International Catholic – Jewish Liaison Committee



The International Catholic–Jewish Liaison Committee (ILC) was created in Rome on 23 November 1970. Initially comprising five representatives on each side, it continued its activities without interruption in the following years through ordinary and extraordinary plenary sessions. Initiatives were generally coordinated by a joint executive committee. The number of its members has progressively increased. The five Jewish representatives were initially appointed by the five founding bodies of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), whose establishment also dates to 1970; the Catholic members were appointed with the approval of Pope Paul VI. The work of the ILC is undertaken according to the guidelines of the memorandum of understanding signed in Rome at its foundation, in which it is highlighted that in “the relationship between Catholics and Jews the concerns of both groups are religiously based but they extend over the whole complex of what people do wherever they live”. The memorandum identified anti–Semitism as the most important priority, to be implemented by eliminating from educational and liturgical material whatever is offensive or incompatible with the teaching of Nostra aetate. The other central themes of the ILC concern the promotion of justice and peace in the world; the fight against poverty, racism, and all forms of discrimination; the protection of human rights, particularly the safeguarding of religious freedom. There have been three phases in the work of the ILC, the first of which (1971–1973) was an experimental period that concluded a year later with its official creation. The second phase dealt principally with educational themes, human rights, mission and witness, anti–Semitism and the Shoah. The third phase has coincided with the development of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel (30–31 December 1993). During this latest and ongoing phase, a range of joint documents have been issued on various themes; furthermore, there has been a more decisive orientation towards practical cooperation in the social field and anti–Semitism.