U.S. Jewish Leaders Discuss Catholic-jewish Relations in Austria with Cardinal Koenig

Acknowledging that “there is still a residue of anti-Semitism in Austria,” Franz Cardinal Koenig, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vienna, told a delegation of leaders of the American Jewish Committee yesterday that he was extremely hopeful that Christian Jewish understanding in Austria” would deepen as a result of the spirit emanating from Vatican Council II.”

Cardinal Koenig said that a textbook commission, which for the past year has been reviewing religious materials used in all public as well as parochial schools in Austria, would report to him shortly with recommendations for the elimination of negative references to Jews and Judaism.

“The work of the textbook commission,” Cardinal Koenig noted, “would provide the basis for more extensive programs covering the entire range of religious education, attitude formation, including teacher training, seminaries, colleges, adult education, publications and the mass media.”

In addition to removing negative or hostile references, the Cardinal emphasized that the program would seek to introduce Christians to the positive appreciation of the common inheritance that Christians share with Jews as well as to a more realistic understanding of the values of contemporary Judaism and living Jewish people. The Cardinal, who is head of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Non-Believers, forecasts greatly increased dialogues and cooperation between Christians and Jews in those common areas of human concern to “build a world of peace and justice.”

Heading the American Jewish Committee delegation was Morris B. Abram, president of the organization. Other members of the delegation, which was received by Cardinal Koenig at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, included Richard Maass, the organization’s Foreign Affairs Committee chairman; Dr. Simon Segal, director, Foreign Affairs Department; Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum, director, Interreligious Affairs Department; and Jerry Goodman, Foreign Affairs specialist.

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