Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews



The Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews was established by Pope Paul VI on 22 October 1974, but already during the Second Vatican Council, in the course of the preparation of the document now known as Nostra aetate, the complex and urgent theme of relations with Judaism had arisen. On 5 June 1960 Pope John XXIII had decided to create a Secretariat for promoting Christian unity as a preparatory body for the Council. The question of Judaism and its relations with the Church was entrusted to its President, Cardinal Bea. After the Council, various contacts between the authorities of the Roman Curia and exponents of the leading Jewish organisations led to an official encounter in Rome from 20–23 December 1970. During this meeting, it was decided to establish an international liaison committee between the Catholic Church and Judaism (ILC). Subsequently, the idea emerged of creating a Commission for Relations with Judaism. The Commission has remained within the ambit of the Secretariat for Christian Unity (now the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, PCPCU). While affiliated with the Pontifical Council, it is nonetheless distinct from it. It has its own structure, which partly coincides with that of the PCPCU: the President of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews is also the President of the Pontifical Council, and its Vice–President is the Secretary of the PCPCU.

Since its creation, the Commission has had its own Secretary:

1974-1978      Pierre-Marie de Contenson, OP
1978-1986      Jorge Maria Mejía
1986-1993      Pierfrancesco Fumagalli
1993-2001      Remi Hoeckman, OP
2002-              Norbert Hofmann, SDB

Furthermore, the Commission has issued four documents (1974; 1985; 1998; 2015) that provide an outline of the development of Jewish–Christian relations.