CNA Staff, Nov 10, 2020 / 04:05 am
An English Catholic archbishop said Tuesday that the late Rabbi Jonathan Lord Sacks helped to advance Catholic-Jewish relations in harmony with St. John Paul II and Pope Francis.
Archbishop Kevin McDonald, chairman of the English and Welsh bishops’ Committee for Catholic-Jewish Relations, hailed the U.K.’s former chief rabbi as a wise, prophetic, and inclusive leader.
Sacks died Nov. 7 at the age of 72, after being diagnosed with cancer last month. He was buried in small ceremony a day later.
McDonald, the emeritus archbishop of Southwark, told CNA Nov. 10: “I would say that one of the main contributions Jonathan Sacks made to Catholic-Jewish relations was that he understood and appropriated the importance of ‘Nostra aetate.’ That document, published in 1965, was a defining document for Catholic-Jewish relations and, indeed, for Christian-Jewish relations generally.”
“In the present climate it is good to recall that in ‘Nostra aetate,’ the Church opposed anti-Semitism not on political grounds but on the grounds of the familial relationship between Christianity and Judaism. The Jews are our older brothers and sisters. Our roots are in Judaism and with the Jews we look forward to the final fulfillment of God’s promises. I am sure that teaching found a real echo in the heart and mind of Jonathan Sacks.”
McDonald made the comments after Cardinal Vincent Nichols led Catholic tributes to Sacks, who served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013.
Nichols, the president of the English and Welsh bishops’ conference, said Nov. 7 that Sacks was “a most eloquent proponent of some of the greatest truths of humanity.”
“I have lost a friend; the Jewish community a great leader; humanity an eloquent spokesman,” he commented.