Kasper and Israel president deny Last Supper Room 'site swap'

Reports that Israel and the Vatican plan a religious "site swap", giving the Church control of the Last Supper Room in David's Tomb on Jerusalem's Mount Zion in exchange for Jewish control of the ancient Toledo Synagogue in Spain, were denied on Wednesday by President Moshe Katsav and Cardinal Walter Kasper.

CLICK HEREThe Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that "The Vatican newspaper, El Messagero" reported that Katsav is expected to sign an agreement during his visit that will give the church control over the upper part of David's Tomb.

The Church has already shown Israel a trial agreement, according to which the Vatican will receive control over this part of David's Tomb in exchange for the ancient synagogue in Toledo, Spain, which was converted into a church after the expulsion of the Jews in 1492.

While inferring that he would welcome such a move, "there is no agreement till now," President of the Pontifical Council of Religious Relations with the Jews Cardinal Walter Kasper told The Jerusalem Post. Katsav said that he had read the reports, "but I know nothing about the matter."

Kasper was at Beit Hanassi on Wednesday within the framework of a series of events marking the 40th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the ground-breaking document, which changed the way the Catholic Church relates to the Jewish People, said Ron Kronish, the director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel, and moderator of the session at Beit Hanassi.

He described this new dialogue between Catholics and Jews and other Christians and Jews as "an historic, unprecedented and most welcome development."

Katsav termed Nostra Aetate as "a turning point" in the relations between the Catholic Church and the Jews, and paid tribute to Pope John XXIII, "a great humanist," who initiated the revolution in the Catholic Church.

Kasper, who brought greetings from Pope Benedict XIV, said that Nostra Aetate was a document that in clear, unambiguous terms said no to all forms of anti-Semitism in the present and the past and expressed condemnation of all forms of persecution. It also speaks out against terrorism and emphasizes the fundamental values shared by Christians and Jews. "Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II have done their utmost to implement the document," he said, "and Pope Benedict is determined to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors."

Katsav, papal official deny 'site swap' (Jerusalem Post/Committee to Save Mt Zion 3/11/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Committee to Save Mt Zion: Homepage of the Mt Zion Situation

Vatican in deal with Israel to look after Last Supper room (CathNews 14/10/05)

In brief: Holocaust Remembrance; Palestinial Christians (Vatican Information Service 3/11/05)
USCCB condemns anti-Israel comments (Catholic News Agency 3/11/05)
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Vatican's UN envoy makes plea for Holy Land Christians (Ecumenical News International 3/11/05)
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Holy See backs U.N. on "Holocaust Remembrance Day" (The Universe 3/11/05)
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Holy See Address on Plight of Palestinian Christians (Zenit 2/11/05)
Holy See's U.N. Address on Holocaust Remembrance (Zenit 2/11/05)
Christian-Jewish relations: From tragedy to possibility (Online Catholics 2/11/05)
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Vatican condemns anti-Israeli statements (Independent Catholic News 1/11/05)
Condemnation of anti-Israeli statements (Vatican Information Service 29/10/05)
Pope condemns anti-Israel statements, increased Holy Land violence (Catholic News Agency 31/10/05)
Holy See: Iranian's Comments About Israel "Unacceptable" (Zenit 30/10/05)
Pope: 'may Jerusalem be a place of communion among religions' (Independent Catholic News 13/10/05)
Israel, Vatican in sacred swap (The Australian 14/10/05)

4 Nov 2005