Archbishop of New York Timothy M. Dolan has been named Moderator of Jewish Affairs for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). USCCB president Cardinal Francis George says Dolan will be a friend to the Jewish community and will convey “profound respect” for others’ spiritual gifts.
Archbishop Dolan succeeds Archbishop emeritus of Baltimore William H. Keeler in the role.
His five-year appointment was announced in a Friday USCCB statement and will become effective Nov. 11.
Cardinal George’s announcement noted the New York Archdiocese’s “long history of cooperation and friendship between Catholics and Jews.”
“Since the Second Vatican Council, important strides in this relationship have been made through dialogue and collaboration in countering racism, anti-Semitism and other offenses against human dignity," the cardinal commented.
“Our Episcopal Conference, through the leadership of your predecessors in New York, and especially through the tireless and generous service of Cardinal William Keeler, has sought to contribute to the work of reconciliation between the Church and the Jewish people after centuries of mutual estrangement,” he added.
The cardinal said the Jewish community will find Archbishop Dolan to be “a friend who communicates the joy of his own faith, while at the same time conveying profound respect for the spiritual gifts of the other."
Controversy recently arose in Catholic-Jewish dialogue about a clarification the bishops issued concerning “ambiguities” in a Catholic document on the theology of the Christian mission to Jews. Jewish leaders voiced concerns that the changes formally characterized Catholic-Jewish dialogue as an explicit or implicit invitation to Jews to abandon their faith.
In response, the USCCB said that the controversial passages would be removed from the clarification.
On Oct. 2, the Conference issued a statement of principles for Catholic-Jewish dialogue which notes Catholics’ "sacred responsibility" to witness to Christ always. However, the statement also emphasizes that Jewish-Catholic dialogue will never be used as a means of "proselytism" nor is it intended to be a "disguised invitation to baptism."