Trials in Jewish-Catholic Relations

A key turning point in the relationship between Catholics and Jews was reached 50 years ago with the Second Vatican Council document on inter-religious relations, a cardinal and rabbi told a group of religious leaders on May 20. The document, the “Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions,” promulgated on Oct. 28, 1965, by Blessed Paul VI, was described by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, as “the compass of reconciliation between Jews and Christians today and into the future.” Rabbi Irving Greenberg, author and scholar, praised the document for its courage, saying its authors had to “override church fathers.” The two religious leaders spoke at a conference marking the historic document’s 50th anniversary at The Catholic University of America in Washington. Cardinal Koch stressed that the Catholic Church “has a unique and distinctive relationship with Judaism that is has with no other religion, and it cannot understand itself without reference to Judaism.”

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