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"A Dynamic Partnership Between Jews and Catholics..."

Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies Newsletter
August 2008
In This Issue
CCJS Elects New Board Officers
Statement on Eucharist Desecration

CCJS Elects New Board Officers

We are excited to announce the election of new Officers to the Board of Directors of the Center for Catholic - Jewish Studies.  Board Members unanimously chose Ruth Maass as Chair, Dr. David Hernandez as Vice-Chair, Michael Murphy as Secretary, and Paul Sper to continue as Treasurer.  With their leadership the Center will continue to advance its work in interfaith dialogue.
We are also very grateful for the tremendous leadership and inspiration of past Chair, Gail Whiting, past Vice-Chair, Linda Taggart, and past Secretary, Ruth Maass 

Statement On the Recent Desecration of the Holy Eucharist

As many of you already know, recently there were acts of desecration of the Holy Eucharist conducted by a student at a Florida University aPalladiumnd a professor at a University in Minnesota. These acts deeply hurt and offended many Roman Catholics, other Christians, people from other great religious traditions and persons of good will. It is inspiring to see so many people who expressed deep regret, pain and solidarity with Catholics who understand the Holy Eucharist in a very distinct way as the very center of their faith and the heart of the Church.[1]  For Catholics, the Holy Eucharist is a Mystery of Love and the Real Presence of Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine rendered possible by the very action of the Trinity.[2]  It is the making present now of what Jesus said and did on the night before He died on the Cross, a graced event communicating God's redemptive love for humanity.[3]  Catholics see the celebration and reception of the Eucharist as the very source and summit of their lives as religious people.[4] 
Catholics and Jews have shared a special and unique bond of solidarity in modern times.[5]  Both groups pledge their support and prayers for each other and work together to educate and respond to situations where mutual respect is not upheld.  The Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at St. Leo University works hard to eliminate anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, and prejudice or bigotry of any kind.[6]  Our mission is to build local and world peace by strengthening relationships of mutual respect and cooperation.  The Center embraces the Catholic Church's teaching regarding the innate dignity of each human person as created in the image and likeness of God and respects "freedom of conscience" in religious matters.[7]  However, deliberate acts of religious desecration deeply wounds one's own dignity and fragments our pluralistic society where peoples of different religions and no religion live and work respectfully with each other building a better world for all people.
Catholics have already begun deep personal prayer and reparation to God for such  grievous actions.[8]  At the same time, we should all be aware that persons who say and do such things as we have seen and heard obviously do not value or for some reason are not able to value the rights or beliefs of others. Therefore, we also hold the perpetrators of such acts in our prayers, calling upon the Spirit to lead them to a conversion of heart and mind, even as we seek justice. We join all persons of good-will who value a free society where people of different faiths thrive together in a wonderful and passionate pursuit of justice, peace, tolerance and mutual respect.  We envision a new world where all live as brothers and sisters. Catholics and their friends do not seek retaliation, but a sense of contrition and reparation so that healing can continue. We long for the day when such actions against any religious person will be seen as a true hate crime against all humanity.

Father Len Piotrowski, Dr. Michael J. Tkacik, Rabbi James Rudin and the Executive Committee of the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Saint Leo University

[1]  See Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia De Eucharistia
[2]  Ibid, #15.
[3]   See The Second Vatican Council's Sacrosanctum Concilium #47
[4]  Ibid, Sacrosanctum Concilium #10
[5]   See The Second Vatican Council's Nostra Aetate #4
[6]   See the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Saint Leo University's webpage at http://www.centerforcatholicjewishstudies.org/
[7]  See The Second Vatican Council's Dignitatis Humanae # 2
[8]  See Pope John Paul II's 2000 Prayer at the Wailing/Western Wall
Please see our Web Page for more information about the work and activities of the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies and our collaborating partner, The American Jewish Committee, as well as our many friends.             
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"A Dynamic Partnership Between Jews and Catholics..."

The Web Page is also an excellent resource for us involved in and committed to interfaith dialogue. Please look for enhancements in the upcoming months! 

Thomas Poynor
Assistant Director, Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies
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Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies | A collaboration of Saint Leo University and the American Jewish Committee | P.O. Box 6665- 2460 | Saint Leo | FL | 33574-6665