Two landmark theological documents were issued last week, one by leading Jewish thinkers and one by the Roman Catholic theologian. Besides timing, they couldn't be more different.
The Jewish statement calls for Jews to re-evaluate their historic negative feelings about Christianity and affirm the shared roots of the two faiths.
The Vatican statement declares the Roman Catholic Church is the only way to salvation, rejecting alternate paths. It advocates missionizing of non-Catholics.
For Jewish interfaith leaders, it's all very troubling.
On the eve of Pope John Paul II’s historic trip to Israel, scheduled for March 20-26, the Vatican is offering the world several apologies for sins committed by Christians over the past 2,000 years, including its treatment of Jews.
The “apologies” stem from a campaign by John Paul for a collective examination of conscience as the Church begins its third millennium.
The Pope has made repentance and reconciliation a theme of this Holy Year observance.
Following the 26-year papacy of the Church's first Polish pope, who made historic overtures to the Jewish community, the identity and background of the next pope is of particular interest to Jews. Will the 265th pope continue the pro-Jewish policies of John Paul II, reverse them, or concentrate on other theological and political areas?
During his 43 years as a human rights activist, Rabbi Arthur Schneier has met three popes in the Vatican.
Next week the current head of the Catholic Church will pay the rabbi a return visit.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced on Thursday that Pope Benedict XVI will visit Park East Synagogue on the Upper East Side on the afternoon of Friday, April 18, during the pontiff's first trip to the United States. Only two popes are known to have previously set foot in a synagogue: Benedict XVI in Cologne in 2005, and his predecessor, John Paul II, in Rome in 1986.
The Catholic Church will continue to improve its relationship with the Jewish community, but interfaith ties under Pope Benedict XVI will probably not be as warm or as significant as under his predecessor, John Paul II.
That is the opinion of representatives of several prominent Jewish organizations following the election Tuesday of German-born Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the 265th pope. The early favorite to succeed Polish native John Paul II, Benedict XVI is the second non-Italian cardinal to lead the church in four-and-a-half centuries.