The Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews (CRRJ) and the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), the official partner representing world Jewry, exchanged messages to mark the 55th anniversary of “Nostra aetate”. That milestone document was issued on 28 October 1965 as a Declaration of the Second Vatican Council on the Catholic Church’s relations to non–Christian religions. Chapter 4 specifically addresses Judaism, and is recognized to have inaugurated a new and constructive era in Jewish–Catholic relations.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of CRRJ, and Rabbi Noam Marans, Chair of IJCIC, issued a joint press release and exchanged messages affirming the reconciliatory themes of “Nostra aetate” and praising the progress achieved during the past 55 years.
Cardinal Koch’s message states, “It is without doubt that ‘Nostra aetate’ (no.4) laid the foundation for relations between Catholics and Jews and can therefore rightly be considered to be the ‘Magna Carta’ of Catholic–Jewish relations.”
Rabbi Marans’s message notes that “Nostra aetate” (no.4) “has been dramatically amplified by papal visits to synagogues, to the horrific yet sacred sites of the crimes of the Holocaust, and to the State of Israel following the establishment of Vatican–Israel diplomatic relations in 1993.” IJCIC praised Pope Francis’s leadership in condemning rising antisemitism and expressed solidarity with Christians facing persecution.
The CRRJ was founded in 1974, and over the decades it has implemented many initiatives aimed at fostering Catholic relations with Judaism, including the document published in 2015 entitled “The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable” (Rom 11:29). A Reflection on Theological Questions Pertaining to Catholic–Jewish Relations on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of ‘Nostra aetate’”. The Commission also co–convenes with IJCIC the biennial International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee to address ongoing issues of mutual concern.
(Photo: Pope Francis with Cardinal Kurt Koch and Rabbi Noam Marans with other members of the American Jewish Committee, 8 March 2019 © Vatican Media)