AJC Welcomes Vatican Clarification on Easter Prayer for the Jews

May 27, 2008 - The American Jewish Committee welcomed an official Vatican clarification concerning the Easter Prayer for the Jews. The statement was delivered by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's Secretary of State, to the Chief Rabbis of Israel.

"While the Catholic Church still faces the challenge of how to fully understand its relationship with the Jewish people, this important declaration makes it categorically clear that the Church has not changed its position of deep respect for the integrity of the Jews and its opposition to proselytizing," said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC's International Director of Interreligious Affairs.

Cardinal Bertone confirmed that the Latin prayer, recently reformulated by Pope Benedict XVI, expresses a hope for the "end of days" and is in no way a warrant for proselytizing among Jews, to which the Church has declared its opposition in the past. This position had been previously communicated to Rabbi Rosen by Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican's official liaison to the Jewish people.

"We too have our dreams and prayers relating to the Messianic Age, but as long as these do not seek to undermine another's religious identity in the here and now, these should not be an obstacle to close relations and collaboration," said Rosen.

AJC requested such a clarification at the time the text of the prayer was released, and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel made the continuation of its ongoing bilateral dialog with the Vatican, contingent on such clarification.
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