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Jewish, Catholic Consultation Hails Papal Pilgrimage to Israel

 

March 14, 2000

WASHINGTON -- Members of the Ongoing Consultation between the National Council of Synagogues and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops have sent greetings to Pope John Paul II as the Pontiff prepares for next week's historic pilgrimage to Israel.

"He will visit sites that will evoke great emotion among Jews and Christians because they underscore both what binds Judaism and Christianity as well as what separates us," they said.

The statement by the members of the Ongoing Consultation, "Reconciliation and Hope: A Reflection on the Occasion of Pope John Paul II's Historic Pilgrimage to Israel,"  was issued after a March 13 meeting of the Consultation, in Baltimore.

"As Jews and Catholics, we applaud his desire to visit Yad VaShem, the memorial to the victims of the Shoah," the statement said.  "His presence at the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem will be especially significant to us.  These visits  reveal Pope John Paul's emphasis on God's continuing covenant with the Jewish people--a covenant, in his own words, "that has never been revoked."

"We also affirm the Pope's continuing exhortation with the Christian community to reflect on the past and repent for the sins of violence, antisemitism, and racism.  We wish the Pope a good journey--a pilgrimage of Shalom."

The Ongoing Consultation between the National Council of Synagogues (NCS) and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) has been meeting twice yearly since 1987.  Co-chairs of the Consultation are Cardinal William Keeler, Episcopal Moderator for Catholic -Jewish Relations, NCCB, and Rabbi Joel Zaiman, President, National Council of Synagogues.

This is the full text of the statement:

Reconciliation and Hope: A Reflection on the Occasion of Pope John Paul II's Historic Pilgrimage to Israel

by the members of the Ongoing Consultation Between the  National Council of Synagogues (NCS) and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB)

Meeting on March 13 in Baltimore, the members of the Ongoing
Consultation between the National Council of Synagogues and the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the NCCB send warm greetings to Pope John Paul II on the occasion of his historic pilgrimage to Israel. He follows the Jewish tradition as the Catholic tradition.  He will visit sites that will evoke great emotion among Jews and Christians because they underscore both what binds Judaism and Christianity as well as what separates us.

As Jews and Catholics, we applaud his desire to visit Yad VaShem, the memorial to the victims of the Shoah.  His presence at the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem will be especially significant to us.  These visits reveal Pope John Paul's emphasis on God's continuing covenant with the Jewish people--a covenant, in his own words, "that has never been revoked."

We also affirm the Pope's continuing exhortation to the Christian community to reflect on the past and repent for the sins of violence, antisemitism, and racism.  We wish the Pope a good journey--a pilgrimage of Shalom.


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