ON OCTOBER 28, 1965


 1. In our time, when day by day mankind is being drawn closer together,
 and the ties between different peoples are becoming stronger, the Church
 examines more closely he relationship to non- Christian religions. In her
 task of promoting unity and love among men, indeed among nations, she
 considers above all in this declaration what men have in common and what
 draws them to fellowship.
 One is the community of all peoples, one their origin, for God made the
 whole human race to live over the face of the earth.(1) One also is their
 final goal, God. His providence, His manifestations of goodness, His
 saving design extend to all men,(2) until that time when the elect will be
 united in the Holy City, the city ablaze with the glory of God, where the
 nations will walk in His light.(3)
 Men expect from the various religions answers to the unsolved riddles of
 the human condition, which today, even as in former times, deeply stir the
 hearts of men: What is man? What is the meaning, the aim of our life? What
 is moral good, what sin? Whence suffering and what purpose does it serve?
 Which is the road to true happiness? What are death, judgment and
 retribution after death? What, finally, is that ultimate inexpressible
 mystery which encompasses our existence: whence do we come, and 
 where are we going?
 2. From ancient times down to the present, there is found among various
 peoples a certain perception of that hidden power which hovers over the
 course of things and over the events of human history; at times some
 indeed have come to the recognition of a Supreme Being, or even of a
 Father. This perception and recognition penetrates their lives with a
 profound religious sense.
 Religions, however, that are bound up with an advanced culture have
 struggled to answer the same questions by means of more refined concepts
 and a more developed language. Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the
 divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths
 and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the
 anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or
 profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust. Again,
 Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this
 changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident
 spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or
 attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination.
  Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness
 of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing "ways,"
 comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church
 rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with
 sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and
 teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds
 and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which
 enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ
 "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), in whom men may find the
 fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to
 The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and
 collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with
 prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they
 recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as
 well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.
 3. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one
 God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the
 Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to
 submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham,
 with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted
 to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a
 prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call
 on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God
 will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the
 dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially
 through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
 Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have
 arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to
 forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to
 preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind
 social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.
 4. As the sacred synod searches into the mystery of the Church, it
 remembers the bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to
 Abraham's stock.
 Thus the Church of Christ acknowledges that, according to God's saving
 design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are found already
 among the Patriarchs, Moses and the prophets. She professes that all who
 believe in Christ-Abraham's sons according to faith (6)-are included in
 the same Patriarch's call, and likewise that the salvation of the Church
 is mysteriously foreshadowed by the chosen people's exodus from the land
 of bondage. The Church, therefore, cannot forget that she received the
 revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His
 inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant. Nor can she forget
 that she draws sustenance from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree
 onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles.(7) Indeed, the
 Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and
 Gentiles. making both one in Himself.(8)
 The Church keeps ever in mind the words of the Apostle about his kinsmen:
 "theirs is the sonship and the glory and the covenants and the law and the
 worship and the promises; theirs are the fathers and from them is the
 Christ according to the flesh" (Rom. 9:4-5), the Son of the Virgin Mary.
 She also recalls that the Apostles, the Church's main-stay and pillars, as
 well as most of the early disciples who proclaimed Christ's Gospel to the
 world, sprang from the Jewish people.
 As Holy Scripture testifies, Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her
 visitation,(9) nor did the Jews in large number, accept the Gospel; indeed
 not a few opposed its spreading.(10) Nevertheless, God holds the Jews most
 dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He
 makes or of the calls He issues-such is the witness of the Apostle.(11) In
 company with the Prophets and the same Apostle, the Church awaits that
 day, known to God alone, on which all peoples will address the Lord in a
 single voice and "serve him shoulder to shoulder" (Soph. 3:9).(12)
 Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so
 great, this sacred synod wants to foster and recommend that mutual
 understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and
 theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues.
 True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for
 the death of Christ;(13) still, what happened in His passion cannot be
 charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against
 the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews
 should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this
 followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in
 catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach
 anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit
 of Christ.
 Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the
 Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by
 political reasons but by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred,
 persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time
 and by anyone.
 Besides, as the Church has always held and holds now, Christ underwent His
 passion and death freely, because of the sins of men and out of infinite
 love, in order that all may reach salvation. It is, therefore, the burden
 of the Church's preaching to proclaim the cross of Christ as the sign of
 God's all-embracing love and as the fountain from which every grace flows.
 5. We cannot truly call on God, the Father of all, if we refuse to treat
 in a brotherly way any man, created as he is in the image of God. Man's
 relation to God the Father and his relation to men his brothers are so
 linked together that Scripture says: "He who does not love does not know
 God" (1 John 4:8).
 No foundation therefore remains for any theory or practice that leads to
 discrimination between man and man or people and people, so far as their
 human dignity and the rights flowing from it are concerned.
 The Church reproves, 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. On the contrary, following in the footsteps of the
 holy Apostles Peter and Paul, this sacred synod ardently implores the
 Christian faithful to "maintain good fellowship among the nations" (1
 Peter 2:12), and, if possible, to live for their part in peace with all
 men,(14) so that they may truly be sons of the Father who is in
NOTES 1. Cf. Acts 17:26 2. Cf. Wis. 8:1; Acts 14:17; Rom. 2:6-7; 1 Tim. 2:4 3. Cf. Apoc. 21:23f. 4. Cf 2 Cor. 5:18-19 5. Cf St. Gregory VII, letter XXI to Anzir (Nacir), King of Mauritania (Pl. 148, col. 450f.) 6. Cf. Gal. 3:7 7. Cf. Rom. 11:17-24 8. Cf. Eph. 2:14-16 9. Cf. Lk. 19:44 10. Cf. Rom. 11:28 11. Cf. Rom. 11:28-29; cf. dogmatic Constitution, Lumen Gentium (Light of nations) AAS, 57 (1965) pag. 20 12. Cf. Is. 66:23; Ps. 65:4; Rom. 11:11-32 13. Cf. John. 19:6 14. Cf. Rom. 12:18 15. Cf. Matt. 5:45