Improvements Noted in Jewish-Catholic Relations

January 28, 2001

Source: The Denver Post

On January 28, 2001, The Denver Post published an article on the improvement in Jewish-Catholic relations in the past few decades. Rabbi James Rudin thinks that "more good was accomplished in Jewish-Catholic relations in the last 35 years than in the rest of the millennium." He said "most of the movement has come from changes in attitudes by the Roman Catholic Church." There has been "a long line of overtures and apologies made by the Catholic Church in the last three decades of the 20th century." Rudin said such apologies -- for past wrongs committed to Jews by Catholics, and for present prejudice against them -- could not have been made 35 years ago. The change came when "the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) issued a statement ending the church's long-held teaching that Jesus was killed by Jews...In March, 2000 Pope John Paul II made a historic trip to Israel, visiting the Israeli president, the chief rabbinate, and Yad Vashem, the memorial to the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust. And, before leaving, the pope went to Western Wall, sacred to Jews, and put a prayer into the crack of the wall, as Jews have done for centuries. 'That was a total surprise to everyone,' said Rudin...Dialogue and cooperative programs now exist in many areas of the world between Jews and Catholics. In Denver, for instance, the American Jewish Committee and the Catholic Archdiocese have begun a program in which elementary and high school students in Jewish and Catholic schools can learn about each other's religions and practices."