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Priest Calls for Greater Respect, Understanding Between Christians and Jews

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A three-day interreligious convocation opened at Seton Hall University tonight to mark the fifth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s statement on the Jews which rejected the concept of the Jewish people’s collective responsibility for the crucifixion. The meeting, which is bringing together distinguished Catholic, Protestant and Jewish theologians and scholars from several countries is being sponsored jointly by the Institute of Judaeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall and the American Jewish Committee. The co-chairmen are Monsignor John M. Oesterreicher director of the Institute and Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum, director of the AJCommittee’s interreligious affairs department. In the opening address. Msgr. Oesterreicher said the statement at Vatican II marked “the discovery, or rediscovery, of Judaism and the Jews in their intrinsic worth, as well as their import for the Church.”

He added that “Israel has died a thousand deaths and yet it is alive. The survival of the Jewish people through the centuries is not only a biological fact, it is a theological reality. Jewish survival must, therefore, become a part of our theological textbooks.” Concluding his address, Msgr. Oesterreicher expressed the hope that Christians and Jews learn to “appreciate and respect each other’s thought and work…that we, the hostile kinsmen of yesterday, learn to be loving brothers today and tomorrow. Other participants in the gathering which will continue through next Wednesday include the Rev. Cornelius Rijk, of Rome, director of the Vatican Office of Catholic-Jewish Relations. Dr. Charlotte Klein of London, director of the Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies of our Lady of Zion Order; and Profs. Uriel Tal and Shmaryahu Talmon of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

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