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Rome's chief rabbi criticizes Church.

Rome -- The Church is hosting a series of events to mark 40 years since the publication of Nostra Aetate (In our age), the 1965 Vatican II document that began a new thrust of Jewish-Catholic dialogue. During the intervening years, there has been growing awareness and increased co-operation between the two faiths.

Speaking in October at the opening of a series of seminars on Jewish-Catholic relations, at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome's chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, felt called upon to criticize the Church in three areas. First, he said that steps taken by the Church to canonize or beatify well-known Jewish converts to Catholicism were unwelcome by Jews; second, he criticized the enthusiasm among Vatican officials for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ; and, third, he argued that Jewish-Catholic dialogue should not be viewed too optimistically, saying, "The ideal is far from the reality" (Nat. Cath. Register, 21 Nov. 04).

Vatican observers point out that there is bound to be some concern when Jews convert, especially when the convert is well-known in the Jewish community. Saint Edith Stein, a convert from Judaism, was not canonized because of her conversion to Catholicism, but rather for her heroic actions as a Catholic Carmelite nun. Former chief rabbi of Rome Eugenio Zolli, converted after World War II, and, as a model for Christians, his cause for beatification is under consideration. As for the Gibson movie, the charges of anti-Semitism are unfounded and discounted by the Catholic Church. While it is true that full visible unity between Christian and Jews will not become a reality until the end times, since the Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah, still Christians can recognize that the Jews are their elder brothers and sisters, the people of the covenant, who were chosen by God as His witness leading up to the coming of Christ.
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Title Annotation:Vatican; Riccardo Di Segni comments on Jewish-Catholic relations
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Feb 1, 2005
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