FaithWorld

Extend Catholic-Jewish amity to Islam, Jewish official tells dialogue meeting

February 28, 2011
coexist

(An art exhibition poster reading "coexist" using the Islamic crescent, Jewish David Star and Christian cross, in Jerusalem, May 13, 2001 /Reinhard Krause)

The historic reconciliation between Jews and Roman Catholics over the past 40 years should be extended to Muslims to deal with the challenges of the 21st century, a senior Jewish official has said. The regular dialogue the two faiths have maintained since the Catholic Church renounced anti-Semitism at the Second Vatican Council should be “a model for transformed relations with Islam,” Rabbi Richard Marker told the opening session of a meeting reviewing four decades of efforts to forge closer ties after 1,900 years of Christian anti-Semitism and to ask how the dialogue can progress in the future.

“Forty years in the histories of two great world religions is but a blink of an eye,” Marker, chairman of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultation, said on Sunday evening. “But 40 years of a relationship is a sign of its maturity.”

“The focus of the world is no longer specifically on Jewish- Christian amity. We must, for so many reasons, involve the third of our Abrahamic siblings… Islam,” he added.

meeting 1

(Catholic-Jewish meeting at the College des Bernardins in Paris, 27 February 2011/Tom Heneghan

Major faiths have held countless bilateral meetings to foster better ties since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) launched the world’s largest church on the path of dialogue. Christian and Jewish leaders increasingly meet their Muslim counterparts to seek common ground and better understanding, but none of these discussions have the history or depth of the Catholic-Jewish dialogue officially begun in 1971.

In those 40 years, the Catholic Church has apologized for its sins against the Jewish people and recognized Judaism as its spiritual “elder brother,” a step that Jewish leaders praise as a historic change in perspective. The dialogue has not always been easy. There is still much mutual misunderstanding at the grass-roots level and Jewish leaders are quick to criticize the Vatican over divisive topics, especially related to the Holocaust.

Read the full story here. See also our timeline “Ups and Downs in Catholic-Jewish relations.”

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