In This Issue
A Brief Guide for Interfaith Dialogue
CCJS Announces New Center Director
CCJS recommends the following Information Resources
Support the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies

September 2009

Greetings, Friends of CCJS and E-Letter Readers,
After nine years as a board member of the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies (CCJS), I am privileged to begin serving the Center as its new director.  I am especially grateful for the support and encouragement of our Center staff members, Jane Bracken and Thomas Poynor, our Board of Directors, and our Saint Leo University and American Jewish Committee colleagues as we rededicate ourselves to our mission of "building mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation among Jews, Catholics, and all people of good will by providing opportunities for interfaith education and dialogue."
This is a critical time in the dialogue between Catholics and Jews. When we participate in interfaith education, we are not only students of the past, but we are also witnesses to a living, breathing, and often challenging process of engagement. For example, in recent weeks press reports have described both new milestones and crises in Jewish-Christian relations.   In July 2009, the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) issued an important and hopeful statement, "A Time for Recommitment: Building the New Relationship between Jews and Christians."  In August 2009, Catholic and Jewish leaders began a respectful and very public dialogue concerning Catholic and Jewish understandings of covenant and conversion.  
How can CCJS assist our clergy, congregants, teachers, and students in addressing these challenges?  First, we begin by connecting you to respected and reliable research and current information resources (see a partial listing below).  CCJS is a member of the Council of Centers on Christian-Jewish Relations (CCJR), and we recommend the wealth of information available on the CCJR website, especially "Dialogika Resources."  Also, please consider the acclaimed education and dialogue series, "Walking God's Paths: Christians and Jews in Candid Conversation (WGP)," as an excellent interfaith dialogue and study program for clergy, congregations, classrooms, and the community at large (see listing below as well as CCJS website pages on WGP).  Lastly, let us reflect upon this quote from the recent ICCJ statement noted above: "The journey has been neither simple nor easy. We have encountered many obstacles and setbacks, including conflicts -some quite serious- over theological or historical developments.  But our determination to pursue the dialogue in spite of difficulties, to communicate honestly, and to assume our partners' good will has helped us stay the course." 
Amid the challenges that are unfolding, let us remember the achievements of decades of our Catholic-Jewish dialogue, and may we continue to have faith in its future.
Linda S. Taggart, M.A.

Director, The Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies and
Adjunct Professor of Theology & Religion at 
Saint Leo University.


A Brief Guide for Interfaith Education and Dialogue

The year 2010 will mark the 45th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's declaration Nostra Aetate ("In Our Time") which opened the door for interfaith education and dialogue in the Catholic Church.  Saint Leo University's Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies (CCJS) embodies the legacy of Nostra Aetate, a "vision of mutual spiritual and academic enrichment between Jews and Christians." 
Principles of Interfaith Dialogue:


The process of interfaith education and dialogue has never been an easy one.  Students, clergy, and members of congregations all approach these activities with understandable anxiety.  There are so many questions. 


How does it work? What are the rules?  Will this process have a positive result?  Three principles listed below will help guide participants as they begin their interfaith education and dialogue journey.

1. Interfaith dialogue is about conversation, not conversion.


2. Interfaith dialogue should be respectful, reciprocal, and constructive.


3. The goal of interfaith dialogue is more interfaith dialogue.

Interfaith education and dialogue is an ongoing process through which we grow in knowledge and understanding about ourselves and others. It is a process that we hope will continue to nurture what Pope John Paul II has called a "culture of dialogue...a harmony of differences."
The Center for Catholic Jewish (CCJS) Studies Support:

It is the mission of CCJS to build mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation among Jews, Catholics, and all people of good will by providing opportunities for interfaith education and dialogue.  CCJS recommends "Walking God's Paths: Christians and Jews in Candid Conversation" (WGP) as a respected study program that will provide participants with an understanding of what Jews and Christians share, where they differ, and how they can work together for a better world.  For more information on WGP or to explore additional resources and services, please contact CCJS (352) 588-8597 or visit the CCJS website ( ).


Ruth B. Maass
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, I would like to welcome our new Director, Linda Taggart.  Our board members know Linda well. She served as a member of our board for many years and provided great leadership as Chair of the Program Committee. Linda's knowledge and wealth of experience as an adjunct professor at SLU, as well as her passion for the Center and its mission, make her the right person at the right time to lead us. 
Ruth B. Maass
Chair, CCJS Board of Directors  



Ecumenism and Interreligious DialogueFr. Anthony Kissel, Ph.D., S.T.D.

Saint Leo University and the Department of Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Studies warmly welcomes Mrs. Linda Taggart to her new position as the Director of the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies (CCJS).  As a part of her new role, she will continue to teach for the department and develop courses that support the Center's mission of furthering mutual respect and understanding between Catholics and Jews.  In her studies, Linda has specialized in the Hebrew Bible and focused on the study of women in Scripture in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions.

Linda has previously shared her considerable personal, Linda Taggartintellectual, and leadership gifts and skills with Saint Leo University as a member of the board of trustees and as a member of the board of directors of our Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies.   


We look forward to her able and dedicated leadership.  We are utterly confident that CCJS will flourish under her care.


Fr. Anthony Kissel, Ph.D., S.T.D. 

Chair of Philosophy, Theology, and Religion

Saint Leo University


1. The Council of Centers on Christian-Jewish Relations (CCJR)  


CCJR LogoA CCJR bibliography of current discussion regarding to the United States Catholic Bishops' Document "Covenant and Mission"


USCCB Logo2. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs  

WPG Logo
3. "Walking God's Paths: Christians and Jews in Candid Conversation"


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