With preparations under way for Pope John Paul's historic Millennium visit to Jerusalem next March, the question of the Vatican's political position on the future of the Holy City takes on greater significance.Some Jewish leaders may not like what they hear. Talking to Jewish interfaith leaders at recent conference in Washington, D.C., Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran advocated that all the "holy places" in Israel be put under "international guarantees" of access.
Last January, dozens of well-heeled New Yorkers gathered at Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria to raise money for the archbishop of New York's last gesture toward the Jewish community he held so dear.
The archbishop's birthday dinner raised $1.5 million for the establishment of the John Cardinal O'Connor Distinguished Chair in Hebrew and Sacred Scripture at St. Joseph's Seminary, the Westchester institution that trains future priests. O'Connor wanted to teach seminarians greater respect for the Jewish roots of Christianity.
With the curtain about to rise on the world's most famous Passion Play, a team of Christian and Jewish scholars is giving it a thumbs down. It's not the acting or pacing the reviewers are concerned about. Rather it's the script for the latest production of the 366-year-old Oberammergau Passion Play, produced and performed by residents of the little Bavarian town.
More specifically the reviewers, brought together by the American Jewish Committee's Department of Interreligious Affairs, panned the English translation of the German text because of its anti-Jewish content.
There are two major personnel changes in the world of Jewish-Christian dialogue, even as meetings between representatives of the two religions continue.
On the Catholic side, Pope John Paul II has appointed German Cardinal Walter Kasper to head the Vatican’s Commission on Relations with the Jews – the Roman Catholic Church’s primary representative on Jewish issues.
In what is being hailed as a major development in interfaith affairs, John Cardinal O’Connor, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, is calling for the Vatican to quickly open its secret Nazi-era archives.
The comments by Cardinal O’Connor mark the first major initiative by a Christian leader in the long-running struggle to gain access to the Catholic Church’s sealed documents in Rome. Jewish leaders have been calling for access to try and determine the relationship between the Vatican and Nazi Germany during and after World War II.
A historic partnership between Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan and the largest African-American Muslim group in the United States is a “troubling and disturbing” development that threatens dialogue between Jews and black Muslims, American Jewish officials cautioned this week.
Jerusalem — Standing alone in the cool shadow of the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount, God’s representative on Earth to 800 million Catholics slipped a typewritten white sheet of paper into a crack in the holiest site in Judaism, and then he prayed.
The powerful moment, symbolizing Pope John Paul II’s desire to build a new peaceful relationship with Israel and the Jewish people, was relayed to tens of millions around the globe on the Internet and television, and in newspapers.
The Vatican’s top liaison to Jews has strongly criticized “Jewish agencies” for damaging Catholic-Jewish relations with “aggressive attitudes” against the Church, and has declared that the premier Jewish international interfaith umbrella group is dead.
Following weeks of international Jewish-Catholic disputes over a controversial Good Friday prayer, Jewish and Catholic leaders in this country are looking for a good Friday, preceded by a good Thursday — days when Pope Benedict XVI has scheduled meetings with the Jewish community — to restore the improving tenor of interfaith dialogue.