2014-02-13 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) During meetings with Pope Francis and top Vatican officials on Thursday, Jewish leaders shared hopes of a deepening of theological dialouge and increased practical cooperation in service of the poor and needy. Members of the American Jewish Committee met with the Pope and held talks with Vatican Secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, as well as with the head of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, Cardinal Kurt Koch, sharing common concerns over protecting religious freedom, working together for the common good and deepening the theological dialogue, ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate.
Following the audience, Philippa Hitchen caught up with Rabbi David Rosen, international director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee, to find out more these meetings, as well as challenges in Catholic-Jewish relations and Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the Holy Land next May:
Rabbi Rosen said: “What was really significant is the sense that a Jewish group comes for a meeting with the Pope and there’s an atmosphere of a family reunion….this is not only his remarkable charism as a personality, which we’ve seen has an impact right around the world….but it’s especially so for the Jewish community….
This Pope’s friendships and writing a book with a Jewish Rabbi, his visits to synagogues and opening his cathedral for Holocaust commemorations all create a sense that it’s a reunion with a friend – and a friend that really cares…
The biggest challenge for us is being able to bring, if you like, the Good News to the grassroots around the world…..there are many places where enormous ignorance about one another still prevails….I even meet bishops some places who don’t know what (the Vatican II document) Nostra Aetate is in terms of its content….
There are still plenty of relics of a tragic past to be found and you can see in many parts of the world a resurgent anti-Semitism so there’s plenty to reinforce historical fears…..but the Catholic Church today is part of the solution, not part of the problem…
I would like to see a new document that would not only draw together all essential teachings that have come out of the Magisterium since the Second Vatican Council but also clarify some of the complex issues in terms of the nature of our faith communities...."