1946 Vatican Document on Jewish Children

English text of an unsigned 1946 French letter from the Vatican to Catholic church authorities in France.

 
The following is the English translation of a French document published in The New York Times on January 8, 2005. Since that date, questions have arisen about its authenticity.



Paris, October 23, 1946



Concerning Jewish children who were entrusted to Catholic institutions and families during the German occupation and are now demanded by Jewish institutions to be handed over to them, the Holy Congregation of the Holy Office has made a decision that can be summarized in this way:



1) Avoid, as much as possible, responding in writing to Jewish authorities, but rather do it orally.



2) Each time a response is necessary, it is necessary to say that the Church must conduct investigations in order to study each case individually.



3) Children who have been baptized must not be entrusted to institutions that would not be in a position to guarantee their Christian upbringing.



4) For children who no longer have their parents, given the fact that the Church has responsibility for them, it is not acceptable for them to be abandoned by the Church or entrusted to any persons who have no rights over them, at least until they are in a position to choose themselves. This, evidently, is for children who would not have been baptized.



5) If the children have been turned over by their parents, and if the parents reclaim them now, providing that the children have not received baptism they can be given back.



It is to be noted that this decision of the Holy Congregation of the Holy Office has been approved by the Holy Father.

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