Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
for them the cultural, social, and political aspects are also very important.
The other point in which the situation is very difficult is the conflict between Israel and Palestine: This conflict has always cast a shadow on our discussions and has sometimes mixed political affairs with religious affairs. Israel is the only country in the world where Jews are in the majority and Christians are a small minority. Then also, it is always important to the Jews to fight anti-Semitism. As John Paul II said: Anti-Semitism is a sin against God and against humanity. And so the Jews can be sure they have found an ally in the fight against anti-Semitism.
Q: What are the points of convergence?
Father Hofmann: There are so many, because spiritually and theologically Christianity has roots in Judaism. Christianity can't be understood without Judaism. As Cardinal Ratzinger once said, for the Jews and for our creed the one and only God is the God of Israel. There is also the second commandment, that we should help the needy, then the sacred Scriptures as the revelation of God's will, the Ten Commandments, ethics, how to live and completely fulfill oneself as a human being. Let's say that from a social point of view, we can do a lot together; even in the liturgy, in ethics there are so many similar elements. The religious foundation is enormous.
Q: On what levels is the dialogue between the Christian and Jewish world happening?
Father Hofmann: It is happening on the level of religion, social justice, discussions about theological issues, on Judaism's influence on Christianity and vice versa during the Middle Ages, on the Jewish roots. There is an ongoing dialogue to continue to find our own Christian identity. There is also the level of daily life: in New York, Jews and Catholics live right next to each other. They have to face daily life together, there are so many friendships.
Then there is the parish level, and in every bishops' conference, there is someone responsible for ecumenism and for interreligious dialogue. There is also the level of the universal Church regarding the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, but the true work is done by the bishops' conferences. And because there are few Jews in Asia, the most important dialogue is happening in the United States, Israel and in all the European countries.
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Jew, Jewish, Catholic, Hofmann, Somogyi
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