Italian Jews Return to Reflection Day

’09 Event Canceled; Preparations Begin for 2010

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ROME, SEPT. 24, 2009 ( The Judeo-Christian reflection day traditionally held in Italy before January’s week of prayer for Christian unity is on the calendar again for 2010.

The 2009 event was canceled based on concern over the Good Friday prayer in use after Benedict XVI’s 2007 letter issued «motu proprio» opened the way to a broader use of the 1962 Missal. The Pope subsequently made changes to the Good Friday prayer for the Jews for that form of the liturgy. 

The days of reflection will be taken up again, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian episcopal conference, announced Wednesday.

The cardinal had just met with Giuseppe Laras, president of the Italian Rabbinic Assembly, and Riccardo Di Segni, chief rabbi of Rome.

«During the meeting, the cardinal reaffirmed his personal esteem and that of the bishops of the episcopal conference for the Italian Jewish communities,» a conference communiqué affirmed.

Cardinal Bagnasco said that he «understood the reactions of concern,» but affirmed that «there is absolutely no change whatsoever in the attitude that the Catholic Church has developed toward Jews, especially since Vatican Council II.»

He went on to express «concern over those sources of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism that, every so often, continue to appear, confirming the need for attentive vigilance» and for more profound bonds of «friendship» and «mutual esteem» in order to «eliminate those elements that can foster anti-Jewish attitudes.»

«The path followed over the last decades has been extraordinary and full of fruits for all,» he added.

The Italian episcopal conference began the days of reflection in 1990.

Beginning in 2005, a 10-year program of reflection was initiated on the Ten Commandments. The next meeting will reflect on the Fourth Commandment, according to the Jewish numeration: «Remember to sanctify the Sabbath day.»

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