Vatican to celebrate 40th anniversary of landmark document

The Vatican is celebrating the 40th anniversary of a landmark document on relations with Jews Thursday with a ceremony and talks by a prominent rabbi and cardinal.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican official in charge of relations with Jews, is hosting the event to commemorate the anniversary of the "Nostra Aetate" document, which revolutionized the Catholic Church's relations with Jews.

"Nostra Aetate" was one of the key documents to emerge from the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council meeting of Catholics and clergy that modernized the Catholic Church.

In it, the Vatican deplored anti-Semitism in every form and repudiated the "deicide" charge that blamed Jews as a people for Christ's death.

The document also addressed relations with other religions, including Islam, urging both Catholics and Muslims to "forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding."

Rabbi David Rosen, who has been involved in Vatican-Israeli negotiations, and Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, a retired Paris Archbishop and Jewish convert, were to be the keynote speakers at the evening event Thursday.

Pope John Paul II has been credited for his unprecedented outreach to Jews, becoming the first pope to visit a synagogue. Pope Benedict XVI has pledged to carry on with John Paul's policy and he too visited a synagogue during his first foreign trip, to Cologne, Germany, in August, reports the AP. I.L.