Dr. Goldmann Takes Issue with Report on Ecumenical Council

Dr. Nahum Goldmann, in his capacity as president of the World Jewish Congress, today issued a statement taking issue with a New York Times report from Rome declaring that the declaration on Catholic-Jewish relations– now being printed by the Vatican for distribution among the Fathers attending the Ecumenical Council–was ready for submission at the first session of the Council last year but was tabled because Dr. Goldmann had announced in Rome that Dr. Chaim Wardi, director of Christian affairs for the Israeli Ministry of Religion, would attend the Ecumenical Council as an unofficial observer representing the Congress.

Dr. Goldmann declared the “whole story is completely wrong.” He said that Dr. Wardi was never appointed as unofficial observer to the Ecumenical Council and Dr. Goldmann never announced his appointment. Some Israeli papers, he stated, reported about the intention of the World Jewish Congress to appoint Dr. Wardi and an Italian News Agency took over this story.

Dr. Goldmann pointed out that he was always aware of the fact that an observer to the Council has to be invited by the Council and that the World Jewish Congress has no possibility to appoint such an official observer.

“As a matter of fact,” Dr. Goldmann said, “on several occasions I advised Cardinal Bea not to pursue the idea of inviting Jewish observers to the Ecumenical Council because of the opposition of Jewish Orthodoxy to it and the likelihood of an internal Jewish conflict whether to accept such an invitation or not which would only be harmful from the point of view of improving Jewish-Catholic relations which all Jewish organizations wish to bring about.”

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