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Catholic-jewish Dialogues Reported Unconvincing on Basic Issues

Interfaith dialogues and other programs aimed at bringing Catholics and Jews closer together have had little or no effect in changing deeply held positions on birth control, public funds for parochial schools and other church-state issues, the American Jewish Congress reported today.

Despite the new look in Catholic-Jewish relations since the Ecumenical Council, differences between the two groups remain “as wide as ever” on both public and theological questions, it was stated. Howard M. Squadron, chairman of the Commission on Law and Social Action of the AJ Congress, said he was “neither surprised nor disappointed” that closer ties had not led to fewer differences.

“Dialogue does not have to result in agreement,” he declared. “It does serve a useful purpose by exposing different points of view to rational exploration rather than emotional explosions.” He added however that it was “not unusual for Jews and Catholics to oppose each other at a public hearing on an issue of church-state separation in the morning and sit around a table the same evening in interfaith dialogue. “This is a healthy development,” he commented. “It is healthy that the two groups should meet together in civilized discourse and it is healthy that neither group should feel it must abandon principle as the price of interfaith harmony.”

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