Cardinal asks Jews to forgive church's past anti-Semitism

.- There must be a continued effort to improve communication between Jews and Christians is needed, said Cardinal William Keeler Nov. 4 at the 40th-anniversary celebrations of Nostra Aetate at Temple Oheb Shalom.

Nostra Aetate was promulgated in 1965 as a result of the Second Vatican Council. It condemns anti-Semitism and rescinds claims that the Jews as a people are guilty for the death of Christ.

"The Church has caused great suffering through the ages in the name of Jesus, and for that we asked for forgiveness," said Cardinal Keeler, reported journalist Louis Llovio.

Cardinal Keeler warned that, even today, the words of Jesus are manipulated to justify anti- Semitism, as they were by the Nazis. The Scriptures “should never again be twisted" to justify hate, he said.

Rabbi Steven Fink commented on Nostra Aetate’s affirmation that the roots of Christianity are in Judaism. He thanked those who created the document and those who, like Cardinal Keeler, “have devoted their lives to bringing God's people ever closer.”

Cardinal Keeler has been on the International Catholic Orthodox Commission for Theological Dialogue since 1986 and serves as moderator for Catholic-Jewish dialogue for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. He was chairman of the bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, from 1984 through 1987.

"Nostra Aetate pointed out for Catholics that we hold in common with the Jewish people the Torah and the prophets" and that we share the same "traditions of the faith,"Cardinal Keeler reportedly said.

The bishop of Baltimore spoke of Pope John Paul II's visit to Israel in 2000 and his prayer at the Wailing Wall. He also told the congregation that the new Pope would continue to reach out to Jews and people of other faiths.

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