Senior Vatican officials will meet with rabbis led by Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger in Cape Town next week to discuss their faith's approaches to the treatment of AIDS, organ trafficking and other medical issues.
Rabbi David Rosen of Jerusalem, head of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, said it would the first meeting of the Jewish Catholic International Liaison Committee in Africa, a continent where both AIDS and illegal organ trafficking are rife. The conference will take place November 4 to 7.
"Judaism's goal is to be a light to the nations," Rosen said on the eve of his departure for the conference. "Presenting Judaism's views on issues such as contraceptives in cases of life-threatening diseases such as the pandemic AIDS is central to fulfilling this goal."
Catholic clerics scheduled to attend include Cardinal Walter Casper, head of the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, and Cardinal Javier Lozano Baragon, head of its Council for Health Pastoral Care.
A spokesman for the chief rabbi said he would speak about the Orthodox legal approach to organ transplants.