Archbishop Dolan will share the stage with a prominent Jewish leader next month to speak about an always interesting subject (and one that’s surprisingly sensitive at the moment): the state of Catholic-Jewish relations.
He’ll discuss the subject with Arnold Eisen, chancellor of the (Conservative) Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC, on Nov. 5. The occasion will be the seventeenth annual Nostra Aetate Dialogue at Fordham U.
The event will take place at the McNally Amphitheatre at Fordham University Law School, 140 West 62nd Street.
Edward Bristow, professor of History at Fordham University, will moderate.
Catholic-Jewish relations have generally been bright in recent years, improving by the decade since Vatican II. But there has been some…strain…the past few years.
Mel Gibson’s movie made a lot of people uncomfortable a while back.
Then Pope B16 urged wider use of the Latin Mass, raising concerns about a once-a-year Good Friday prayer urging conversion of the Jews.
Early this year, B16 lifted the excommunication of a traditionalist bishop who happened to be a Holocaust-denier.
And most recently, Jewish leaders have been peeved about a legalistic statement from the Catholic bishops of the U.S. that said that even though the Catholic Church recognizes the covenant between God and the Jewish people, Catholics must affirm their belief that Jesus Christ “fulfills God’s revelation begun with Abraham.”
The statement includes:
With St. Paul, we acknowledge that God does not regret, repent of, or change his mind about the “gifts and the call” that he has given to the Jewish people (Rom 11:29). At the same time, we also believe that the fulfillment of the covenants, indeed, of all God’s promises to Israel, is found only in Jesus Christ. By God’s grace, the right to hear this Good News belongs to every generation.
When one considers the near-miraculous improvements in Catholic-Jewish relations over the past 40 years — and we’re talking about a deep and meaningful relationship — one could make the case that the events of recent years are minor and somewhat inevitable, given the real differences between the religions.
Still, it will be quite interesting to see how Dolan and Eisen, two personable and articulate men, frame these issues and concerns.
Eisen (that’s him, below), who came to JTS in 2007, has expressed a great interest in interreligious work. This is a good opportunity for him to make a significant contribution on issues of interest to many people.
Archbishops of New York are remembered, in part, by how well they get along with New York’s large and influential Jewish community. Cardinal O’Connor, of course, was the Archbishop of Catholic-Jewish Relations, beloved by New York’s Jewish community.
Cardinal Egan got along well with the JC, but he was more reticent (as he was with all things).
You have to figure that when he gets to Fordham, he’ll be well-versed on the issues and concerns out there and ready to soothe them.