March 2, 2005

ONCE EVERY COUPLE THOUSAND YEARS:

Jewish-Catholic unity might be pope's legacy (RITA CIOLLI, March 1, 2005, Newsday)

Prominent Jewish and Catholic leaders meeting in New York yesterday said the spirit of respect and cooperation between the two religions forged by Pope John Paul II is now so strong that it would continue beyond his papacy.

"I am optimistic that what this pope has done for the last 26 years cannot be reversed," said Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Vatican council responsible for Jewish-Catholic relations. He added that "everyone can only be happy about the progress that has been made, which is so important for peace in the world."

The World Jewish Congress is hosting the two-day forum for 27 Catholic cardinals and bishops to meet with international Jewish leaders from around the world. While this is the third gathering, it is the first time that the Catholic leaders were meeting with Orthodox Jewish leaders, showing the progress of the interfaith cooperation, said Rabbi Israel Singer, chairman of the World Jewish Congress.

"Some of what we are doing today is allaying concerns about the future. This is an opportunity to make sure we don't have any backsliding," said Singer, of Lawrence. He said the gathering would pray for the ailing pope, who Singer said had done more for Catholic-Jewish relations "in 20 years than anyone had in 2000 years."

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 2, 2005 2:37 PM
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