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COMMISSION FOR RELIGIOUS RELATIONS WITH THE JEWS

FIFTH MEETING

OF INTERNATIONAL LIAISON COMMITTEE

Jerusalem, March 1-3, 1976

I.

L'Osservatore Romano in its issue of February 26, 1976 presented the news of the coming meeting in Jerusalem as follows:

The fifth meeting of the international Liaison Committee between the Catholic Church and Judaism will take piace in Jerusalem, March 1-3. This com­mittee, established at Rome in 1970, has already met four times: at Paris in December 1970, at Marseilles in December 1972, at Antwerp in December 1973, at Rome in January 1975.

This fifth meeting of the committee take piace at the Martin Buber Center of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Mt. Scopus, a section which has been Israeli territory from its beginning. The meeting will have for its theme the following agenda: " Evaluation of ten years of relations between the Catholic Church and Judaism. Critical reflections on what has happened since the Vatican II declaration Nostra Aetate with a view to seeking lessons and prospectives for the future ".

The theme of this meeting was established in preparatory meetings held at Rome in March and at Geneva in October 1975. Two reports will form the basis of the discussion, one by Rabbi Henry Siegman, Executive Vice President of the Synagogue Council of America (USA), the other by the Rev. Laurentius Klein, Abbot of the Abbey of the Dormition (Jeru­salem). After these two presentations the members of the Liaison Committee and experts will exchange views in an effort to arrive at some precise conclusions.

As usual in these meetings, there will be exchange of information on problems of common interest, as well as free exchange of ideas about recent events or facts.

The program of the meeting will include an official visit to Yad-Vashem, the memorial to the deportation victims, and an official courtesy visit to the Grand Rabbi.

The Work sessions of the meeting will be closed to the public. Journalists will not be present. It is expected that there will be a joint communiqué at the end of of the meeting.

Before the formal sessions of the meeting begin, the two delegations will spend two days together in the religious kibbutz of Lavi, near Nazareth. Present with them for those two days will be a delegation of the World Council of Churches which concludes on February 27 its own annual meeting with repre­sentatives of Judaism. The Catholic delegation will spend Sunday, February 29, at Nazareth.

L'Osservatore Romano in its issue of March 14, 1976 presented this account of the meeting in Jeru­salem:

The meeting which this newspaper announced in its issue of February 26, the meeting of the Interna­tional Liaison Committee between Jews and Ca­tholics, took piace at Jerusalem March 1-3. It was the fifth meeting of its kind since the establishment of the Committee in 1970 to promote religious dialogue between Jews and Catholics. The preceding meetings were held in Paris, Marseilles, Antwerp and Rome.

From the information given to the press at the end of the meeting we present the following news on the proceedings.

The chief theme of the dialogue was an evalua­tion, made in common, of the more important de­velopments in relations between Jews and Catholics since the publication of the Vatican II declaration Nostra Aetate, which, in n. 4, deals with relations between the Catholic Church and Judaism. In the first session of the meeting two of the participants, one a Jew and the other a Catholic, read papers and in this way presented the theme of the meeting.

Speaking for the Jews, Rabbi Henry Siegman, Executive Vice President of the Synagogue Council of America, stressed that publication by the Holy See in January 1975 of " Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate (n. 4) " constituted a significant forward step. Rabbi Siegman then outlined, among other things, how the two sides approach the dialogue, the Jews taking more of a historical viewpoint and Catholics stressing more a theological approach.

The Rev. Laurentius Klein, Abbot of the Be­nedictine Abbey of the Dormition on Mount Sion, read the introductory paper for the Catholic side. He showed the various difficulties encountered in the attempt to find mutual comprehension between Ca­tholics and Jews, including those stemming from the different philosophical and cultural positions from which the concept of religion is seen on each side. Abbot Klein added that often on each side there can be seen excessive emphasis on one's own preoccu­pations and a lack of sensibility for those of the other side. He concluded by underlining the importance of exchange on the various spiritual experiences of each side.

There was then a discussion on those two papers. Both the members and the experts of the two dele­gations took part. At the end there was agreement on the need to probe further the themes that had been handled, beginning with examination of the concepts of " mission " and " witness " and their implications in the Jewish-Christian dialogue.

When this part of the program was finished, they turned to the planned exchange of information on topics of common interest. Among those that were discussed we underline the following which, on account of their religious character, were relevant to the proper scope of the meeting: the possibilities opening up for promoting religious liberty and other human rights, on the basis of the Helsinki Conference and the United Nations convention on civil and po­litical rights (which will come into effect on the 23rd of this month); the opportunity for organizing meetings, at local and national level but also at regional level, like the one held at Bogotà last February 8-9 between representatives of the Ecumenical Department of the Council of Bishops of Latin America and represen­tatives of the Latin American Jewish Congress.

In addition to the work sessions there were some significant rnanìfestations and meetings: the Catholic delegates visited the two Grand Rabbis of Israel, Shlomo Goren and Obadiah Joseph. All the parti­cipants exchanged ideas with the heads of the local Catholic communities, at the Ecumenical Center of Tantur, especially on the problem of how to promote interreligious dialogue in the Holy Land. The Liaison Committee spent Saturday, February 28, in a religious kibbutz of Galilee and held a ceremony at Yad Vashem, the piace sacred to the memory of the victims of the antisemitic persecutions.

 

The Catholic delegation was composed as follows:

 Head of the Delegation

Mons. Ramon Torrella Cascante, titular Bishop of Minervino Murge, Vice-President of the Secre­tariat for Promoting Christian Unity (Vatican City)

Members

Bishop Francis J. Mugavero of Brooklyn, Pre­sident of the Secretariat for Jewish-Catholic Relations of the United States National Conference of Catholic Bishops (New York)

Father Pierre-M. de Contenson, O.P., official of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity and secretary of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews (Vatican City)

Father Bernard Dupuy, O.P., secretary of the French Bishops' Committee for Relations with the Jews (Paris)

Substitute members

Father Jacques Marcel Dubois, O.P., Superior of the House of St Isaiah, professor at the University of Jerusalem, Consultor of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews (Jerusalem)

Rev. Edward H. Flannery, secretary of the Sec­retariat for Jewish-Catholic Relations of the United States National Conference of Catholic Bishops (Washington)

Experts

Abbot Laurentius Klein, O.S.B., Benedictine abbey of Mount Zion (Jerusalem)

Father Carlo Martini, S.J., Rector of the Pon­tificai Biblica] Institute and consultor of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews (Rome)

Mons. George G. Higgins, Research Secretary of the United States National Conference of Catholic Bishops (Washington)

Father Joseph Stiassny, Notre Dame de Sion (Jerusalem)

Rev. Michel de Goedt (Jerusalem)

Sister Shirley Sedawie, N.D.S. (Jerusalem)

Rev. Laurenz Volken, M.S. (Jerusalem)

 

The Jewish delegation was composed as follows:

Head of the Delegation

Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein, President of the Synagogue Council of America and Chairman of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (New York)

 

Members

Rabbi Henry Siegman, Executive Vice-President of the Synagogue Council of America (New York)

Dr Gerhardt M. Riegner, Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress (Geneva)

Dr Joseph L. Lichten, consultor of the Anti Defamation League of "B'nai B'rith " (Rome)

Dr Zachariah Schuster, consultor of the Americar Jewish Committee (Paris, France)

Prof. Shemaryahu Talmon, of the Jewish Council for Interreligious Relations in Israel (Jerusalem)

 

Experts

Dr Fritz Becker, permanent representative Rome of the World Jewish Congress (Rome)

Dr Bernard Resnikoff, of the American Jewis Committee (Jerusalem)

Dr Ernst L. Ehrlich, European Director of " B'nai B'rith " (Basel, Switzerland)

Prof. André Chouraqui, Chairman of the Israel Interfaith Committee (Jerusalem)

Rabbi Balfour Brickner, " Synagogue Council of America" (New York)

Mr. Joseph Emmanuel, " Israel Interfaith Committee " (Jerusalem)

Mr. Theodore Freedman, Anti Defamation League of " B'nai B'rith " (New York)

Mr. Abraham Karlikow, American Jewish Commitee (Paris)

Dr Nathan Lerner, World Jewish Congress (1 Aviv)

Dr Paul Warzshawski, World Jewish Congress (Buenos Aires)

Prof. R. J. Zvi Werblowsky " Jewish Council Israel for Interreligious Consultations " (Jerusalem)

 

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