“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:9–11)
Fifty years after the Catholic Church issued the Nostra Aetate (In Our Time) document that paved the way for groundbreaking change in Catholic attitudes toward Jews, the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Dolan, urged a Jewish audience to continue with interfaith friendship.
“This friendship, this mutual appreciation and understanding, is something that you and I need to remind the world of,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan told his audience at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America on Wednesday. “We’ve got something to give to the world.”
Although the Nostra Aetate has led to a cooperation between Jews and Christians, Dolan said, people might think “you don’t have to work at it, because it’s just there and it’s going to stay.” (National Catholic Report)
“We all know the hard way,” Dolan stated. “If it’s not something you constantly work at and constantly remind yourself of, it will quickly dissipate.”
The archbishop described Pope John Paul as having been inspired not just to tolerate Jews but to embrace a shared proclamation of “we want God.”
The partnership John Paul sought, Dolan said, flowed from “a mutual faith, love and Biblical roots, where Jews become like their prophets of old and Catholics like the Twelve Apostles, calling the world away from the worship of false gods, false idols, into the arms of the one true, eternal God who persistently and passionately loves us.” (National Catholic Report)
The day before, across the ocean, Britain’s Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, called on Christians to stand against the “horrendous” violence against Jews today.
At the annual dinner of the Board of Deputies of British Jews held in London, he said, “Within the Christian community we need to stand against our own tendency, when exhibited over many centuries, to violence—violence against each other and above all violence against Jewish communities in horrendous and horrible ways going back well over a millennia.” (Algemeiner)
Welby also called for the development of an ideology that would effectively counter the beliefs of “radicals,” while not describing who they might be.
“If we don’t do that, we leave all the good arguments in the hands of the radicals,” he said.
Welby apologized at the dinner for the actions of Church of England vicar Stephen Sizer, about whom the Board of Deputies had filed a complaint in 2012.
He said that Sizer is “an avid reader and publicizer of websites that are openly and virulently anti-Semitic, and Rev. Sizer has himself descended into making anti-Semitic statements.” (Times of Israel)
In their complaint against Sizer, the Board had referred to a June 2011 interview Sizer gave to Malaysian television, in which he linked “the Zionists” with supporters of Hitler’s work. “To say of the Jewish community that it is in league with neo-Nazis is as anti-Semitic as it is untrue,” the complaint reads.
Sizer also controversially attended an anti-Semitic conference in Iran last year. The conference topics covered conspiracy theories that falsely claimed Israeli involvement in 9/11 and Jewish tactics for world domination through the “Zionist lobby.”