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Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations

Celebrating 50 Years: Nostra Aetate

The Second Vatican Council was called by Pope John XXIII to update the Catholic Church.

It met from 1962 to 1965 and produced 16 documents charting a new era in Church history and theology.

Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”) is one of those documents. It was published on October 28, 1965 during the fourth and final session of the Council, calling Catholics and all Christians “to enter with prudence and charity into discussion and collaboration with members of other religions,… and to acknowledge, preserve and encourage the spiritual and moral truths found among non-Christians, together with their social lives and cultures (NA #2).”

Collaboration

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Cardinal Augustin Bea collaborated on Jewish-Christian relations even before the opening of the Council in 1962. The first draft concerned the relationship of the Church with Jews. Between 1963 and 1965 subsequent drafts were expanded to include Muslims and other major world religions.

The full text of Nostra Aetate can be found at www.vatican.va