Nostra Aetate presentation to address Jewish-Catholic relations

Molly Wierman, News Editor


The University of Dallas will present “Nostra Aetate — 50 Years Later: Commemorating Jewish-Catholic Relations” tonight along with Dallas’ Jewish and Catholic communities as a celebration of the two religious traditions and their relationship worldwide.

The address, co-sponsored by the university, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, will take place at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with a performance featuring the UD Chorale and the Temple Emanu-El choir, according to the UD website.

Rabbi David Rosen and Bishop Brian Farrell will deliver the joint address in the form of a dialogue centered on peace in interreligious relations.

Rabbi Rosen has served as chief Rabbi of Ireland and international director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee.

Bishop Farrell, brother of Bishop Kevin Farrell of the Diocese of Dallas and chancellor of UD, is the Vatican secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The address commemorates “Nostra Aetate: On the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions,” considered the one of the most radical and influential documents of the Second Vatican Council, according to NPR. The 1965 document rejected anti-Semitism and attempted to open up relations between Judaism and Catholicism by claiming that no Christian can be faithful to Christ while holding anti-Semite beliefs.

Dr. John Norris, associate provost and associate professor of theology, believes the university community and the Catholic faithful as a whole should take the opportunity to reflect upon their relationship with their Jewish brethren, and focus on mutual attempts to strengthen interreligious ties.

“Though much has been accomplished in the last fifty years, there is still room for greater understanding, support, respect and friendship between Christians and Jews, who believe in the same God of Abraham and Moses and David, and trust in the fulfillment of God’s covenantal promises,” Norris wrote in an email. “As a Catholic university, UD must stand in the forefront of this continued dialogue with our Jewish sisters and brothers. We are honored to collaborate … to bring these important speakers in the Jewish-Catholic dialogue to Dallas.”

Norris also said Catholics must remember that the Holy Family and the Apostles were all Jewish, that God has not broken His covenant with Israel and that the Jewish people cannot be indiscriminately blamed for the death of Jesus and.

“Catholics must continue to reject anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism and its foundations,” Norris said in an email. “Pope Francis in particular has emphasized the importance of continued dialogue between Jews and Christians, having indeed profited from a rich and fruitful friendship with Jewish leaders in Argentina and now worldwide.”

Junior Quincy Gholston expressed similar concern for preserving and understanding the Jewish origins of Christianity.

“Our faith was created by Jews,” Gholston said. “Mary was a Jew, and Judaism is passed down through the mother. [In a sense] we’re all Jews … they are our elder brothers, our cousins of God.”

He also said that strongly held beliefs and religious orthodoxy can never excuse bitterness or unkindness toward those of other traditions of faith.

“We have to be careful [that] our orthodoxy is not an excuse to go out of our way to be against people,” Gholston said.

Instead, Gholston believes, dialogue and understanding are most important, especially for students at UD.

“We’re the Catholic University for Independent Thinkers,” Gholston said. “There’s so much we can learn [from Judaism.]”


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