USCCB Mandates “Political Correct” Passion Disclaimer Bulletin Inserts

The U.S. bishops’ conference announced recently that it will require a pastoral note on antisemitism to be placed in worship aids and pew missals ahead of all Good Friday passion narratives, beginning this year.

The new requirement was announced last year in a memo from the heads of USCCB Committees on Divine Worship and Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs to publishers of missals and worship aids.

Notice of the memo was also included in the Committee on Divine Worship’s January 2024 newsletter, which noted that the conference has previously provided guidance on homilies and a similar statement for the Good Friday passion in the 1990s and 2000s.

The goal of the statement, the newsletter said, is “to help ensure that the proclamation of the Lord’s Passion is not misused to promote anti-Jewish sentiment.”

The note on antisemitism, which is available in both English and Spanish, reads:

“The passion narratives are proclaimed in full so that all see vividly the love of Christ for each person. In light of this, the crimes during the Passion of Christ cannot be attributed, in either preaching or catechesis, indiscriminately to all Jews of that time, nor to Jews today. The Jewish people should not be referred to as though rejected or cursed, as if this view followed from Scripture. The Church ever keeps in mind that Jesus, his mother Mary, and the apostles all were Jewish. As the Church has always held, Christ freely suffered his passion and death because of the sins of all, that all might be saved.”

The text is drawn from the Second Vatican Council’s Nostra aetate and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which teaches explicitly that “Jews are not collectively responsible for Jesus’ death.”

“[W]e cannot lay responsibility for the trial on the Jews in Jerusalem as a whole,” it says. “Still less can we extend responsibility to other Jews of different times and places.”

Why the new USCCB pastoral note? And why now? What was the process to create the note?

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