Diocese of Toledo
Stati Uniti d'America 11/1973The following is an excerpt from Handbook: Parish Committee on Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, guidelines published by the diocese of Toledo, Ohio, in the fall of 1973.
When Pope John XXIII (whose baptismal name was Joseph) welcomed a group of Jews who had come to demonstrate their affection for him, he spoke that now famous salutation, « I am Joseph, your brother » (Gn. 45.4) With these words, he embraced the whole Jewish people. Behind that spontaneous greeting was a vision that has continued to grow in the Church's teaching and practice during the reign of Pope Paul VI.
The teaching of Vatican II speaks in the categories of brotherly love suggested by Pope John when it recalls « the spiritual bond linking the people of the New Covenant with Abraham's stock » (Nostra Aetate, art. 4). It sees clearly that the roots of the relationship between Christianity and Judaism are to be found in the common fatherhood of Abraham. It calls upon the Church to recognize the workings of God's mysterious providence by reminding her that she must see her own beginnings in the faith and election of the patriarchs, Moses and the prophets. Indeed, many of the specific elements of her faith from which the Church derives her very life are foreshadowed in Israel's history: baptism in the passage through the sea; the Eucharist in the manna; Christ Himself in the cloud, the pillar of fire, and the rock that yielded lifegiving water at Moses' insistent command (Cf. 1 Cor. 10:15).
The Church loves the Jewish people and recognizes that they « remain most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes, nor of the calls He issues » (Lumen Gentium, art. 16). With Pope Pius XI, we proudly reaffirm that « spiritually we are all Semites ».
Aware of this rich heritage, and the close ties with the Jewish Community, we offer these Guidelines for Christian-Jewish Relations. We do so in hope that they may foster a deeper spirit of fraternal understanding and love, and that they may prove a valuable instrument of mutual cooperation leading to a reassertion in our time of the religious and social values of the Judaeo-Christian tradition.
1) EDUCATION . . . This should be a concern of each parish committee. Much misinformation even today continues to abound in regard to Jews and Judaism. It is often just this ignorance that provides the basis for anti-Semitism. The committee can help provide more and accurate information about Jews and Judaism by sponsoring school visits, lectures, adult education programs, and discussion groups, and by providing resources to the normal communication and education channels of the parish (the bulletin, the parish library, the pamphlet rack, the school library, etc.).
2) DIALOGUE . . . The committee can promote dialogue by arranging for exchange visits or open houses, helping to arrange for living room discussion groups, lay organization exchanges, etc.
3) PRAYER . . . Interfaith services with Jews should be encouraged whenever this is mutually acceptable; for example, on holidays such as Thanksgiving, or around traditions such as the Sabbath. These should always be planned jointly.
4) SOCIAL ACTION . . All community involvement programs of the parish should include members of the Jewish Community, if possible.
1) Various forms of dialogue.
2) Open Houses.
3) Mutual visits.
4) Joint prayers for common objectives such as peace, social justice, brotherhood, national holidays, etc.
5) Prayer in common with Jews should be encouraged whenever it is mutually acceptable.
6) Public prayers for the welfare of the Jewish community are recommended in our liturgical celebrations.
7) Catholics may accept invitations to the liturgical services of Jewish congregations.
8) Jewish religious and lay leaders should be invited to important diocesan and parochial events.
9) Christian-Jewish cooperation should be encouraged in the field of social action.
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