The Holy See
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International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee

A Memorandum of Understanding

23 dicembre 1970 Vatican City: Initial Meeting


In the relationship between Catholics and Jews the concerns of both groups are religiously based but they extend over the whole complex of what people do wherever they live.

A model of the practical development of this relationship must therefore be based on a structure which has religious faith as its premise. It must be so organized as to respect absolutely the integrity of both our faiths and it finds its justification in a shared responsibility based on biblical faith towards one another and towards the world.

Two main areas of concern can be distinguished:

1. Questions concerning our mutual relationship

a) Manifestations of antisemitism in various parts of the world. Obstacles in Jewish-Christian relations. Origin and causes of the lack of mutual confidence.

b) Elimination of antisemitism in all its forms as demanded by the Vatican Declaration Nostra Aetate, particularly in text-books of religious teaching and history in order to present respectfully Judaism according to its own understanding on all levels of teaching and education. Liturgical and para-liturgical texts and expressions should be examined with a view to avoiding offensive references to or representation of Judaism, without compromising the legitimate differences between the Church and Judaism.

c) Promotion of mutual understanding by a fair and adequate presentation of our respective faiths in their specific identities through all means of education. At a later stage studies might be undertaken of the common heritage of Jews and Christians in order to further the understanding both of each other and of their common responsibility to humanity and the world.

d) Amongst the problems concerning mutual understanding, special attention should be given to the ways in which the relationship between religious community, people and land are conceived in the Jewish and Christian traditions respectively.

2. Questions of common concern

a) The promotion of justice and peace in the world, as well as of human freedom and dignity; the fight against poverty and racism and all forms of discrimination, and the protection of human rights, both of individuals or groups, should be fields of special collaboration between Christians and Jews. Religious liberty should be a joint concern in all cases where it is threatened or denied.

b) Study should be made of the ways in which Judaism and Christianity as communities deriving from the biblical faith in one God as Creator, concerned with the fate of this world, can face together the problems besetting religion in the modern age.

c) The respective relations of Judaism and Christianity to other world religions should be considered as an important field of study. Special attention should be given in this respect to Islam as the other great monotheistic religion.