Amid yet another Jewish-Catholic spat, Israel’s Vatican ambassador explains need for good relations


Amid what is shaping up to be yet another spat between Jews and Catholics — the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement (pdf) clarifying some points regarding evangelizing to Jews; the ADL says it’s unacceptable — the Israeli ambassador to the Vatican, Mordechay Lewy, was in Boston for a conference.

With Jewish groups clearly feeling comfortable expressing their approval or disapproval of statements by Catholic bodies, It’s hard not to wonder whether some line of propriety is being crossed. After all, who is the ADL to tell Catholic bishops whether statements of Catholic belief and practice are unnacceptable or not?

In an interview with the Boston Globe’s Michael Paulson, Lewy, addressing another recent controversy, offers this description of when internal Catholic matters become Jewish business.

Q: What about the controversy over the Catholic Church’s relationship with the Society of Saint Pius X?
A: This is a very, very severe problem. Matters of excommunication are not our problem – we should not interfere. But if these internal matters are affecting the public sphere, to the extent that they affect our own attitudes and emotions…Williamson’s reconciliation, without the Holocaust denial, would not have made this affair sexy to everyone. The Holocaust denying was the point which brought the whole Jewish interference, which was not into the internal matters of the church but to the Holocaust denying…This was a rare case where he (the pope) admits mishaps in the church.

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