KIAMESHA LAKE, N.Y. (May. 23)
Pope John XXIII is playing “an inspired role” in bringing about closer group relations between Catholics and Jews, Benjamin R. Epstein, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, said here tonight.
“Despite basic differences and the tragic past, Jews and Catholics, in behalf of the common good, are finding new areas of understanding,” Mr. Epstein told 2,000 delegates attending the four-day annual convention of B’nai B’rith’s District 3, which covers New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware.
“Jews and Catholics will continue to have different attitudes and approaches to many problems,” the ADL leader said. “And they should have, if they are to hew to religious principles. There is always room–even need–in America for differences of religious conviction and opinion. There may be irritation and angry words over specific issues. There may be misunderstandings too. But the basic ones–miscomprehensions of purpose and goal–will be fewer,” Mr. Epstein said.
“In this dialogue leading to greater maturity, “he continued, “we are mutually helped by the words and needs of Pope John. In today’s relations between Catholic and Jew, he is playing an inspired role. ” Mr. Epstein gave a personal account of the private audience the Pope held with B’nai B’rith leaders in the Vatican last January.