Catholics and Jews Agree on 2 Goals

Conclusion of Meeting of Liaison Committee

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BUENOS AIRES, JULY 11, 2004 ( Conferees at the 18th Meeting of the Catholic-Jewish International Liaison Committee Representatives committed themselves to work together for justice and charity.

«Given the global dimension of poverty, injustice and discrimination, we have a clear religious obligation to show concern for the poor and for those who have been deprived of their political, social and cultural rights,» a joint statement affirmed after the close of the four-day meeting that ended Thursday.

After mentioning the «great changes» in Jewish-Catholics relations since the Second Vatican Council’s declaration «Nostra Aetate,» the text paid tribute to Pope John XXIII for «initiating this fundamental path in Catholic-Jewish relations.»

«This fraternal dialogue has engendered understanding and mutual respect. We hope to reach ever wider circles and touch the minds and hearts of Catholic and Jews, and the whole community,» the text added, also recognizing John Paul II’s contribution.

Thus Catholics and Jews stressed their «mutual commitment to justice and charity,» which is «man’s cooperation with the divine plan to build a better world.»

In light of this, «we recognize the need to find a solution to these great challenges: the growing economic disparity between peoples, the great ecological devastation, the negative aspects of globalization, and the urgent need to work for peace and reconciliation,» the statement added.

The declaration emphasized the «total rejection of anti-Semitism in all its manifestations» and deplored «the phenomenon of anti-Catholicism in all its forms which manifests itself in the whole of society.»

Catholics and Jews also assumed the commitment to struggle against terrorism, which «is a sin against man and against God,» recalling the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, and «the two tragic experiences of terrorism here in Buenos Aires, a decade ago, which had Jewish targets.»

«We commit ourselves to put into practice and make known in our own communities the mutual promises we have made to one another in Buenos Aires, so that our work for justice and charity will enable us to reach the greatest gift: peace,» the note concluded.

The declaration was presented by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Cardinal William Keeler, archbishop of Baltimore and episcopal moderator for Jewish-Catholic relations in the United States; Israel Singer, president of the Catholic-Jewish International Liaison Committee; and Joel Meyers, vice president of the organization.

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