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Catholics and Jews come together at Vatican to reflect on 50 years of progress

The relationship between Catholics and Jews hasn't always been strong, to say the least. But during a press conference held at the Vatican, leaders from both faiths reflected on the tremendous progress that has been made after the Second Vatican Council.

They came together to discuss a new document from the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, "The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable.� But the conversation was about much more.

The text recalls that the alliance with God is valid and that the Catholic Church should not try to convert Jews. A major focus was on how Catholics and Jews can work together on some of the most pressing issues of our time through dialogue.

FR. NORBERT HOFMANN

Secretary, Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews

"When you read the document, you see the goals listed up. It's to know each other better, of course for collaboration for peace, for justice, for the preservation of the creation and for reconciliation. These are, let's say, the great goals of the dialogue.�

The document was prepared to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of "Nostra aetate.â? The historic declaration set the basis for dialogue between Catholics and other religions. 

One Jewish representative suggested that his presence at the Vatican was itself proof of progress. He noted that a group of Orthodox rabbis had also recently published a document about their relationship with Christianity. He quoted from it.

RABBI DAVID ROSEN

American Jewish Committee

"'Christianity is neither an accident nor an error, but the willed outcome of divine will and a gift to the nations.' And it calls for us, as indeed this document issued by the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, to work together as partners to address the moral challenge of our era.�

Since fifty years have passed since the landmark declaration about Catholicism's relationship with other faiths, some wondered whether it was time for second "Nostra Aetate.� The participants didn't give a definitive answer, though they suggested that publications like these were steps on the way to such a statement.

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