Unprecedented summit of Catholic Cardinals, Jewish leaders, held in NY

A two-day gathering of some of the world's highest-level Catholic and Jewish leaders resulted in a call for general religious peace, a commitment to increase understanding between the two groups and a pledge to take a stand against increased anti-Semitism in Europe.

Participants called the first World Symposium of Catholic Cardinals and Jewish Leaders, held in New York City Jan. 19-20, “the highest level talks in the troubled history of Catholics and Jews,” reported Reuters. The meeting took place just days after the Pope met with Israel’s two chief rabbis.

“The participants expressed consternation at continuing expressions of hatred in the world, and noted with concern the recent rise of anti-Semitic manifestations," said a statement issued by conference participants.

The gathering was sponsored by the World Jewish Congress, which wants to improve Jewish-Christian relations and build on the advances made in that relationship over the last 25 years by Pope John Paul II, reported Reuters.

The group agreed to meet again in coming years and to encourage dialogue between the two groups within their local communities.

A dozen cardinals and six chief rabbis were in attendance. Among the Catholic leaders were cardinals Jean-Marie Lustiger of Paris; Francis George of Chicago; George Marie Cottier, Theologian of the Pontifical House; Alexandre Do Nascimento of Luanda of Angola and Ivan Dias of Bombay. Among the Jewish leaders were rabbis Henry Sobel of Brazil; Jacob Bleieh of Ukraine and Pinchus Goldschmidt of Moscow.

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