Home » Posts tagged 'Jewish'

Religious leaders praise Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew as a great ecumenist

By

Catholic News Service

ASSISI, Italy — As leaders of dozens of religions gathered in Assisi for dialogue and prayers for peace, they honored Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople as an exemplar of one who is so deeply rooted in his own religious tradition that he can reach out to others without fear.

Pope Francis exchanges greetings with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople as he arrives for an interfaith peace gathering at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, Sept. 20. The peace gathering marks the 30th anniversary of the first peace encounter in Assisi in 1986. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis exchanges greetings with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople as he arrives for an interfaith peace gathering at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, Sept. 20. The peace gathering marks the 30th anniversary of the first peace encounter in Assisi in 1986. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Jewish, Anglican and Catholic leaders paid tribute to Patriarch Bartholomew as he was about to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his enthronement as spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians. Pope Francis was scheduled to participate in a celebratory luncheon for the patriarch Sept. 20 in Assisi.

The Assisi celebrations Sept. 18-20 were organized by the Rome-based Community of Sant’Egidio, the Diocese of Assisi and the Franciscan friars.

In a formal meeting hall at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi Sept. 19, the leaders praised Patriarch Bartholomew as an ecumenist, theologian and leading religious defender of God’s creation.

Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury presided over the tribute to the patriarch, and Cardinal Walter Kasper, former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, gave the main talk, highlighting how “with great tact in difficult situations” the patriarch “always helped to overcome complicated twists and turns with the grand dexterity of a ‘pontiff,’ that is, a builder of bridges.”

“Like you,” Cardinal Kasper told the patriarch, “we are certain that unity is a command of the Lord and a response to the signs of the times in a world that is increasingly united, but at the same time profoundly lacerated by many conflicts.”

The unity Christians hope and pray for, he said, will not be the result of “any absorption, or watering down or homogenization, but a unity in reconciled diversity.”

Rabbi David Rosen, international director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee, told participants, “There is an understandable but regrettable tendency among those who are deeply rooted in a religious tradition to be insular and exclusive in their world outlook. While on the other hand, all too often those who are more open to engagement with those different from themselves reflect a superficiality lacking substance.”

The biblical model of excellence, though, is of “a luxuriant tree,” the rabbi said. It is the image of “one profoundly rooted within his own heritage and yet whose branches reach out as widely as possible providing fruit for all.”

Saying that Patriarch Bartholomew is such a man, Rabbi Rosen praised the patriarch’s leadership in condemning all violence in the name of religion and in addressing the issue of climate change and care for creation.

“His leadership in the environmental movement, long before it became fashionable, is a reflection of his sincere and genuine care for the cosmos as a whole,” he said.

Saying he was humbled by the tributes, Patriarch Bartholomew jokingly told the crowd present, “Don’t believe everything you hear!”

The patriarch said that while he was touched by the words of those he has collaborated with and admired, his work “resembles only a drop of water in an ocean of human pain and global suffering.”

“We do not rejoice without at the same time recalling and sharing in the suffering of others. And, at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, we certainly never experience joy without remembering that we embody a tradition that has known both glory and martyrdom through the ages,” he said.

The celebration serves only as an affirmation “that the bishop, too, is a child of God and a son of the church,” the patriarch said.

 

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

Comments Off on Religious leaders praise Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew as a great ecumenist

Pope calls for Catholics and Jews to stand together to defend believers

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — European Christians and Jews must stand together in witnessing to faith in God and in defending one another from discrimination and persecution around the world, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis met April 20 with a 30-member delegation of the Conference of European Rabbis in anticipation of the 50th anniversary in October of “Nostra Aetate,” the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on relations with the Jews, Muslims and other religions.

“Today, in Europe, it is more important than ever to emphasize the spiritual and religious dimension of human life,” the pope said.

“In a society increasingly marked by secularism and threatened by atheism, we run the risk of living as if God did not exist,” the pope said. But Christians and Jews know “God is holy, and the life he has given is holy and inviolable.”

Condemning new waves of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe, Pope Francis noted the 70th anniversary last January of “the liberation of Auschwitz, the concentration camp which has come to be synonymous with the great tragedy of the Shoah.”

“The memory of what took place there, in the heart of Europe, is a warning to present and future generations,” the pope said.

“Acts of hatred and violence against Christians and the faithful of other religions must likewise be condemned everywhere,” the pope said.

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the chief rabbi of Moscow and president of the conference, told the pope, “We express our deepest sympathy, prayers and support for the Christians in the Middle East.”

The Jewish community, he said, appreciates Nostra Aetate’s “rejection of every persecution against any man,” its recognition of the spiritual patrimony Jews and Christians share and its condemnation of “displays of anti-Semitism directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.”

And he, like the pope, spoke of the importance of reminding Europeans of God’s existence and of traditional religious values.

“Who would have thought even 25 years ago that the East will become the defender of traditional religious values while the West has embraced a secularism which moves it away from its Judeo-Christian heritage,” he said.

Coming from Russia, the rabbi said, he could not help but mention the continuing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the situation of refugees it is creating and the economic hardships that are spreading.

Rabbi Goldschmidt said he thought Pope Francis was in a unique position “to be God’s emissary to help build new bridges and bring the East and the West back from the brink of war, to a unified and peaceful Europe and the world.”

 

Comments Off on Pope calls for Catholics and Jews to stand together to defend believers

Catholics, Jews urged to work together for religious freedom

By

Catholic News Service

NEW YORK — Catholics and Jews can most effectively capitalize on five decades of progress in their relations by joining forces to promote religious freedom, defend immigrants, face a common threat from fanatics and advocate for civility in politics and society, said New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan.

He addressed more than 250 Jewish leaders assembled in New York Nov. 3 for the annual meeting of the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that fights anti-Semitism.

Read more »

Comments Off on Catholics, Jews urged to work together for religious freedom