31 August 2017

On the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate the Jewish Community redefines Catholic Jewish Relations

On the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate the Jewish Community redefines Catholic Jewish Relations

Thursday 31st August – Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), has led a delegation to Pope Francis to present a Jewish perspective on Catholic Jewish Relations on the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate. The document, entitled ‘From Jerusalem to Rome’ sets out an approach for the two faiths to work together on issues such as Islamic Extremism and commits to deepening the dialogue and Partnership with the Catholic Church in the future.

Nostra Aetate was published fifty years ago to begin a process where the Catholic Church moved its doctrine away from any hostility toward Jews, enabling trust and confidence to grow between Judaism and Christianity.

The new document drafted by the CER, together with The Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Rabbinical Council of America, “calls upon the Church to join us (the Rabbinate) in deepening our combat against our generation’s new barbarism, namely the radical offshoots of Islam, which endanger our global society and does not spare the very numerous moderate Muslims It threatens world peace in general and the Christian and Jewish communities in particular. We call on all people of good will to join forces to fight this evil.”

The Rabbis go on to say “We ordinarily refrain from expressing expectations regarding other faith communities’ doctrines. However, certain kinds of doctrines cause real suffering; those Christian doctrines, rituals and teachings that express negative attitudes toward Jews and Judaism do inspire and nurture anti-Semitism. Therefore, to extend the amicable relations and common causes cultivated between Catholics and Jews as a result of Nostra Aetate, we call upon all Christian denominations that have not yet done so to follow the example of the Catholic Church and excise anti-Semitism from their liturgy and doctrines, to end the active mission to Jews, and to work towards a better world hand-in-hand with us, the Jewish people.”

Looking forward, the document commits to “deepen our dialogue and partnership with the Church in order to foster our mutual understanding”

Following the presentation of From Jerusalem to Rome to Pope Francis, Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt said: “This is an historic moment for relations between our two faiths, Nostra Aetate set the tone for the last 50 years and we hope that From Jerusalem to Rome will set a similar precedent going forward. The time when our two faiths were at war is over! There are many issues we can work together on and I hope that we will be able to use this as a catalyst for greater collaboration going forward.”

Below you can find English translation of Pope Francis’ speach:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I offer a cordial welcome to all of you, and in a special way to the representatives of the Conference of European Rabbis, the Rabbinical Council of America, and the Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in dialogue with the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. I thank Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt for his kind greeting in your name.

In our shared journey, by the graciousness of the Most High, we are presently experiencing a fruitful moment of dialogue. This is reflected in the Statement Between Jerusalem and Rome which you have issued and which you present to me today. This document pays particular tribute to the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration Nostra Aetate, whose fourth chapter represents the “Magna Charta” of our dialogue with the Jewish world. Indeed, the ongoing implementation of the Council’s Declaration has enabled our relations to become increasingly friendly and fraternal. Nostra Aetate noted that the origins of the Christian faith are to be found, in accordance with the divine mystery of salvation, in the Patriarchs, in Moses and in the Prophets. It also stated that, given the great spiritual heritage we hold in common, every effort must be made to foster reciprocal knowledge and respect, above all through biblical studies and fraternal discussions (cf. No.4). Consequently, in recent decades, we have been able to draw closer to one another and to engage in an effective and fruitful dialogue. We have grown in mutual understanding and deepened our bonds of friendship.

The Statement Between Jerusalem and Rome does not hide, however, the theological differences that exist between our faith traditions. All the same, it expresses a firm resolve to collaborate more closely, now and in the future. Your document is addressed to Catholics, speaking of them as “partners, close allies, friends and brothers in our mutual quest for a better world blessed with peace, social justice and security”. It goes on to say that “despite profound theological differences, Catholics and Jews share common beliefs” and also “the affirmation that religions must use moral behavior and religious education – not war, coercion or social pressure – to influence and inspire”. This is most important: may the Eternal One bless and enlighten our cooperation, so that together we can accept and carry out ever better his plans, “plans for welfare and not for evil”, for “a future and a hope” (Jer 29:11).

On the occasion of your welcome visit, I would like to express to you and to your communities beforehand my best wishes for the Jewish New Year which will begin in a few weeks. Shanah tovah! Once more I thank you for coming and I ask you to remember me in your prayers. Finally, I would invoke upon you, and upon all of us, the blessing of the Most High for the shared journey of friendship and trust that lies before us. In his mercy, may the Almighty bestow his peace upon us and upon the entire world. Shalom alechem!

If you need more information you can read next sources (linkes below):

Below you can read agreement (english and hebrew version)

Response to NA – Hebrew – 20170830-PG

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