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May 22, 1998     The Message
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May 22, 1998

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The Message for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 . D. LEE Service Parish in Washington Washington Hebrew nearby St. Alban&apos;s an annual It commemorates in November 1938 r and Austria owned by the Holocaust. people of these ties have got- enjoyed each other's ), even as they solemn event. The food, won- exquisite music, shared prayer. gious dialogue of theological tnvolves the sharing of perien'ce. of Washington is religious group is The potential for and common growth a dialogue of life cese's Office for Ecumenical and lnterreligious Affairs organized a priests' tour of ' the Holocaust Museum that was well received. " ...... However, worthy as such efforts may be, I believe parishes can do more than qJ_... ....... counteract the negative. I_  Aren't there opportunities IIIP.,t for positive formation through thoughtful educa- tion and interaction between Catholics and Jews? There are several local examples of this. One is the Priest-Rabbi Forum orga- nized by the Washington archdiocese's ecumenical and interreligious affairs office and the local board of rabbis. On two occasions, local priests and rabbis met to reflect on the progress of Catholic-Jewish relations as illustrated by the new Cat- Scripture scholars for the unique spir- s and Jews. Yet, level this spiri- largely an untapped Jewish-Christian to have focused up to on correcting the nega- Sing; the the Bearing , for Catholic educators, the Holocaust issues. It is a Mati- the Archdiocese of the U.S. Holocaust ington archdio- echism of the Catholic Church. The priests and rabbis also discussed pastoral concerns and procedures related to mixed mar- riages. Another example is a recent joint fund- raising banquet to help in creating a lec- tureship on Jewish studies at The Catholic University of America. Finally, recent events involving priests and others to mark the 30th anniversary of the Vatican Council II document call- hag for improved interreligious relations demonstrated that the Vision of improved Catholic-Jewish relations is still refreshing. Washington, as the nation's capital, offers a unique setting for interfaith events. "Three Women From Jerusalem," a program at the Finnish embassy, was such an event held earlier this year. The program involved a poignant conversa- tion among three mothers representing sisters of Judaism," predicts Father Paul Lee in his article on Jewish-Christian endeavors. CNS photo by Karen Callaway vices or Seders at Passover time have proven helpful. Once we recognize that the one God is mysteriously at work in each of us, we will have a renewed respect for people of other faiths, especially our spiritual <, Father Lee is director of the Office for Ecu- menical and lnterreligious Affairs in the Archdiocese of Washington. toward Jews and Judaism is being imple- mented. Much remains to be done. But the beginning  been quite impressive, thanks in large part to the persota, al inter- est of Pope John Paul II, Fisher is the associate director of the U.S; i i7 ! iiii Marketplace Point: in your parish or diocese that promotes Jewish-Christian From Readers: Lenten season we have an interfaith lecture series, a four- the American Jewish Committee and the archdiocese with ... This year's theme was "'The Prophets." We also have that goes into a number of difficult topics like inter- explain each other's traditions to our communities." Father Vincent Heier, St. Louis, Mo. cosponsored by the Archdiocese of :ommunity Relations Council. It's been in place for 15 Protestant and Jewish people who meet.., once a week the basics of the beliefs and traditions, and the his- between Christians and Jews." Sister Josephine Case, IHM, Philadelphia, Pa. scholars dialogue group.., of about 15 each from ewish communities .... It's an ongoing permanent group that Agendas vary; there have been discussions on Scripture, Vatican document (on the Holocaust)." Sister Joan McGuire, OP, Chicago, IlL Do you think a better understanding of a particular help Catholics ttlay better understand their own times? , plea., write: Faith Alive! 3211 Fourth 20017.1100. "Once we recognize that the one God is mysteriously at work in each of us, we will have a renewed respect for people of other faiths, especially our spiritual brothers and Islamic, Christian and Jewish traditions, and sharing a common hope for peace and understanding in their ancestral city. Christians and Jews long lived with mistrust, perceiving each other as a threat. But shouldn't our efforts now foctm, as Pope John Paul U suggested, on how they can be "a blessing to each other" (April 6, 1993)? Joint Scripture studies, inviting each other to interfaith Thanksgiving Day ser- Continued from page 8 taking advantage of similar education- al opportunities. The pope has called this "the century of the 'Shoah" (Holo- caust)." The 1998 Vatican statement on the "Shoah," affirms this strongly. It expresses the church's repentance for what was done  and not done  vis- bishops" Secretariat for Ecumenical and a-vis the Jews in this century and those biterreligious Affairs. His book with Rabbi preceding it by Christians on all levels Leon Klenicki, "Pope John Paul II: Spiritual of the church. Pilgrimage, Texts and Documents 1979- All in all it can be said that Vatican 1995" (Crsrc.d, I995), receioeda Nation- Council II's call for a renewal of attitude al Jewish Book Council Award. i i f|r _: i , f I i,i. I Food for thought "The spoiled seeds of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism must never again be allowed to take root in any human heart." Those words concluded the March 1998 document on the "Shoah" (-Holocaust) from the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews. Earlier, in October 1997, Pope John Paul lI spoke similarly: "The church firm- ly condemns all forms of genocide as well as the racist theories that have inspired and claimed to justify them," he said; to genocide's moral malice "is added, with the 'Shoah,' the malice of a hatred which does violence to C_,'s salvific plan in history." Coupled with their unequivocal rejections ofanti,Semitism and anti, judaism, the same documents called on Catholics to become more aware of their faith's Hebrew roots. The pope cautioned that "those who consider the reality that Jesus was a Jew . and that his milieu was the Jewish world to be simple tonal cultural facts ... misunderstand the meaning of the history of salvation" and "do damage to the very truth of the incarnation." .... : And the Vatican commission asked Catholics to bear in mind that "the Vir, gin Mary and the apostles belonged to the  people" and "t the Jews are our dearly belca, ed brothers." David Gibson Editor, Faith AII! , ............. c i i1,1 i ! , i n n el" J iiIrll,!,l ......... ,I ,1_ i