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Madrid, April 5-7, 1978

The seventh annual meeting of the International Liaison Committee between the Catholic Church and Judaism, took place in Madrid, Spain, from April 5th to 7th. The first session took place in Toledo, in what is now called the Transito Synagogue, to commemorate the Jewish presence in Spain till 1492. The Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, Don Marcelo Gonzáles Martin, had previously received the Committee, in his residence, and spoke warmly about Jewish -Christian relations in general and in Spain in particular. Rabbi Ronald Sobel, Chairman of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious consultations, and Msgr. Charles Moeller, Vicepresident of the Vatican Commission for religious relations with Judaism, responded on behalf of the delegations. Cardinal Gonzáles Martin participated also in the first session in the Synagogue.

The working sessions of the Conference took place in the Centro Comunal of the Comunidad Israelita de Madrid (Balmes, 3). The main subject was the image of Judaism in Christian education and the image of Christianity in Jewish education. On the Christian side, a series of papers were delivered by Fr. Jorge Mejía, Secretary of the Vatican Commission, Prof. Clemens Thoma, from Luzern (Switzerland), Fr. Bernard Dupuy O.P. from Paris, Fr. Vicente Serrano, from Madrid and Dr. Eugene Fisher, from Washington D.C. (U.S.A.). After a general presentation of existing official Catholic statements regarding Jews and Judaism, the situation in the main language areas was presented and the progress in the recent years assessed. On the Jewish side, two papers were introduced by Prof. Sidney B. Hoenig, of Dropsie University (Philadelphia) (U.S.A.) and Prof. Shemaryahu Talmon, of Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Israel). The first paper provided an historical overview of Jewish teaching on Christianity throughout the ages and analyzed the presentation of Christianity in contemporary Jewish educational material currently used in Israeli schools. As in the case of Catholic teaching on Jews and Judaism, it was noted that significant progress has been made in Jewish teaching about Christianity.

The second part of the meeting was devoted to an exchange of information on the recent Israeli law on preselytism, the human rights situation in several parts of the world, the resurgence of nazism and antisemitism in Germany and other countries, the Catholic-Muslim dialogue and the beginnings of contacts between Muslims and Jews.

The delegates were guests at a reception given by the Centro de Estudio Judeo-Cristianos of Madrid and took part in a Kabbalat Shabbat (Sabbath service) and a dinner hosted by the Jewish Community in Madrid. The Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Don Vicente Enrique y Tarancón, his auxiliary Bishop, Don Ricardo Blanco, and Mr. Eduardo Zulueta, Director General of Religious Affairs in the Ministry of Justice, were among the guests of honour.

Msgr. Moeller and Rabbi Sobel, as Co-Chairmen of the meeting, in expressing the feelings of the participants, underlined the particular warmth and friendship which marked the three day consultation in Toledo and Madrid and the common determination to pursue the objectives and goals of the Committee.

Madrid, April 7th, 1978.


The Catholic participants were:

Members: Mgr. Charles MOELLER, Vice-President of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism (Vatican City); Rev. Jorge MEJIA, Secretary of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism (Vatican City); Prof. Roger LE DEAUT, Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome; Father Bernard DUPUY, O.P., Secretary of the Commission for Relations with the Jews of the French Episcopal Conference, Paris.

Experts: Mgr. George HIGGINS, Secretary for Research, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington D.C.; Dr. Eugene S. FISHER, Secretary, Secretariat for Catholic Jewish Relations, National Conference of Bishops, Washington D.C.; Father Vicente SERRANO, Director, Centro de Estudios Judeo Cristianos, Madrid; Father Jacques Marcel DUBOIS, O.P., Professor, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Israel); Prof. Clemens THOMA, Director, Institutum Judaicum (Lucerne).

The Jewish participants were:

Members: Rabbi Ronald B. SOBEL, Chairman, International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (New-York); Rabbi Henry SIEGMAN, Executive Vice-President, Synagogue Council of America (New York); Dr. Gerhart M. RIEGNER, Secretary General World Jewish Congress, Geneva; Rabbi Marc H. TANENBAUM, Director, Department of Interreligious Affairs, American Jewish Committee (New York); Dr. Joseph L. LICHTEN, Representative, Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, Rome; Prof. Shemaryahu TALMON, Chairman, Jewish Council on Interreligious Consultations in Israel (Jerusalem).

Experts: Mr. Fritz BECKER, Representative, World Jewish Congress, Rome;  Rabbi Balfour BRICKNER, Director, Department Interreligious Relations, Union of American Hebrew Congregation (New York);  Mr. André CHOURAQUI, Chairman of the Council, Interfaith Committee in Israel (Jerusalem);  Dr. Ernest Ludwig EHRLICH, Director, B'nai B'rith (Riehen-Basel);  Mr. Theodore FREEDMAN, Director, National Program Division, Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (New-York);  Prof. Sidney B. HOENIG, Dropsie University (Philadelphia); Mr. Zachariah SHUSTER, Consultant, American Jewish Committee (Paris);  Dr. Paul WARSZAWSKY, Assistant Director, Latin-American Office, World Jewish Congress (Buenos Aires).

(Press Release)