the spectators "as a crime eternally repeated in which one's Jewish neighbor finds himself always participating."{43} "The Gospel of love became, with the intense force of the image, a school of scorn and of hatred."{44}

7. What does this mean, if not that in the third phase, which occupies us now, hatred of the Jewish people decidedly took its seat in the heart of Christians? Hatred essentially religious (even when it addresses itself to the usurer execrated for other reasons, -- he like the others is an accursed one who killed Jesus); "Christian" hatred which will be a long time ending. Let us recall the atrocious words of Bossuet, in 1652, in the cathedral of Metz: "He has dispersed them over the whole earth. For what reason? Just as the magistrates, after having executed some malefactors on the wheel, order that one will expose in several places, on the main roads, their quartered members, in order to instill fright in other scoundrels; this comparison horrifies you: the fact remains that God has acted approximately in the same way . . . He has scattered them here and there amidst the world, bearing on all sides imprinted in them the mark of His vengeance; monstrous people, which has neither hearth nor place . . . , now the laughing stock and the hate of everybody, miserable without being pitied by anyone; become the butt of the most reasonable. . . . And it is not for any other reason that God preserves the Jews; it is in order to have the example of his vengeance last." If Bossuet was able to utter these words with a tranquil impudence, it is because he based himself upon a solid tradition, which dated back to the second half of the Middle Ages.

Essentially religious, the hatred of which I am speaking had a hearth at the bottom of souls, a sort of convergent mirror which nourished it with its fires; I mean the idea of the deicide-people, -- the adjective "deicide" being an integral part of the substantive, and designating a mark of malediction imprinted for ever and become consubstantial: deicide people yesterday, today, tomorrow; it has deicide in its skin, it is deicide just as it is Jewish. One finds the words "parricide"{45} and "deicide"{46} applied to the Jews in some Fathers of the Church, who had however, as I have noted above, no real hatred in their hearts. It was a verbal aggression -- as extremist as it was eloquent -- due to the vehemence of the missionary polemics, -- that which I call a 'word-idea' or a 'paper-idea.' But finally the formula was virtually there, although deprived of the "consubstantial" sense which I have just indicated. It had to make a very long subterranean journey, in the lowest strata of the soul and through the horrors of history in order to end after five or six centuries in the 'vampire-idea'{47} which I have just mentioned and which carried in it homicide and hatred.

The heart and the mind are in interdependence. It needed that starting from the eleventh century the idea of the people for ever deicide poison even to the depths of the animal unconscious the mind of the Christian people, for its heart to be poisoned by hatred of the Jewish people. The idea of the 'deicide-people' and the religious hatred of the Jewish people are linked like flesh and bones.{48}

The Popes Condemned the Violence and
Did Their Best in Order to Protect the Jews

8. The hatred of the Jewish people in the Middle Ages was the deed of the populace and of many in the bourgeoisie and in the nobility, and of many in the lower clergy. The high personnel of the Church, the Papacy above all, remained free from it.

The conduct of the Holy See with regard to the Jews has varied with the epochs. The Popes, even the ones most severe in their legislation, never knew this hatred. They knew how to read St. Paul without making him say the contrary of what he wrote.

I have just alluded to legislation. The jurists felt themselves all the more at ease in order to unfold their rigors since between the formulation of the latter and their passage into acts they knew well that the margin was great. Under Innocent III (1198-1216), later under Paul IV (1555-1559), Pius V (1566-1572), Clement VIII (1592-1605), the legal prescriptions destined to preserve the Christians from Jewish contamination became as vexatious as they were meticulous. One rubs one's eyes when one reads today an edict of the Congregation of the Inquisition on this subject{49} bearing the date of the 15th of September, 1751, -- thirty eight years before the Declaration of the Rights of Man (finally! but it was the goddess Reason which the latter invoked, although the distant sources of it were evangelical).{50} The rigors of which I speak had however nothing to do with the hatred of the Jews; they depended on the principle (which one did not use only against the Jews, and with which we shall concern ourselves later) that legal constraint must be employed in order to protect the faith.

Let us leave now the jurists, and let us turn toward existential reality and toward the testimonies brought by life. In point of fact, it was in the papal States that the Jews were the least unhappy (one knows enough the case of the "Jews of Avignon"), and this is true even of the epochs in which they were pestered in them by legal vexations, from many of which they had enough ingenuity to escape (it was necessary for them all the same, in the papal States, to attend series of imposed sermons). During the whole of the Middle Ages and the darkest periods of the latter,{51} it was the Popes who were their great protectors and defenders. While trying to shackle their proselytism, Gregory the Great (590-604) condemned the violences against them, prescribed respect for their worship and for the liberty of their consciences, requested for them equity and kindness. Were they not the living witnesses of the history of salvation, and of the purposes of God concerning humanity? The Bull of Calixtus II (1120) condemning the violences against the Jews and their Baptism under constraint was confirmed at least twenty-two times up to the middle of the eighteenth century. The severe Innocent III (1198-1216) defended them against iniquitous tormentings; at the time of the Black Plague Clement VI (1342-1352) exerted (in vain) the greatest efforts in order to protect them, and offered shelter in pontifical territory to those who were able to escape the general massacre. Before the rigors of the time of the Counter-Reformation Jules II (1503-1513) and Leo X (1513-1521) showed them confidence and benevolence, Clement VII (1523-1534) and Paul III (1534-1549) overwhelmed them with favors.

Many bishops also were their friends; at their obsequies the Jews lamented. If others had without doubt the same sentiments as Bossuet, the episcopal body as a whole kept itself free from religious hatred of the Jewish people. This hatred was intense in Luther. The Renaissance marked the beginning of its disappearance. But Voltaire showed that the anti-Judaic rage can very well not be of the religious order and that it is easy to secularize hate. On the side of the Church, it was toward the recognition by Christians of the dignity of Israel and of the bonds of friendship which must be established between them and it that the wind began to blow. Before the interruption of the first Council of the Vatican almost all the Fathers of the Council had signed the Postulatum pro Hebraeis presented by the two Lémann brothers, and one knows the remark of Pius IX to these latter: Vos estis filii Abrahae, et ego. Finally the Second Council of the Vatican

Today we are at last completely delivered from the idea of the 'deicide-people' and from the "Christian" hatred of the Jewish people. The religious anti-Semitism which long soiled Christendom has decidedly disappeared. And this is, as also for the idea of the holy war, one of the benefits of the second Council of the Vatican. The person of the Church, one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, has solemnly made her voice heard, too long suffocated by the misfortunes and the crimes of history.

"The Church of Christ acknowledges that, according to the mystery of God's saving design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are already found among the patriarchs, Moses, and the prophets. She professes that all who believe in Christ, Abraham's sons according to faith (cf. Gal. 3:7), are included in the same patriarch's call . . . The Church believes that by His cross Christ, our Peace, reconciled Jew and Gentile, making them both one in Himself (cf. Eph. 2:14-16). . . . The Church ever keeps in mind the words of the Apostle about his kinsmen, 'who have the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenant and the legislation and the worship and the promises; who have the fathers, and from whom is Christ according to the flesh' (Rom. 9:4-5), the son of the Virgin Mary. . . . As Holy Scripture testifies, Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her visitation (cf. Lk. 19:44), nor did the Jews in large number accept the Gospel; indeed, not a few opposed the spreading of it (cf. Rom. 11:28). Nevertheless, according to the Apostle, the Jews still remain most dear to God because of their fathers, for He does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues (cf. Rom. 11:28-29). . . . True, authorities of the Jews and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ (cf. Jn. 19:6); still, what happened in His passion cannot be blamed upon all the Jews then living, without distinction, nor upon the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as repudiated or cursed by God, as if such views followed from the holy Scriptures. . . . The Church repudiates all persecutions against any man. Moreover, mindful of her common patrimony with the Jews, and motivated by the Gospel's spiritual love and by no political considerations, she deplores the hatred, persecutions, and displays of antiSemitism directed against the Jews at any time and from any source. . . . The Church rejects, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against men or harassment of them because of their race, color, condition of life, or religion."{52}

Digression on the State of Israel

9. As to not religious, but racial, anti-Semitism, it is far from having disappeared. It had however, about twenty years before the Council, showed its full capacity with the Hitlerian death-camps. There was needed this monstrous tragedy, and the liquidation of six million Jews, for history to accord finally a chance to the dream of that return into the Promised Land which during long centuries nourished the hope of generations of humiliated ones and of oppressed ones dispersed among the nations. The blood of the Jewish people paid the price of it, let one never forget this.

As I wrote in Le Mystère d'Israël,{53} it is a strange paradox to see disputed with the Israelians "the sole territory to which, considering the entire spectacle of human history, it is absolutely, divinely certain that a people has incontestably a right: for the people of Israel is the sole people in the world to whom a land, the land of Canaan, was given by the true God, the unique and transcendent God, creator of the universe and of the human race. And what God has given once is given for ever."

In speaking thus I was not making of the State of Israel a State by divine right, as certain ones have claimed.{54} The State of Israel, insofar as State, is only a State like the others. But the return of a portion of the Jewish people and its regroupment in the Holy Land (of which the existence of this State is the sign and the guarantee), -- this is the reaccomplishment, under our eyes, of the divine promise which is without repentance. In short, I remembered what was said to Abraham,{55} to Jacob{56} and to Moses, and what Ezechiel announced:{58} not that I regarded the founding of the State of Israel as a kind of preface to the realization of this prophecy (about this I know absolutely nothing, though it is possible); but in order to keep in my mind respect for the ways of God. And I do not doubt that the event, however enigmatic it may be for the Jews as for the Christians, carries in it the mark of the faithful love and of the pity of God toward the people which is ever his. It appears to me, consequently, that once the Jewish people has put its feet again upon the land which God gave to it, no one will be able anymore to wrest it from it; and that to wish the disappearance of the State of Israel is to wish to reject into nothingness this return which finally was accorded to the Jewish people, and which permits it to have a shelter of its own in the world; in other words, it is, -- in another manner, but as grave, than that of ordinary anti-Semitism, -- to wish that misfortune hound again this people, and that once more it be the victim of an iniquitous agression. "Anti-Israelism"{59} is no better than anti-Semitism.

On the other hand, racial anti-Semitism, I noted above, continues to blind many hearts, even, and above all perhaps, behind the Iron Curtain, -- doubtless because of the mysterious (therefore disquieting) past which the Jew carries in him, and also because he is in general more intelligent than the goyim, therefore more formidable for people who see in the intelligence only an instrument of power and of domination.

And with the racial anti-Semitism thus subsisting one can fear, as I have just indicated, lest there mingle itself henceforth (or substitute itself for it, even in Christians who do not believe themselves anti-Semites) a well-conditioned political anti-Israelism. The Jewish people has not finished suffering.

The Ancient and the New People of God

1. This would be the moment to turn our eyes toward the most troubling enigma of history, I mean the relation between the ancient people of God pursuing its life in its descendants and the new people of God which is the Church.

The first point to be brought to light is that God is faithful; His gifts and His love are without repentance. He Who loves all men, He loves the Church with a love of predilection. He has not ceased for all that to love the Jewish people with a love of predilection.

Is it that His love for the Church and His love for the Jewish people Are two different loves? No, it is the same and unique love, because in the eternal, divine vision Israel and the Church are but a same and unique people of God, as it will appear in the last moments of human history, the day, -- not less resplendent than "a resurrection from the dead,"{60} -- when the branches of Israel, "the natural branches," will be again grafted onto "their own olive tree." It is onto this old olive tree, of which the "root is holy," that we others, branches of the wild olive tree, have been grafted. The root is holy, and it is Jewish. It is it which supports the new people of God, together with all the Gentiles who compose it. And have not the marvellously divine beginnings of the unity which will be finally consummated between Israel and the new people of God already illuminated the earth and Heaven? Is not He Whom we adore, the sole Holy One, the sole Lord, the sole Almighty, is not Jesus Christ a Jew "par excellence by nature," as Léon Bloy said? Is not the blessed one amongst all women, the Immaculate One, the Queen of Heaven, a Jew? Were not all the apostles and the majority of the first martyrs Jews? Is it not a Jewish flesh and a Jewish blood which we eat and drink each time that we receive Holy Communion? "Spiritually, we are Semites," Pius XI said.

It is not however that I am forgetting the second point: this same and unique love of God for His new people and for His ancient people in its descendants of today manifests itself under very different forms, because the response which is made to it on the earth is itself very different, and because on the one side it is a love filled to overflowing, on the other a wounded love. God is patient, He does not charge the Jewish people with a crime for that which the Christians call its obstinacy, and which the Jews call their fidelity, -- it is not their fault that the bandage was formerly put over their eyes by their high priests, and reinforced again by all the persecutions which they have suffered from Christians. But God has ever before His eyes that which is at the origin of their obstinate waiting for the Messiah already come: His love betrayed and insulted by the house of Israel, when He sent His Son and when Jerusalem did not know the time of her visitation. Who would venture to say that in Him love gave way to the thirst for vengeance and for reprobation? This would be blasphemy. God has not rejected his people.{61} They are beloved by him because of the patriarchs.{62} But it is not to the house of Israel, it is to the Church, that He gives for soul the pleroma of all graces. And all the faithful of the Synagogue who are individually saved, -- it is insofar as they are invisibly a part of the Church, whatever help their hearts may have been able to receive from their own religious family.

And wounded love has formidable ways of not making itself importunate. It is enough for it for this to not intervene, and to wait -- it too. To be loved by God can mean to have to sweat blood. It is the love of God for the Jewish people which abandoned it during centuries to the abominable treatments of the Gentiles, -- we are the blindest of the blind if we do not understand this. And this love is always there, the Jews can count upon it. He watches always over His people, He weeps for it and with it, He will pull it always from the worst steps. He will strengthen it always. To tell the truth this people carries in its own manner the Cross of Jesus, by enduring in its unconquered soul all the affliction of the world and bending its shoulders under all the burdens, in order to survive; just as the Church carries it in her own manner, in the light and the tears of the communion of saints, in order to redeem the world with Jesus and through His blood.

2. And if in spite of the different forms under which it manifests itself the love of God for His new people and for the ancient one in its descendants of today is, as I have said, a single and unique love because in the eternal divine vision the two constitute but a single and same people of God, the fact remains that fallen into human history the things which constitute but one in the divine vision and in the divine love are delivered over to the dialectic from below, with the bloody oppositions which are proper to it and its miserable limping progress.

The God of Abraham, of Moses and of David was the God of all the earth, and it was little by little that the new-born Church detached herself from the Temple and from the obligations which it imposed. It was necessary indeed however that the Gentiles be able to enter freely, without being subject to the specifically Jewish practices. St. Paul, with the help of Peter, played a decisive role in this immense adventure. Thus the conflict between the ancient and the new people of God, opened by the condemnation of Jesus, very quickly expanded. The Synagogue severely persecuted the first Christians. In the patristic age, we have noted above, it pursues, not having renounced the universalist idea, an ardent prosyletism; one is in full controversial battle: the Synagogue against the Fathers, the Fathers against the Synagogue. But this was still only controversy. As we have also noted, it was much later, in the second half of the Middle Ages, and by reason above all of the degrading social status imposed upon the Jews, that Christian hatred and Christian contempt toward the Jewish people blazed up. Then came racial anti-Semitism. The nineteenth century saw the dialectical conflict which occupies us here assume its sharpest form. On the one hand, as if history offered then in the order of the spirit a revenge to the oppressed, the Jewish intelligence, -- what great names one could cite!, -- shone in an extraordinary manner upon a civilization formerly Christian which from disavowal to disavowal was entering into full decomposition. On the other hand history was preparing the Naxi extermination camps.

3. And then the hour arrived when the blind dialectical oppositions finally relaxed a little, in order to let pass a ray of light. It seems to me very significant that these two events of such great bearing, -- on the Jewish side the return of a portion of the people to the Promised Land, on the Christian side the second Council of the Vatican, -- took place almost at the same time, the first in 1948, the second in 1962-1965. They mark, each in its own manner, a reorientation of history. What is more important, from this point of view, than the insistence of the Council upon the friendship to be developed and to be consolidated between Jews and Christians?

I am not a charismatic author; I can just say what my poor philosopher eyes believe they perceive in the entanglements of history. It seems to me that in order to be authentic the friendship in question prerequires of the two sides a purification of thought: it is necessary that Christians understand truly that God has not rejected, but has always continued to love the children of Israel, and that it is His love which has permitted this long passion; and it is necessary that the Jews understand truly that it is not the will for power, but the charity of Christ, which animates the effort of the Church toward men. It seems to me also that if this friendship becomes stronger, it will be the presage of great things, and first of a common action in order to bring help to a world which is in jeopardy but in all the corners of which there are souls who are dying of thirst. The cross of survival carried by the Jewish people and the cross of redemption carried by the Church are very far still from being ready to join each other. But later, much later without doubt, when there will come the historical catastrophe from which will arise for a time a renewed human universe, that day, which will be as a prelude to the resurrection of the dead, the cross of survival (for it will be the old olive tree of Israel which will flower again in its entirety, pas Israêl sôthesêtai) and the cross of redemption (for it is the new people of God which will assume everything in the light of Christ) will recognize themselves finally and will constitute but a single cross, in order to offer salvation to the men of all the earth, -- and perhaps in order that, before the end of time, the earth itself may pass through a moment in which it will be given to it to know the peace which the Lamb of God gives. The dialectics of history would have then reconciled all its oppositions, and opened onto the unity which the Father Who is in Heaven had in view from all eternity.

{1} Julian Green, Journal, II, p. 979.

{2} Before him, Gregory VII had dreamed of an expedition into the Holy Land which he wished to lead himself, but the War of the Investitures prevented him from realizing this project. The call to the crusade came from the Papacy of the Middle Ages. It was from the hands of the Pope or from his legates that those who made a vow to participate in the enterprise received the Cross.

{3} Which delighted exceedingly Humbert of Romans. Cf. Gesta Francorum, p. 202, quoted by Norman Daniel, Islam and the West , Edinburgh, 1960, p. 113. This massacre, adds the author, was in fact "the worst medieval profanation of the Holy Land known to us" (ibid., p. 349, n. 12).

{4} Cf. his article Croisades (Dictionnaire d'Apologétique, p. 823), which is a very good summary of his work L'Église et l'Orient au moyen âge, Les croisades, Paris, 1907.

{5} "Going out, one evening of defeat at Damietta, from the camp of the Crusades, St. Francis came to the Moslem camp to offer himself to the ordeal by fire, for the love of a single Moslem soul, the Ayyubite sultan Mohammadiba-Abi Bakr al Malik al-Kainil. Driven back far from the glimpsed martyrdom, he knew, by a vision, that on his return to Italy, he would obtain another death of love: it was his stigmatization at Alverno, the day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. His compassion for Islam, this true spiritual crusade, the first, the one which Louis IX will imitate at Carthage, had merited for him to become the first compassionate visibly configured with the Crucified, 'who rises from the East, bearing the sign of the living God.' Thus opened, seven centuries ago, the long procession of the vexillaries of the Passion." Louis Massignon, Les trois prières d'Abraham, Seconde Prière, Avrault, Tours, hors commerce, p. 56. Cf. p. 25.

{6} Saint François d'Assise, Paris, Perrin, 1954, p. 307.

{7} Norman Daniel, op. cit., p. 113. {8} Luke 9, 54-56. -- Cf. John 18, 36.

{9} Cf. the beautiful book of Robert Vallery-Radot, Le Prophète de l'Occident (1130-1153), Paris, Descleé, 1969.

{10} Allusion to the capture of Edessa by the "atabeks" of Mosul (1144). And it is indeed true that "although the Crusades had at first the appearance of a bold offensive, they were in reality, from the outset, wars of defense." (Louis Bréhier, loc. cit., col. 837.) The first Moslem aggression was that of the Fatimite calif Hakem who, in 1099, had destroyed the Holy Sepulchre, putting an end thus to the free protectorate which the calif Haroun-al-Raschid had conferred on Charlemagne in the year 800. Came then, oppressing the Christians and threatening Byzantium, the invasions of the Seljukian Turks.

{11} St. Bernard did not suspect that they echoed the Islamic conception of the shuhadas: those who die "on the way of God" go straight to Heaven. (And the "way of God" included war, even offensive, for the extension of Islam.) It was indeed the idea of the holy war, although the Moslem jihad does not at all evoke in itself an idea of execration and of extermination.

{12} Norman Daniel, op. cit., p. 112.

{13} Cf. my preface to the book of Alfredo Mendizabel, Aux Origines d'une Tragédie, Paris, Desclée De Brouwer, 1937 [Engl. transl.: The Martyrdom of Spain, London, Geoffrey Bles, 1938. -- Tr.]. The major part af this preface had appeared as an article in the Nouvelle Revue Française.

{14} Bishop Diaz Gomara, bishop of Carthagena.

{15} That is to say: object of repulsion for my beloved.

{16} As the Jerusalem Bible notes here very rightly (note a), "Israel, though unbelieving, 10:2 1, is still a chosen people, 11:2." That which is clearly confirmed by 11,16 and 18; and 11,29.

{17} One cannot translate apobolê by the word "rejection," since St. Paul has expressly affirmed (11, 1 and 2) that God has not rejected his people. The words "mise à l'écart" ["being set aside"] employed by the Jerusalem Bible render sufficiently well the sense. The Vulgate translates: amissio, which one could perhaps render also by the word "defection" in order to signify that as long as they remain in incredulity the Jewish people (still chosen) are deficient in their own predestined "olive-tree," and in the root of the latter, and that they have been amputated from the Body dedicated to the redemptive work, all these members whom the Body has thus lost (amisit) until they are again grafted in.

Apropos of 11, 14: Even unbelieving, the chosen people remains a "holy" people, not certainly by their actual conduct with regard to the Gospel (in this respect they have become "enemies," 11, 28), but by their election, which is irrevocable, 11, 29. This is why the "root" (11, 18) continues to "support" the faithful branches, even those which have been grafted in with Gentiles, and the unbelieving Jews are still beloved because of the patriarchs (11,28).

{18} Rom. 9-11.

{19} I know well that the "anger" and the "vengeance" of God, and even His "hatred" ("He blessed Jacob and hated Esau") hold a large place in the Bible: manners of speaking proper to Semitic semantics, which puts in the positive (as willed by God) that which He permits only (He "blinds," He "hardens" whom He wishes. . .). Translated into Latin or into our vernaculars, these expressions have not a little contributed to lead astray unreflecting or passionate minds.

{20} A furious mob stoned St. Stephen (and the young Saul was in agreement). In 62, another mob threw from the top of the Temple and stoned James the Less, who was then bishop of Jerusalem, while observing so well the Law of Moses that the Jewish common people venerated him (it was the Sanhedrin which had instigated the affair and provoked the riot).

{21} It was a question in particular of struggling against the tendency to fast the same days as the Jews and to keep like them the Sabbath Day. In the sixth century St. Gregory the Great will have still to busy himself with the question.

{22} "There where the courtesan is, the place [that is to say the Synagogue as assembly of worship] is called a brothel. What am I saying? Not brothel only and theatre, the Synagogue is also cavern of brigands and lair of wild beasts. . . ." The same homily continues: "Living for their stomach, their mouths always open, they do not conduct themselves better than the pigs and the billy goats, in their lewd grossness and the excess of their gluttony. They can do only one thing: stuff themselves with food and get drunk. . . Adversus Judaeos Orationes, Hom. I, P. G. XLVIII, col. 847-848.

{23} "Si expedit odisse homines et gentem aliquam detestari, miro odio aversor circumcisionem, usque hodie enim persequuntur Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum in synagogis Satanae." (Apropos of Psalm 138, 22: Perfecto odio oderam illos.)

{24} As it will be explicitly codified later by Canon Law. In 1179, the 26th canon of the third ecumenical Lateran Council will declare: Judaeos subjacere christianis oportet et ab eis pro sola humanitate foveri. While maintaining the principle of their religious liberty, the fourth Lateran Council (1215) will shackle their life by numerous restrictions destined to protect Christians against their influence.

Let us not forget that if, as I have said, the ecumenical Councils are the voice of the Church, this must clearly be understood of that which concerns the revealed teaching concerning faith and morals. In disciplinary measures in wholly contingent matter like those to which I allude here, or like the prescription of a crusade by the fourth Lateran Council, the Fathers of a Council act as "proper causes" to whom obedience is due, but not as organs causing instrumentally to be heard the voice of the Church of Heaven and of earth, in other words of the person of the Church.

{25} When at the same time he did not deem it wrong that one offer material advantages to the Jews in order that they become converted, "he was not at all taken in by the sincerity of the faith thus obtained. 'But,' he said, 'if the men thus gained do not promise to be very good Christians, there is hope that their children will be.' " (op. cit., p. 115.) Calculation very debatable in itself, but which was not lacking in practical accuracy, if one remembers that one of the grandfathers of St. Theresa of Avila was a Marrano.

{26} Cf. Bernhard Blumenkranz, Juifs et Chrétiens dans le Monde Occidental (430-1096), Paris, 1960, p. 380. See also Foreword, p. xix: During the whole Carolingian period no permanent anti-Judaism.

{27} In the important work which I have just cited.

{28} op. cit., Foreword, p. xiv.

{29} Not without using on both sides the means of pressure or of seduction at one's disposal. (This is why one forbade the Jews to have Christian slaves.) On the Christian side, one obliged the Jews to assist at sermons which sometimes were delivered in the synagogues.

{30} Neither good temperament nor humor were lacking in that time. Witness the fine story about Charlemagne and a bishop over fond of expensive curiosities told by the monk of Saint-Gaul. Charlemagne asks a Jewish shopkeeper to perfume a mouse and to offer it as an Eastern rarity to the bishop in question, who buys it at a high price; all of which enables the Emperor to laugh at his expense and to shame him in a synod (op. cit., p. 16).

{31} When at the end of the tenth century the Jews will retreat into the cities, they will group themselves there in districts of their choice. It is at the end of the following century, in 1084, that the bishop of Spires, Rudiger, has the Jewish district surrounded by a wall, "in order to avoid," he says, "the insolent populace's attacking them." Wall which tomorrow will enclose them, will double itself with an invisible wall of resentment, and will designate them to the assaults of the persecutors. (Cf. op. cit., p. 39.)

Reserved districts had existed for three centuries in the Moslem countries, whose theocratic body politic showed itself at first quite benevolent with regard to its Jewish and Christian guests. As distinctive sign the Jews wore there a small wheel of yellow color, the Christians a small wheel of blue color.

{32} Philip the Fair pursued there no religious aim; he had in view only to despoil the Jews (as moreover the Lombards or the Templars).

{33} Imported from Islam in the twelfth century (1179, third Lateran Council), absolutely imposed in the sixteenth century (1555, Paul IV), become out-of-date after the emancipation, officially expunged from Canon Law by Pius IX.

{34} Imported also from Islam in the thirteenth century (1215, fourth Lateran Council), absolutely imposed at the same time as the ghetto (1555), fallen into disuse (except for the jurists of the Holy Office) in the eighteenth century, abolished in the Papal States after the emancipation.

{35} One knows that St. Thomas (II-II, 1 ad 2) condemned loan at interest, which he considered to be usury. In actual fact, the princes appropriated the greater part of the interests which the Jews collected from the poor people, and of which the rate was thereby rendered necessarily excessive.

"The financial role of the Jewish element in the world," writes Louis Massignon ("L'influence de l'Islam sur la fondation des banques juives," in Opera minora, t. I, p. 247), "is an accidental role which was imposed on it only tardily: by the Moslem State. We do not see indeed in antiquity, even in the Byzantine epoch, that the preponderance, among the bankers, ever belonged to the Jewish element. At the outset of Islam it was not yet the case; in the beginning of the ninth century, Jahiz does not consider the Jews as specialized in banking; this profession is then exercised by Christians. But one knows that since Islamic canon law forbade Moslems the commerce of money, and tolerated in Moslem countries no other communities than those of Christians and those of Jews, the Moslem States had necessarily to attribute the monopoly of the commerce of money either to Christians or to Jews; and the Christian financiers were clearly more suspect in their eyes, as possible spies in the service of the Christian emperors of Byzantium. . . . It was therefore the Moslem State which, at the end of the ninth century, specialized the Jewish element in the commerce of money, stigmatizing it thus with a characteristic social stamp, a kind of psychological equivalent of the small wheel."

{36} B. Blumenkranz, op. cit., p. 380.

{37} The reason invoked by the liturgists was that the Jews had bent the knee before Christ in order to ridicule him (historical error, moreover: it was the Roman soldiers who did this). But in the rubric in question the people saw only a mark of sacred aversion toward them in the very moment that one was praying for them. It seems even, if we believe the sacramentary of Saint-Vast, that the real cause of this rubric was to avoid the reactions of hate of the Christian people: Hic nostrum nullus debet modo flectere corpus, ob populi noxiam ac pariter rabiem.

{38} Toll sheet of Malemort.

{39} In his recension (Revue Thomiste, January-March, 1970, p. 144) of the book of B. Blumenkranz, Le Juif médiéval au miroir de l'art chrétien, Paris, Etudes Augustiniennes, 1966.

{40} Ibid.

{41} Ibid.

{42} Ibid.

{43} B. Blumenkranz, op. cit., p. 135.

{44} J. J. De Santo Thomas, article cited, p. 144.

{45} Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose.

{46} Cyril of Alexandria: "They have shown themselves deicide," he writes in his Commentary on Isaiah. I do not believe that the expression deicide people is found formally in him.

St, Augustine does not use the word, but insists on the collective responsibility of the Jews. Cf. D. Judant, Judaisme et Christianisme , Paris, Ed. du Cèdre, 1969, Ch. V.

{47} Let us hope that a philosopher worthy of the name will give us some day a good psychoanalysis of history. From the point of view of a concrete psychology, I think that what we call an idea finds itself under two entirely different states according as it is of the merely intellectual order (a concept used by the reason) or according as it affects vitally the whole human subject. In the first case I shall call it "light-idea" when it is true and "word-idea" or "paper-idea" when it is false. In the second case I shall call it "sun-idea" when it is in the service of truth, and radiates ineffably in the supraconscious of the spirit in order to gain from there the intellect and to invade the whole soul; and I shall call it "vampire-idea" when it is in the service of falsehood and rises from the animal unconscious in order to take possession of the human subject.

{48} From a letter from one of my Catholic friends, who during his stay in Israel wished to learn Hebrew and had as teacher a "true average Israelian girl, native of central Europe, Esther," I extract the following lines: "With an altogether Israelian frankness and simplicity, she did not scruple to speak out before the whole class (in which I was clearly the only Christian, in the midst of Jewish comrades originally from about fifteen countries of Europe and of Asia, of Africa and of the two Americas) concerning the heavy Judeo-Christian past. And I am profoundly grateful to her for it. All this, it is true, I knew, at least roughly, very roughly, and in the abstract if I may say; but I had not realized, felt, lived from the interior, from the side of the victims, in their skin, all that which an accumulation of such aberrations throughout twenty centuries could awaken of suffering, of rancor, of scandal. I had before me there, living and sorrowful, the image which a normally constituted Jew or Jewess can form of Christianity, such as they have seen it at work, such as they have experienced it, suffered it, in the quick of their flesh, of their human dignity and of their faith, in the course of history. . . .

"How many times did I hear her evoke the lot of this eternally wandering people, chased from one Christian country, then from another, then again from another. People unceasingly subjected in Christendom to popular scorn and to laws of exception, of segregation, deprived most often of all possibilities of ordinary work, carefully kept in the background, far before they are penned up and packed together in their ghettos; subjected frequently to the infamous wearing of insignia or distinctive hats. People periodically massacred, from the hundreds or so massacres perpetrated in Germany, in the Middle Ages, to the more recent pogroms of Eastern Europe, without forgetting the Crusades, in which the champions of the Cross acquired the knack on the Jewish communities of Europe before going to kill Sarrazin and to burn alive in their synagogues of Jerusalem and other holy places, so many Jews of Palestine. . . .

"Hundreds and hundreds of synagogues burned, bonfires with their holy books (including sometimes the Bible). Incessant and tragic accusations of "ritual murder," or profanation of hosts or of poisoning of the wells at the moment of the epidemics of plague, all this ending clearly in blood baths. In a general manner, antisemitism more or less virulent in the Christian countries and milieus, in the measure ordinarily in which they called themselves and believed themselves Christians, the ordinary teaching of the sermons or of the catechisms (deicide people, accursed people, etc.) having all that which was necessary in order to stir up this antisemitism, which culminated each year at the moment of Holy Week, during which the Jews of the Middle Ages had only to barricade themselves well in their homes if they did not wish to be massacred 'for the love of the crucified Savior.'

"This long history of blood ending in our day in the horrors of the Nazi camps, of their gas chambers and of their crematoriums. . . . Of course Esther and the Israelians distinguish between Nazis and authentic Christians (many of whom risked their life in order to save some of them); but the fact remains that the Nazis were almost all baptized persons, therefore officially Christians, and that their monstrosities were able to surge up only on a terrain already well prepared by the traditional Christian antisemitism.

"I spare you astonished and grieved commentaries on recent Vatican 'politics' and its obstinate refusal to recognize the existence of the State of Israel. . . .

"I shall terminate this sad subject on this phrase of Esther which I shall never forget: 'It is necessary that you understand well that the cross is for us the accursed symbol of all our misfortunes, of all our persecutions, of all our massacres.' And, in actual fact, in Israel, not only has the Red Cross become the Red Star of David, but even the sign '+' of addition in mathematics has been modified also because it evokes the accursed sign. . . . This is frightfully heavy with signification.

"If it is true that a handful of Jews were able to contribute one day, by badly enlightened religious zeal, to the crucifixion of the Savior, 'accomplishing thus the Scriptures,' the Christian people, by a zeal just as unseemly, has persisted in return in crucifying the whole Jewish people, throughout its sorrowful history, resembling strangely a mysterious way of the Cross. And I tell myself sometimes that in the Council Document on Judaism, a small phrase of humble avowal of culpability and of asking for pardon, would perhaps not have been a useless luxury." (September 13, 1969)

{49} This edict concerned the Jews of the Papal States. -- Prohibition to possess, to write, to translate any impious book, such as a Talmudist or Cabalist one; prohibition to place near their sepulchres any stone bearing an inscription; prohibition to practice their rites outside of their synagogues, for example to sing psalms or to carry torches while transporting to the cemetery the body of their deceased; prohibition to approach nearer the House of Catechumens than the space of thirty canes; prohibition, under pain of the galley and of the confiscation of goods, to dissuade anyone from becoming converted to the holy Catholic faith; obligation to wear the mark of yellow color, which distinguishes them from other people; prohibition to sell or to give to Christians the meat of any animal which they would have killed themselves; prohibition to have shops outside of ghettos; prohibition to have recourse to Christian midwives and Christian nurses, to have Christian menservants or Christian maidservants, etc.

{50} The decree of civil emancipation of the Jews was voted two years later by the Constituent Assembly (September 27, 1791).

{51} Let us quote here these lines from an author, Mr. Cecil Roth, who is not suspected of sympathy for Christianity: "The Pope, whatever might be his desire to prevent that Christian orthodoxy should be contaminated by contact with them, adhered always to the principle of formal tolerance; in spite of the tendencies of ecclesiastical politics, he never approved the anti-Jewish violences, or atrocities such as the accusation of ritual murder or forced conversion. Each time, he declared himself for reason and moderation in these domains (and even Innocent III, who inspired the most reactionary legislation of the Middle Ages, was no exception). A protecting Bull of Calixtus II, Sicut Judaeis, which condemned severely the attacks against the person of Jews and their baptism under constraint, was confirmed at least twenty-two times, from its promulgation in 1120 to the middle of the fifteenth century. From 1130 to 1138, one of the pretenders to the throne of St. Peter was a man of whom the Jewish origins were quite close -- Anacletus II (Piero Pierleoni). The Jews of the States of the Pope were almost the only ones in Europe to never experience the massacres and expulsion in all their horror; and small colonies from Rome swarmed into the surrounding territory." (Histoire du Peuple juif, Paris, Editions de la Terre Retouvée, 1963, pp. 221-222.) -- There were nevertheless two attempts at expulsion (edict of Pius V in 1569, broken by Sixtus V in 1586; edict of Clement VIII in 1593, revoked by the same Pope a few months later).

{52} Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, Sections 4 and 5.

{53} Le Mystère d'Israël, Paris, Desclée De Brouwer, 1965.

{54} Nor was I denying the rights of the Arabs of Palestine. I shall speak below of these rights; I note immediately that they are by no means, as a certain anti-Israelian political propaganda sometimes seems to suggest, the unjustly injured rights of a nation which would have been conquered and despoiled by the force of arms.

A bit of history here: Jewish agricultural colonies were founded, at the end of the nineteenth century, and thanks to purchases of lands, by the Zionist pioneers with a view to preparing for the Jews of the Diaspora the creation of a national home on the Promised Land (which, up until the defeat of Turkey in the First World War, and the mandate received by Great Britain, was under Ottoman rule). Following negociations between Chaim Weizmann and the English government, the Balfour Declaration (November 2, 1917) confirmed the right of the Jewish people to this creation. In 1922 Palestine, by virtue of a decision of the United Nations, passed under British mandate. In November, 1947, another decision of the United Nations, prescribing the division of the Holy Land into an Arab State and a Jewish State, and the internationalization of Jerusalem, was rejected by the Arabs, -- all of which launched the armed struggle between the Arab League and the Israelians. And on the eve of the expiration (May 15) of the British mandate, Ben Gourion, President of the Executive Committee of the Jews of Palestine, proclaimed (May 14, 1948) the independence of the State of Israel, soon recognized by the principal world powers. The State of Israel was not born of any aggression and invasion of which one knows not what Arab national State in Palestine would have been the victim. It was born of an immigration of rapid growth (not without friction) organizing itself (in conformity with the principle laid down in 1947 by the United Nations Organization) into an independent political unity in a territory under British mandate, -- an immigration and an independent political unity both sanctioned by international law.

The rights of the Palestinians are, firstly, those of the human person in each of us, wherever he may be, and which the State of Israel only asks to respect in the Arab population of its territory; and, secondly, their right (whether they have remained in Israel or whether they have gone into Jordan or into other countries) to a compensation which makes up as much as possible for the losses involved for them, not certainly from the fact of an unjust aggression, but from the fact of the legitimate installation of a new national and political unity in a part of a territory which up until then they were the only ones to populate. It was incumbent neither on the Arab countries nor on the State of Israel, but rather on the great powers, to give this compensation. Devoured by national egoism and by their economic and military rivalries, they have failed up till now (I write these lines in April of 1970) in this duty. It is still incumbent on them. It would take energy, intelligence, and generosity, -- which is to ask much, but is to ask the indispensable.

I do not like to touch on political questions which are situated on an altogether different plane than the one which is proper to the subject of this book. I have nevertheless been obliged to do so in this note in order to explain clearly my thought. Two remarks remain to be made in this order.

In the first place, to desire, as certain ones do (cf. Témoignage chrétien, December 11, 1969), "the creation of a secular Palestine, open to all, Arabs and Jews, Moslems, Christians, Israelites and atheists," is, by innuendo, and not without slanderous insinuations with regard to the State of Israel, to desire the disappearance of this State, in other words to desire that which I hold to be an iniquity.

In the second place, to be persuaded, as I am, that the existence of the State of Israel is a just and necessary thing, and to have at heart the love of those who are gathered together in it, as also of the work to which they are called, does not imply at all that one regards without anxiety the nationalist extremism of some among them, nor that one is ready to approve in every circumstance the politics of this State itself. The State of Israel is no more infallible than the others. The fact remains that it is alone in the midst of a hostile world, and is doing what it believes good in order to defend itself; and that with regard to the situation in the Middle East the great powers carry a terribly heavy responsibility. France, alas, has been far from cutting a good figure in the events. It seems that only the American people has kept at the bottom of its soul a sense of human solidarity sufficiently strong that, to the calculations touching national interest which prevail in its politicians as in those of the whole world, there is joined in the anonymous mass a sincere and real friendship for the State of Israel, as for the Jewish people recently persecuted in such a tragic and unforgettable manner.

{55} Gen. 13, 5; 15, 18; 17, 8.

{56} Gen. 28, 13.

{57} Exodus 3, 8; 6, 8.

{58} Ez. 37, 12 and 14 and 25.

{59} "Anti-Israelism" is the exact word. One prefers to say today "anti-Zionism." It is always easy (the imagination and passion are there for that, it suffices to cease to control them, and also to rely on the idle gossip of some extremists, who are never lacking) to create a myth such as that "Zionism" which one pictures to oneself as an organized movement tending to put the Jews of the whole world in the service of the State of Israel, and which one reproaches (Témoignage chrétien, number cited in note 54) "its racial character, its expansionist will, the confusion which it maintains between the sacred and the temporal, its materialist interpretation of the Bible and the utilization of the Holy Books in a political purpose." In this fantastic enumeration, it is the accusation of theocracy ("confusion of the sacred and of the temporal") which appears the most ridiculous, when one knows that in Israel the least well disposed ones toward their State are the more religious Jews, and that on the other hand it is in Islam that the State is conceived as sacral. As to "the materialist interpretation of the Bible," it consists undoubtedly in believing that which is written in it? And when one speaks of "racial character," does one wish to reduce to "race" the moral community and the immense historical heritage which explain that there is a Jewish people? Finally, is it for the State of Israel "expansionist will" to defend its threatened existence and its right to be there?

The Christians who declare themselves anti-Zionists can declare at the same time, in all good faith, that they are not anti-Semites, and that they have moreover given proof of this during the occupation. They do not see that myths like the "Zionism" in question are the ways through which antisemitism penetrates most insidiously into the imagination and the heart of people. The anti-Zionist propaganda at work today, and of which the political origins are easily discernible, is in actual fact a well-orchestrated anti-Semite propaganda.

It is perhaps not profitless to quote here some lines drawn from Le Mystère d'Israël (pp. 245-246). "On account of the formation of the Israelian State," I wrote in 1964, "the condition of Israel in the world has entered into an entirely new phase. Henceforth this condition is, if I may say, bipolar: it implies at one and the same time the diaspora among the Gentiles, which has not ceased and which is required by the very vocation of Israel, -- and the political unity of the Israelian people in such and such a given point of the globe, through which we see decidedly ended the vestiges of the regime of the ghetto, and decidedly begun the first foundations of a realization in time of the hope of Israel. Thus it is no longer only the long tragic tension between Israel and the world which the philosopher of history has henceforth to consider. It is also, in the bosom of Israel itself, a fraternal tension between the Jewish State of the Holy Land and the Jewish population of the Dispersion, which relate, so to speak, to two different centers of gravitation, and of which the needs, the purposes and the destinies are distinct, but which in a no less important measure remain nevertheless essentially linked and interdependent, in the material order and in the spiritual order."

{60} Rom. 11, 15. It is to this whole chapter that I refer here. -- The persons who, like Mme Judant, take as mythical the belief in the conversion of the Jewish people in a distant future, display, I do not contest it, an erudition as vast as it is tendentious, but it seems doubtful that they have read closely the Epistle to the Romans. "If you were cut off from the natural wild olive and, contrary to nature, were grafted into the cultivated olive, so much the more will they who belong to it by nature be grafted into their own olive tree. Brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery lest you be conceited (Pr. 3, 7): blindness has come upon part of Israel until the full number of Gentiles enter in, and then all Israel will be saved." (11,24-26.)

{61} Rom. 11, 1-2.

{62} Rom. 11, 28.

<< ======= >>