JERUSALEM – Communique of the bilateral commission meeting of the delegation of the Holy See’s commission for religious relations with the Jews and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s delegation for relations with the Catholic Church (Jerusalem, April 29-30, 2013 ; Iyar 19-20; 5773).
The Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel held its 12th
meeting in Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Jerusalem. The meeting dedicated its
first day to celebrating the memory of Pope John XXIII on the 50th
anniversary of his death, with a conference on his historic role in
transforming the attitude and teaching of the Catholic Church towards
the Jewish people, based on mutual respect and affirmation of the
eternal Covenant between God and Israel in keeping with the declaration
Nostra Aetate of the Second Vatican Council.
Meeting shortly after the ascension of Pope Francis to the Papacy,
the Commission noted his past well-known deep engagement and friendship
with the Jewish community in Buenos Aires in particular. The Commission
accordingly looks forward to the continuation and deepening of
Catholic-Jewish relations during his Papacy, following on from the
historic strides under his predecessors.
At this very time these are being epitomized in a particular way in
the meeting taking place at the Vatican between Pope Francis and
President Shimon Peres, who had sent a message of greeting to the
Conference accordingly. This meeting in Rome was noted with satisfaction
by the Commission.
The Commission reaffirmed the importance of educating our respective
communities about the nature, substance and significance of these
The Commission accordingly calls on the Israeli Ministry of
Education, and on the Holy See’s Congregation for Catholic Education to
explore ways and means by which the above-mentioned developments and
their substance – together with respect for the identity and integrity
of each other – can become an integral part of the required syllabus of
educational institutions under their respective authorities.
The mutual respect and friendship that has been established between
us over recent years, brings with it the responsibility not only to
present each other the way each sees themselves; but also to defend and
advance the wellbeing of each others’ community.
This requires us to stand up against prejudice and threats – in
particular against Jews and Christians. Especially where one community
is the dominant ethos of a country and the other is a vulnerable
minority, the responsibility on the former is even greater.
Accordingly, the Catholic delegation reaffirms the commitment of the
Holy See to do its utmost to combat anti-Semitism everywhere, in keeping
with the declaration Nostra Aetate, and especially where the dominant
ethos is Catholic; and the delegation from the Chief Rabbinate reaffirms
its resolve to do its utmost to promote the wellbeing of the Christian
minority in the State of Israel.
In this regard, the Commission expresses its fervent hope that the
protracted negotiations between the Holy See and the State of Israel to
resolve all outstanding issues will be speedily resolved and ratified.
In conclusion the Bilateral Commission reaffirmed its trust in the
Lord of Creation and History, giving thanks for its dialogue and common
witness, and asking for His continued blessing on its endeavors.
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