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COMMISSION FOR RELIGIOUS RELATIONS WITH THE JEWS

 

 

Taking into account the development of closer relations concerning matters of religion between the Catholic Church and Judaism and the Catholic Church and Islam, the Holy Father has decided to create two commissions for relations with these religions.

The two Commissions come under, respectively, the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity and the Secretariat for Non-Christians.

Each Commission has for President and Vice President the Cardinal President and the Secretary of the Secretariat under which it comes, and each Commission will have eight consultors. Each Commission has its own Secretary, who is a member of the staff of the Secretariat under which the Commission comes.

 

Among the facts that illustrate the recent development in relations between the Catholic Church and Judaism on a religious plane there can be cited the important Catholic participation in local groups aimed at fostering Hebrew-Christian friendship.

There have also been cases of common action and collaboration uniting Catholics and Jews, oftentimes within the greater context of interconfessional committees. Moreover on the local level there can be mentioned certain studies and research conducted with the intention of making catechetics more faithful to the principles happily re-proposed and rendered precise by the Second Vatican Council.

On the level of the universal Church, besides a more lively awareness of the existence of Judaism in the world and of its affinities and differences in regard to Christianity in the context of a close coexistence, it is necessary to point out that after various contacts between authorities of the Roman Curia and exponents of important Jewish organizations, an official meeting was held in Rome, December 20-23, 1970. In the course of this meeting it was decided to set up an International Liaison Committee between the Catholic Church and Judaism. On the Jewish side the members of this Committee and their alternates were named or approved by the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations. In the latter are represented the principal tendencies of contemporary Judaism and likewise its more important geographical groups. On the Catholic side the members of the Liaison Committee were named by the Holy Father upon the proposal of the Cardinal President of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity.

The International Liaison Committee between the Catholic Church and world Judaism has already held three annual sessions: in Paris, December 14 to 16, 1971, in Marseilles, December 18 to 20, 1972, and in Antwerp, December 4 to 6, 1973. It is principally from this Committee that the suggestion came to create in the Vatican a Commission for relations with Judaism.

Having been instituted as a distinct organism but joined to the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, this Commission was created by the Holy Father with the scope of promoting and fostering relations of a religious nature between Jews and Catholics.

Besides having true and proper relations with Judaism on a worldwide plane, this Commission is at the disposal Y within the limits of its competence Y of all the interested bodies or those concerned with Jewish-Christian relations, in order to supply them with information and receive information from them, and in order to help them to pursue their goals in conformity with the directives of the Holy See.

The Commission must endeavour to develop its activities for the effective and just realization of the orientations given by the Second Vatican Council, particularly in Section Four of the Declaration Nostra Aetate of October 28, 1965.

   

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