Boost for Australian Jewish-Catholic bonds

The spirit of warmth and openness between the Catholic and Jewish communities worldwide, fostered by Pope John Paul II, was demonstrated on a local level with a major interfaith event held this month in Sydney.

A media release sent yesterday by the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations hails the success of the 8th "Annual Conversation" between the Australian Catholic Bishops' Committee for Ecumenism (ACBC) and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).

The participants concluding statement declared: "The spirit of warmth and openness between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community, which developed dramatically under Pope John Paul II, has set a firm foundation for the bonds of friendship and co-operation to grow stronger and deeper".

The Annual Conversation, jointly chaired by Bishop Michael Putney of Townsville and Jeremy Jones of the ECAJ took place at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney.

It opened with a tribute to the work of the late Pope John Paul II in advancing relations between Catholics and Jews, and concluded with an in-depth consideration of the direction and tenor of Jewish-Catholic relations since the publication of the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate in 1965, with special focus on Australian experiences.

The participants in the Conversation also engaged in a session titled "Life and death questions: reflections on the life of Terry Schiavo", where Dr Bernadette Tobin, Director of the Plunkett Centre for Ethics in Health Care and Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence of the Great Synagogue Sydney led discussion involving biblical and religious sources, community values, government and judicial opinions and humanitarian considerations of responses to people with Post Coma Unresponsiveness.

Reflecting on the current international and domestic position of Jewish-Catholic relations, Jeremy Jones said "we have moved dramatically from a position of suspicion and distrust to one of respect and co-operation, where we can discuss all issues openly and frankly".

Bishop Putney noted "All of us, Jews and Catholics, have learnt so much about and from each other on how we can work to inject ethics, morality and a spirit of human kindness into public debate and policy."

"We have been inspired by the recent correspondence between Pope Benedict XVI and the Chief Rabbi of Rome, which demonstrated clearly the respect, warmth and fraternity which currently characterises the Catholic-Jewish relationship", the Conversation participants concluded.

Jewish-Catholic bonds of friendship continue to grow in Australia (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference/Executive Council of Australian Jewry 24/5/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Executive Council of Australian Jewry
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference | Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations
Nostra Aetate: Declaration on the relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (28/10/65)

25 May 2005