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WJC president highlights key role of canonized popes in bringing Catholics, Jews closer together Featured

NEW YORK/ROME – “If today Jews and Catholics live in a framework of fraternity, friendship and cooperation, following two milllennia of tensions and confrontation, it is to a large extent due to the impulse Popes John XXIII and John Paul II gave to improving relations and to overcoming anti-Semitism in the church,” World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder declared ahead of Sunday’s canonization in Rome of the two late Catholic pontiffs.
John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council, which ended with the groundbreaking declaration NostraAetate of 1965, and John Paul II deepened and extended Catholic-Jewish dialogue and established diplomatic relations with Israel. “For that reason, even though the canonization of these two men is an internal church matter and has nothing to do with interfaith dialogue, we rejoice with the millions of Catholics in Rome and around the world who celebrate this event,” Lauder added.
Claudio Epelman, the World Jewish Congress official in charge of dialogue with the Catholic Church, is one of the Jewish representatives present in Rome for Sunday’s ceremonies at the invitation of the Vatican. Epelmansaid that five decades of dialogue with the Catholic Church had triggered real, positive change for both communities.
“The sometimes controversial debates with Rome which we witnessed during early papacy of Pope John Paul II are long behind us, and he and his successors, Benedict XVI and Francis, have taken the relationship with what the successive popes have called their ‘elder brothers’ to the next level. We Jews know that we have a warm friend in Pope Francis, and we look forward to more opportunities to demonstrate and solidify those bonds,” said Epelman, who has already met with the Argentinean-born pontiff a number of times since the latter’s election as Catholic pontiff last year.

Last modified onTuesday, 03 March 2015 11:21

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