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OCTOBER 13-16, 2013


The International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee (ILC) is the official forum for ongoing dialogue between the Holy See´s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC).  The 22nd meeting of the ILC took place in Madrid, Spain, from 13-16 October, 2013, hosted by the Spanish Bishops´ Conference and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain.  Jewish and Christian representatives from five continents attended the gathering.  Ms. Betty Ehrenberg, Chair of IJCIC and Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, co-chaired the meeting. 

The theme of the meeting was ¨Challenges for Religion in Contemporary Society¨.  These challenges were addressed in a series of presentations, discussions and workshops on the social, political, cultural, ethical, and religious circumstances in which men and women today seek to express their religious beliefs and follow the teachings of their religious traditions.

Our Shared Heritage

Jews and Christians share the heritage of the biblical testimony of God´s relationship with the human family throughout history.  Our Scriptures bear witness to both individuals and the people as a whole being called, taught, guided and protected by Divine Providence.  In light of this sacred history, Catholic and Jewish participants in the meeting responded to emerging opportunities and difficulties facing religious belief and practice in today's world.

Nearly fifty years ago the Second Vatican Council promulgated the Declaration Nostra Aetate, setting the Catholic Church on a new path in its relations with the Jewish people.  The establishment of the ILC as the instrument for formal relations between the Holy See and the international Jewish community is among the most significant fruits of Nostra Aetate.  Open discussion in a spirit of mutual trust and respect characterized our meeting in Madrid and continues the progress made in teaching and implementing the principles enunciated in that fundamental Declaration.  At this 22nd meeting, we reaffirmed the unique relationship between Catholics and Jews based on a common spiritual legacy and our shared responsibility to defend human dignity. 

As Catholics and Jews we strive to build a world in which human rights are recognized and respected and where all peoples and societies can flourish in peace and freedom.  We commit ourselves to strengthen our collaboration in the pursuit of an ever more just and equitable distribution of resources, so that all may benefit from advances in science, medicine, education and economic development.  We see ourselves as partners in healing our created world so that it may reflect ever more brightly the original biblical vision: "And God saw all that God had made, and behold it was very good." (Gen. 1:31)

In small group discussions, the delegates examined the current rise of anti-Semitism, the growing phenomenon of the persecution of Christians in various parts of the world, and threats to religious freedom in many societies.  In light of our shared religious ideals, we examined the real difficulties facing our religious traditions today, including violence, terrorism, extremism, discrimination, and poverty.  We are deeply saddened to see God's name desecrated by evil couched in religious terms.

Religious Freedom

Encouraged in our work by Pope Francis' expressions of his concern for the universal welfare of all, particularly the poor and the oppressed, we share the belief in the God-given dignity of every individual.  This requires that each person be accorded full freedom of conscience and freedom of religious expression individually and institutionally, privately and publicly.   We deplore the abuse of religion, the use of religion for political ends.  Both Jews and Catholics condemn persecution on religious grounds.

We call on political leaders and governments, on individuals, and on religious leaders and institutions to act to ensure the physical safety and legal protection of all who exercise the fundamental right to religious freedom; to protect the right to change or leave one's religious belief; to protect the right to manifest one's religious beliefs; to educate one's children in accordance with these beliefs.  Among the religious claims under attack today that fall within the right to be protected are the right to religious slaughter, male circumcision, and the use and display of religious symbols in public.

Persecution of Christians

The ILC recommends to the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and IJCIC to work together on situations involving the persecution of Christian minorities worldwide as they arise; to call attention to these problems and to support efforts to guarantee full citizenship to all citizens regardless of religious or ethnic identity in the Middle East and beyond.  Further, we encourage efforts to promote the well-being of minority Christian and Jewish communities throughout the Middle East.

The Rise of Anti-Semtism

As Pope Francis has repeatedly said, "a Christian cannot be an anti-Semite."  We encourage all religious leaders to continue to be a strong voice against this sin.  The celebration of the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate in 2015  is a privileged moment in which to reaffirm its condemnation of anti-Semitism.  We urge that anti-Semitic teachings be eliminated from preaching and textbooks everywhere in the world.  Similarly, any expression of anti-Christian sentiment is equally unacceptable.


We recommend that all Jewish and Catholic seminaries include instruction about Nostra Aetate and the subsequent documents of the Holy See implementing the Council's Declaration in their curricula.  As a new generation of Jewish and Catholic leaders arises, we underscore the profound ways that Nostra Aetate changed the relationship between Jews and Catholics.   It is imperative that the next generation embrace these teachings and ensure that they reach every corner of the world. 

In the face of these challenges, we Catholics and Jews renew our commitment to educate our own respective communities in the knowledge of and respect for each other.  We agree to cooperate to improve the lives of those on the margins of society, the poor, the sick, refugees, victims of human trafficking, and to protect God's creation from the dangers posed by climate change.  We cannot do this alone; we call on all those in positions of authority and influence to join in serving the common good so that all may live in dignity and security, and so that justice and peace may prevail.

The agenda of the ILC meeting and a list of participants and presenters are attached.

International Catholic – Jewish Liaison Committee

-22nd Meeting -

Madrid, 13 -17 October 2013


Challenges for Religion in Contemporary Society


Sunday, 13 October 2013



Greetings :


The Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews
(Cardinal Kurt Koch)

International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations
(Ms. Betty Ehrenberg)

President of the Spanish Catholic Bishops Conference
(Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela)

Representatives of the Jewish Community of Spain
(President Isaac Querub Caro, Chief Rabbi Moises Bendahan)

Represenstative of the Government of Spain

Monday, 14 October 2013


Plenary Session I

Challenges to Religion in the Modern Age:  Jewish and Catholic Responses


Moderator:  Rabbi Richard Marker

Catholic speaker:  Father Lawrence Frizzell

Jewish speaker:  Rabbi David Sandmel

Plenary Session II

Challenges to Religion in Contemporary Society: Religious and Ethical Perspectives


Moderator:  Fr. Christian Rutishauser

Catholic speaker:  Mons. Francisco Javier Martinez Fernandez

Jewish speaker:  Rabbi Eugene Korn


Visit to Casa Sefarad


Musical Performances by the Boys Choir of Abadia Benedictina de la Santa Cruz and the Eduardo Paniagua Group



Tuesday 15 October 2013


Plenary Session III


Catholic – Jewish Relations in Spain Today


Moderator:  Fr. Manuel Barrios

Catholic speaker: Mons. Juan Antonio Martínez Camino

Jewish speaker:Mauricio Toledano

Plenary Session IV

Challenges to Religion by New Political Realities


Moderator:  Martin Budd

Catholic speaker:  Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa

Jewish speaker: Rabbi David Rosen


Program at Toledo: 


Tour of Toledo


The Legacy of Maimonides in Christian Spain: Embrace and Controversy

Speaker:  Professor David Berger

               Fundación Real de Toledo


Wednesday 16 October 2013


Plenary Session V


Reports from the Working Groups on Current Issues

The Rise Anti-Semitism

Issues of Religious Freedom

Persecution of Christians

“Israel’s Relations with the Holy See – The Challenges Ahead”

Israel's Ambassador to the Holy See Zion Evrony

Plenary Session VI  


Presentation of the “Joint Declaration"

Closing Words:

The Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews
(Cardinal Kurt Koch)

International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations
(Ms. Betty Ehrenberg)


Closing Dinner at the Jewish Community Center


Welcome: Chief Rabbi Moises Bendahan

Greetings, David Hatchwell, President of the Jewish Community of Madrid


Working Groups


·         Current Issues:  Possible Strategies for Cooperation

1)   Rise of Anti-Semitism

Co-moderated by Martin Budd and Dr. Hans Hermann Henrix

2)    Persecution of Christians

Co-moderated by Rabbi Daniel Polish and Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo

3)    Issues of Religious Freedom

Co-moderated by Rabbi David Sapersteinand Father Silverio Nieto Núnez


International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee

Madrid, 13 – 16 de octubre 2013



Invitados directamente por la Pontificia Comisión par las Relaciones Religiosas con el Judaísmo:


Cardenal Kurt Koch – Presidente de la Pontificia Comisión

Obispo William Francis Murphy –Rockville Centre  - NY

Obispo Heinrich Mussinghoff – Aachen (Alemania)

Obispo Brian Farrell – Vicepresidente Pontificia Comisión

Obispo Giacinto Marcuzzo – Nazaret –Patriarcado Latino – Católico

Metropolita Emanuel - Patriarcado Ecuménico – París (Francia

P. Pierbattista Pizzaballa OFM –Custos Terrae Sanctae

Rev. Joseph Sievers – Pontificio Instituto Bíblico

Rev. Lawrence Frizzell -Instituto de Estudios Judeo-Cristianos – New Jersey

Rev. Pier Francesco Fumagalli - Director Biblioteca Ambrosiana

P. Christian Rutishauser S.J.  Provincial de Suiza

P. Norbert Hofmann SDB - Secretario Pontificia Comisión

Dr. Hans Hermann Henrix Academia Episcopal de Aachen (Alemania)

Invitados por la Pontificia Comisión par las Relaciones Religiosas con el Judaísmo a propuesta de la Conferencia Epsicopal Española:


Cardenal Antonio Mª Rouco Varela – Arzobispo de Madrid

Cardenal D. Luis Martínez Sistach –Arzobispo de Barcelona

Arzobispo Braulio Rodríguez Plaza –Arzobispo de Toledo

Arzobispo F. Javier Martínez Fernández –Arzobispo de Granada - Comisión CEE

Obispo Román Casanova Casanova – Comisión CEE

Obispo D. Alfonso Carrasco Rouco –Obispo de Lugo

Obispo D. Juan Antonio Martínez Camino - Secretario CEE

Obispo César A. Franco Martínez – Comisión CEE

Rev. Javier Mª Prades López – Rector San Dámaso

Rev. Patricio de Navascués Benlloch - Profesor San Dámaso

Rev. José Miguel García Pérez - Profesor san Dámaso

P. José Ramón Busto Saiz, S.J.- Profesor Comillas

Doña Mayte Rodríguez  _Directora Centro de Estudios Judeo-Cristianos

Rev. Silverio Nieto Núñez  - Profesor Comillas - CEE

Rev. Manuel Barrios Prieto – CEE - responsable de la organización en Madrid


List of Participants – IJCIC Delegation

International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee

Madrid, 13–16 October 2013


Ms. Betty Ehrenberg – Chair, IJCIC – World Jewish Congress

Mr. Martin Budd – Vice Chair, IJCIC – Anti-Defamation League

Rabbi David Sandmel – Treasurer, IJCIC – Central Conference of American Rabbis

Mr. Michel Azaria – France

Rabbi Yehuda Benguigui – Marbella, Spain

Dr. David Berger – Rabbinical Council of America

Rabbi Alvin Berkun – Rabbinical Assembly

Rabbi Richard Block – Central Conference of American Rabbis

Mr. Jeremy Jones – American Jewish Committee – Australia

Rabbi Eugene Korn –Israel Jewish Council on Interreligious Relations

Rabbi Gustavo Kraselnik – Panama

Rabbi Richard Marker – Rabbinical Assembly

Mr. Nuno Wahnon Martins – B’nai B’rith International

Rabbi Joel Meyers – World Jewish Congress

Rabbi Dan Polish – Central Conference of American Rabbis

Rabbi David Rosen – American Jewish Committee

Rabbi Isaac Sacca – Argentina

Rabbi David Saperstein – Union for Reform Judaism

Rabbi Michael Schudrich – Poland

Mr. Mauricio Toledano – Secretary General, Federación de Comunidades Judías en España



Mr. Oren Bar El – Ministro Consejero, Israeli Embassy in Madrid

Ms. Flora Berkun

Mr. Raphael Cohen – Marbella, Spain

Ambassador Zion Evrony – Ambassador of Israel to the Holy See

Dr. Mirele Goldsmith

Ms. Lila Korn

Mr. Uriel Macias – Spain

Ms. Astrid Misrahi – Spain

Ms. Marina Lara Rodriguez – Centro de Estudios Judeo Cristianos

Ms. Adina Suberi – World Jewish Congress

Ms. Esther Sutton Dabah – Argentina