Catholic Organ Lauds Rabbi Soloveitchik’s Stand on Vatican Document

The views of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, noted leader of American Orthodox Jewry, with regard to the expected declaration on Jews by the Ecumenical Council now in session at the Vatican, are lauded in the current issue of The Pilot, official organ of the Archdiocese of Boston. (See the JTA Bulletin of September 15 for the full text of Dr. Soloveitchik’s statement). In an editorial entitled “A Voice To Be Heard,” the official Catholic organ writes;

“Bostonians are proud to have as one of the religious leaders in this area the world-famous rabbinical scholar, Dr. Joseph Soloveitchik. His preeminence is not limited to his own Orthodox Jewish community, for his wise and sensitive perceptions very often have a universal application. In the first paper he has ever published in English, Rabbi Soloveitchik has recently made a commentary on the present relations of Jews and Christians, with clear reference to the work of Vatican Council II on this topic; His words are worth pondering by all who have become involved in this complex but thoroughly hopeful matter;

“While any summary is an injustice to the revered Rabbi’s careful reasoning and exact language, one may say that the paper provides a warning to Jews–in the words and manner of the prophets–not to forget the unique commitment of their religion of covenant and its enduring claims upon them. At the same time, Christians are reminded of the necessity of seeing the Jewish faith not merely in its relation to Christian belief but also in its uniquely Jewish aspects, In making these delicate points. Rabbi Soloveitchik writes with power and pride, with candor and persuasion, with understanding and friendliness;

“There are areas, of course, where “the community of the many” and “the community of the few,” to use the rabbi’s words, properly and happily join hands in seeking a better human environment for modern man. Our contemporary context not merely allows this but encourages it, and no thoughtful person of goodwill will stand in its way. But just as surely, there are other areas in which transcendent religious truths–conscientiously held in faith–cannot endure even the suspicion of compromise. It is of first concern to see to it that these areas be identified and kept inviolable. Moreover, even the attitudes in which discussion and dialogue are carried on must be sensitive to the fundamental eschatological realities as well as the historical and sociological ratters which too often receive priority.

“Some people may Judge the rabbi’s remarks as negative and regret the timing of this publication in terms of the Council session which begins next week. We would not share this view. For us, it appears to set in realistic focus certain permanent factors in the interreligious picture, and in this manner strengthen the durable hopes we all have for wider human understanding”

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