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Jewish Congress Finds 1963 Was Year of Interfaith Understanding

The year 1963 has seen “more progress toward inter-religious understanding than any previous year,” Dr. Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, reported to the national governing council of his organization, meeting here today. The council is the Congress policy-making group. Rabbi Prinz listed the year’s major developments as follows:

1. The Conference on Religion and Race held in Chicago last January at which Protestant, Catholic and Jewish leaders “for the first time sat down together to map out a joint strategy in support of their joint commitment to the civil rights struggle.”

2. The Vatican Council in Rome, “from which has emanated a new ecumenical spirit embracing not only Christians but men of all faiths.” Dr. Prinz noted that American bishops participating in the Council had been among the most vigorous supporters of the proposed schema on Catholic attitudes toward the Jews which, “when finally adopted, promises to establish a new relationship between the people of the Old and New Testaments.”

3. Announcement by Pope Paul VI of plans to visit the Holy Land which Dr. Prinz described as “tangible recognition of the shared roots of the Jewish and Christian traditions.”

4. The growing number of inter-religious “dialogues” in communities across the country in which differences between religious groups on issues of public concern are discussed “in free and open debate in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.”

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