The Catholic Church on the Jews

Pastor David J. Miner

Staff member
These are the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the Jews:​

The Catholic Church on the Jews

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16: “The Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus, and the prophets, and have persecuted us, and please not God, and are adversaries to all men; prohibiting us to speak to the nations, that they may be saved, to fill up their sins always: for the wrath of God has come upon them to the end.

Apocalypse 2:9: “I know thy tribulation and thy poverty, but thou art rich: and thou art blasphemed by them that say they are Judaites and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Apocalypse 3:9: “Behold, I will bring of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Judaites, and are not, but do lie. Behold, I will make them to come and adore before thy feet. And they shall know that I have loved thee.”

St. Thomas Aquinas, De Regimine Iudæorum: “It would be licit, according to custom, to hold Jews in perpetual servitude because of their crime.”

St. Augustine of Hippo, Against the Jews: “The Jews wander over the entire earth, their backs bent over and their eyes cast downward, forever calling to our minds the curse they carry with them.

St. Augustine of Hippo, Tractates on the Gospel of John, Tractate 35, v. 4: “The Lord Christ distinguished between his faithful ones and His Jewish enemies, as between light and darkness.”

St. Augustine of Hippo: “Judaism, since Christ, is a corruption; indeed, Judas is the image of the Jewish people: their understanding of Scripture is carnal; they bear the guilt for the death of the Savior, for through their fathers they have killed Christ. The Jews held Him; the Jews insulted Him; the Jews bound Him; they crowned Him with thorns; they scourged Him; they hanged Him upon a tree.

St. Cyprian of Carthage: “Nor is it sufficient that we call Him who is in Heaven ‘Father.’ We must add to the name ‘Our Father.’ This name rebukes and condemns the Jews who not only spurned Christ faithlessly, but also cruelly executed Him Who was announced to them by the prophets, and sent first to their nation. No longer may they call God their Father, because the Lord confounds and refutes them, saying: ‘your father is the devil’ (John 8:44). O sinful nation, O people weighed down with guilt, breed of evil-doers, lawless children, you have turned your backs on the Lord and have provoked the Holy One of Israel.

St. Agobard: “Jews are cursed and covered with malediction as by a cloak. The curse has penetrated them like water in their bowels and oil in their bones. They are cursed in the city and cursed in the country, cursed in their coming in and cursed in their going out. Cursed are the fruits of their loins, of their lands, of their flocks; cursed are their cellars, their granaries, their shops, their food, the very crumbs off their tables!”

Pope St. Leo the Great: “O Jews! Your impiety has served our salvation. The death of Christ liberates us; it accuses you. You alone, by right, lack that which should be lost to everyone.

Pope Gregory IX: “We order all our brother bishops absolutely to suppress the blasphemy of Jews in your dioceses, churches, and communities, so that they do not dare raise their necks, bent under eternal slavery, to revile the Redeemer.”

Pope Gregory IX, Epistle to the Hierarchy of Germany, 1233 AD: “Ungrateful for favors and forgetful of benefits, the Jews return insult for kindness and impious contempt for goodness. They ought to know the yoke of perpetual enslavement because of their guilt. See to it that the perfidious Jews never in the future grow insolent, but that they always suffer publicly the shame of their sin in servile fear.

Pope Innocent III, Epistle to the Hierarchy of France, July 15, 1205: “The Crucifiers of Christ ought to be held in continual subjection.”

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215 AD: “The more the Christian religion is restrained from usurious practices, so much the more does the perfidy of the Jews grow in these matters, so that within a short time they are exhausting the resources of the Christians. Wishing therefore to see that Christians are not savagely oppressed by Jews in this matter, we ordain by this synodal decree that if Jews in the future, on any pretext, extort oppressive and excessive interest from Christians, then they are to be removed from contact with Christians until they have made adequate satisfaction for the immoderate burden. Christians too, if need be, shall be compelled by ecclesiastical censure, without the possibility of an appeal, to abstain from commerce with them. We enjoin upon princes, not to be hostile to Christians on this account, but rather to be zealous in restraining Jewsfrom so great oppression.”

Pope Innocent III: “When Jews are admitted out of pity into familiar intercourse with Christians, they repay their hosts, according to the popular proverb, after the fashion of the rat hidden in the sack, or the snake in the bosom, or of the burning brand in one’s lap.”

Pope Innocent III, Etsi Iudæos: “It is fitting for Jews to serve Christians, but not for Christians to serve Jews. On the contrary, the Jews, as servants rejected by that Savior Whose death they wickedly contrived, should recognize themselves in fact and in creed the servants of those whom the death of Christ has set free, even as it has rendered them bondmen.”

Pope Clement VIII: “The Bible itself says that the Jews are an accursed people.”

Pope St. Sylvester I, First Council of Nicæa: “Concerning the prohibition of usury and base gain by the clergy; and concerning the prohibition against conversing or eating with the Jews. No priest shall set money out at interest or take unfair profit or be friendly or sociable with Jews; nor should anyone take food or drink with the Jews; for if this was decreed by the holy apostles, it is incumbent upon the faithful to obey their command; and the synod shall excommunicate anyone who does not comply with this order.”

Pope Eugene IV: “We decree and order that from now on, and for all time, Christians shall not eat or drink with the Jews, nor admit them to feasts, nor cohabit with them, nor bathe with them. […] They cannot live among Christians, but in a certain street, separated and segregatedfrom Christians, and outside which they cannot under any pretext have houses.”

Pope Alexander III, Ad Hæc: “Our ways of life and those of the Jews are utterly different, and Jews will easily pervert the souls of simple folk to their superstition and unbelief if such folk are living in continual and intimate intercourse with them.”

Bl. Bernardine of Feltre: “Canon Law forbids all intercourse with Jews.

Coucil of Elvira, Canon 50, Laws Relating to Jews, 304 AD: “Indeed, if any one of the clergy or faithful has taken a meal with Jews, he is to abstain from Communion so that he may be reformed.”

St. John Chrysostom, Eight Homilies Against the Jews: “How dare Christians have the slightest intercourse with Jews! They are lustful, rapacious, greedy, perfidious bandits: pests of the universe! Indeed, an entire day would not suffice to tell of all their rapine, their avarice, their deception of the poor, their thievery, and their huckstering. Are they not inveterate murderers, destroyers, men possessed by the devil? Jews are impure and impious, and their synagogue is a house of prostitution, a lair of beasts, a place of shame and ridicule, the domicile of the devil, as is the soul of the Jew. As a matter of fact, Jews worship the devil; their rites are criminal and unchaste; their religion a disease; their synagogue an assembly of crooks, a den of thieves, a cavern of devils, an abyss of perdition! Why are the Jews degenerate? Because of their hateful assassination of Christ. This supreme crime lies at the root of their degradation and woes. The rejection and dispersion of the Jews was done by the wrath of God because of His absolute abandonment of the Jews.Thus, the Jew will live under the yoke of slavery without end. God hates the Jews, and on Judgment Day will say to those who sympathize with them: ‘Depart from Me, for you have had intercourse with My murderers!’ Flee, then, from their assemblies, fly from their houses, and hold their synagogue in hatred and aversion.

St. Jerome: “If you call it [the synagogue] a brothel, a den of vice, the devil’s refuge, Satan’s fortress, a place to deprave the soul, an abyss of every conceivable disaster or whatever else you will, you are still saying less than it deserves.

St. Gregory of Nyssa: “Jews are slayers of the Lord, murderers of the prophets, enemies and haters of God, adversaries of grace, enemies of their fathers' faith, advocates of the devil, a brood of vipers, slanderers, scoffers, men of darkened minds, the leaven of Pharisees, a congregation of demons, sinners, wicked men, haters of goodness!

St. Basil the Great, On Prayer, Sermon IX: “If someone should kill the son of a man, and then stretch forth his hands still stained with blood to the afflicted father, asking for fellowship, would not the blood of his son, visible on the hand of his murderer, provoke him to just anger instead? And such are the prayers of the Jews, for when they stretch forth their hands in prayer, they only remind God the Father of their sin against His Son. And at every stretching-forth of their hands, they only make it obvious that they are stained with the blood of Christ. For they who persevere in their blindness inherit the blood-guilt of their fathers; for they cried out: ‘His blood be on us and on our children’” (Matthew 27:25).”

Bl. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina: “The Jews are enemies of God and foes of our holy religion.”

St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori: “Poor Jews! You invoked a dreadful curse upon your own heads; and that curse, miserable race, you carry upon you to this day, and to the End of Time you shall endure the chastisement of that innocent blood!

St. Ambrose: “The Synagogue is a godless house, a collection of wickedness, and God Himself has damned it.

St. Felix of Toledo, On the Condemnation of the Jews, Council XVII of Toledo, Canon 8: “It is known that the Jewish people are polluted with wickedness, blasphemy, and the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ so that their wickedness has no limit.”

St. Amphilocius of Iconium: “It may be that the Jews, looking for another Christ, will laugh at our wisdom; for of them the Prophet has rightly said: ‘Their sepulchers shall be their houses forever.' They laugh now, but they shall weep, for they shall weep when they look upon Him ‘Whom they have pierced.’”

Pope St. Pius V, Hebræorum Gens: “Besides usury, through which Jews everywhere have sucked dry the property of impoverished Christians, they are accomplices of thieves and robbers.”

Pope Benedict XIV, A Quo Primum, 1751: “If anyone should ask what is forbidden by the Apostolic See to Jews dwelling in the same town as Christians, he has only to read the Constitutions of the Roman Pontiffs, our predecessors Nicholas IV, Paul IV, St. Pius V, Gregory XIII, and Clement VIII found in the ‘Bullarium Romanun.’

Pope Gregory VII, Epistle to King Alphonsus of Castile: “We exhort you not to tolerate that Jews rule Christians and have power over them. For, to allow Christians to be subjected to Jews and to be delivered to their whims means to oppress the Church of God and to revile Christ Himself.”