Catholic-Jewish forum in Madrid focuses on religious freedom and combating racism

18 10 2013

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The International Liason Committee, the official joint forum of the Vatican and the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), met for the 22nd time since it was set up 40 years ago to discuss ways of combating racism and anti-Semitism, and championing religious freedom. Over 60 participants, including delegates and observers from both sides, spent four days in intense discussions exploring issues such as the dismaying rise in religious intolerance, the threat of extremism and violence, and the need to educate towards peaceful co-existence amongst all peoples.

Co-chaired by Kurt Cardinal Koch, the president of the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews, and IJCIC Chair Betty Ehrenberg – who also serves as executive director of the WJC North America – the group exchanged views and looked for ways to jointly work together to face the current challenges to religion and to faith groups. Citing the dedication of Pope Francis to work to increase mutual respect and tolerance, Koch quoted the pontiff’s declarations that a Christian cannot be an anti-Semite.

Ehrenberg emphasized the need for religious leaders to work together to defense religious freedoms and practices, in view of recent attempts to curtail religious slaughter and male circumcision.

Special emphasis was put on the need for education of both religious groups as to the history and knowledge about Christianity and Judaism in order to dispel myths and stereotypes, with particular attention to the spread of the declaration Nostra Aetate to many areas of the world where the Vatican document that advanced dialogue and peaceful relations between Catholics and Jews is still not sufficiently well known.

The groups expressed much satisfaction with the meeting and looks forward with anticipation to continuing to work closely together on these important issues of common concern.

Source: World Jewish Congress

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