Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A senior Vatican delegation reaffirmed the “chosen” status of the Jews on
Thursday, at the end of an annual meeting with representatives of the Chief
Rabbinate in Jerusalem.
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The Bilateral Commission of the delegations of
the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See’s Commission for Religious
Relations with the Jews concluded the three-day meeting Thursday, the theme of
which was the challenges of faith and religious leadership in secular society.
The Catholic delegation, led by Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejìa, “took the
opportunity to reiterate the historic teaching of the Second Vatican Council’s
declaration Nostra Aetate (No. 4) regarding the Divine Covenant with the Jewish
People that “the Jews still remain most dear to God because of their Fathers,
for He does not repent of the gifts He makes, nor of the calls He issues (cf.
Romans 11:28- 29),” the commission’s joint statement said.
At the end of
the Vatican Synod on the Middle East in October, Melkite Catholic Archbishop
Cyril Salim Bustros, who headed the commission that drafted the synod’s final
statement, raised a storm when he said that “we Christians cannot speak about
the promised land for the Jewish people. There is no longer a chosen
Jewish groups called on the Vatican to denounce that statement,
and Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi played down Bustros’s remarks,
which were not the official written message approved by the synod.
one wants a summary of the synod’s position, attention must currently be paid to
the ‘Message,’ which is the only written text approved by the synod in the last
few days,” he said shortly afterward.
Heading the Jewish delegation at
Thursday’s meeting – the 10th such meeting between the sides – was Haifa Chief
Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, a member of the Chief Rabbinical Council. He was
joined by Kiryat Ono Chief Rabbi Rasson Arussi, Savion Chief Rabbi David
Brodman, Chief Rabbinate Director-General Oded Wiener and Rabbi David Rosen, the
American Jewish Committee’s international director of interreligious affairs,
who is a member of the commission in his capacity as the rabbinate’s honorary
adviser on interfaith relations.
“Many people thought that the words of
Bustros [at the] end of the Synod reflected the church’s official voice,” Rosen
told The Jerusalem Post
on Thursday. “The Catholic delegation here made that
special statement to reassure the Jewish side and placate any suspicions that
may have remained.”