In This Issue
Catholic Bishops Respond
Nostra Aetate Resources
Regional Events of Note
Support the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies

November 2012

Dear CCJS Friends and E-Letter Readers,
November is the month of Thanksgiving.  We at CCJS are counting our many blessings.  We are especially grateful for the continuing support and encouragement of our CCJS board of directors, many of whom have made visits to our new CCJS office on the Saint Leo University campus.  Among them, Rosemary Brehm and Michael Murphy are leading an effort to develop a multimedia introduction to the topic of Catholic-Jewish dialogue.
CCJS has al
Website Committee 2009so received a warm welcome from the faculty, students, and staff of Saint Leo University.  Recent articles about CCJS and our work have been featured in the Saint Leo University's home page and email bulletins.  On October 18, the leadership and student chaplains of Saint Leo University Ministry invited Professor Taggart to present a lecture, "Understanding Christianity's Jewish Roots," at the chaplains' formation session.  We look forward to working with Magda Robles, Assistant Director of University Student Chaplains of Saint Leo University MinistryMinistry, and Father Stephan Brown, Director, to support their annual on-campus Model Seder scheduled for March 10, 2010.  The CCJS board of directors will have its annual board meeting on campus the same day so that all board members will be able to join in the Model Seder event.

Also in this E-Letter, we are providing text and links to important developments in the ongoing dialogue between the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and Jewish leaders concerning Catholic and Jewish understandings of covenant and conversion (see our September E-Letter).  We recommend the website of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR) for additional resources on this important issue.
As promised, our monthly E-Letters will continue to provide updates on local/regional events (see below) as well as additional resources related to the important topic of  Nostra Aetate.  We welcome your comments and suggestions as we continue to serve our mission "building mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation among Jews, Christians, and all people of good will."

Linda S. Taggart, M.A.

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


Bishops Clarify Statement On Dialogue With Jewish Community, Plan To Excise Two Lines From Earlier Statement On 'Doctrinal Ambiguities'


USCCB News Release
October 6, 2009

WASHINGTON-Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and four other bishops issued on October 5, a "Statement of Principles for Catholic-Jewish Dialogue."

The cardinal and bishops also said in a letter that the June 18 document titled, "A Note on Ambiguities Contained in 'Reflections on Covenant and Mission'" would be amended by removing two sentences that might lead to misunderstanding about the purpose of interreligious dialogue.

The Note addressed issues related to evangelization and the Jewish covenant that were discussed in an article written in 2002 by a group of Catholic scholars who were consultants to the USCCB and the National Council of Synagogues. Intended "as a clarification of Church teaching primarily for Catholics," the Note "led to misunderstanding and feelings of hurt among members of the Jewish community," the bishops said in their statement.

In addition to announcing the revision, the bishops also issued a Statement with Six Principles for Catholic-Jewish Dialogue that draw on Church teaching and Catholic understanding of the dialogue process. Among the principles is the acknowledgment that "Jewish covenantal life endures till the present day as a vital witness to God's saving will for His people Israel and for all of humanity." The bishops also affirmed the responsibility of Catholics to bear witness to Christ as "the unique savior of humankind." At the same time, they noted that lived context shapes the form of that witness.

"The Statement of Principles" was sent in response to an August 18 letter from Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, American Jewish Committee; Rabbi Eric Greenberg, Anti-Defamation League; Rabbi Gilbert Rosenthal, National Council of Synagogues; Professor Lawrence Schiffman, Orthodox Union; and Rabbi Dr. David Berger, Rabbinical Council of America. The Jewish leaders wrote to express their concern that paragraph 7 of the Note had formally characterized Catholic-Jewish dialogue as an invitation, either explicit or implicit, to Jews to abandon their faith in order to embrace Christianity. The bishops responded by saying that Catholic-Jewish dialogue "has never been and never will be used by the Catholic Church as a means of proselytism," nor is it "a disguised invitation to baptism." 

The statement seeks to reaffirm Catholic commitment to a dialogue in which Jewish self-identity is respected and deeper bonds of friendship and mutual understanding between the two communities is promoted. 

"In sitting at the table, we expect to encounter Jews who are faithful to the Mosaic covenant, just as we insist that only Catholics committed to the teachings of the Church encounter them in our dialogues," it said. 

Signers of the statement and letter in additional to Cardinal George included Cardinal William H. Keeler, archbishop emeritus of Baltimore and USCCB  Liaison to the Jewish Community; Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta, chairman of the Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Committee; Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Chairman of the Doctrine Committee; and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, Co-chair of the USCCB-Orthodox Union/Rabbinical Council of America Consultation.

The full statement can be found at 

The letter from the bishops can be found at


In our continuing effort to provide respected and reliable education and dialogue resources related to the history and legacy of Nostra Aetate, we recommend the following document:  
Rabbi David Rosen, "Nostra Aetate, Forty Years after Vatican II: Present and Future Perspectives," presented at the Conference of the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, October 27, 2005, Rome. 

Rabbi David Rosen is the International Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee. In December 2005, the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Saint Leo University was privileged to host Rabbi David Rosen and Bishop Edward Braxton, Eighth Bishop of Belleville Illinois, for the campus conference titled, "Catholic-Jewish Relations: John Paul II to Benedict XVI."


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