Historic document on inter-religious relations turns 40, experts gather to discuss future prospects


Today at the Vatican, religious leaders from around the world are gathering to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Vatican Council II Declaration “Nostra aetate”, translated, “In Our Time”, which sought, among other things, to root out Christian anti-Semitism.

The event, which is being organized by the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, began this morning with a discussion about the particular initiatives and ecumenical events which have characterized the world since Vatican II.

The participants also discussed the development of religious relations between Catholics and Jews and looked at ways to further reciprocal understanding and cooperation between the two faiths.

This afternoon, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, Rabbi David Rosen, international director for inter-religious affairs of the American Jewish Committee, and Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, archbishop emeritus of Paris, France, will evaluate the document and consider its prospects for the future.

According to the Vatican, various representatives of international Jewish institutions with which the Holy See commission has worked over these years, as well as members of the Roman Curia and of the diplomatic corps to the Holy See will also take place in the afternoon session.

Pope Paul VI established the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jews in 1974 as an organization distinct from, though part of, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The commission, currently led by president Cardinal Walter Kasper, vice president Bishop Brian Farrell L.C, and secretary Fr. Norbert Hofmann S.D.B, aims to promote and encourage relations between Jews and Catholics worldwide, while collaborating with other Christian communities.

Cardinal Kasper said in a recent Vatican Radio interview that the history of Christian-Jewish relations has been "very difficult, complex, torment, even painful." Even today, he said, "we are only at the beginning of the beginning."


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