France: International interreligious meeting between Jews and Catholics in Paris

Source: FSSPX News

The International Jewish-Catholic Liaison Committee (ILC) celebrated its fortieth anniversary in Paris from February 27 to March 2.  Among the Catholic dignitaries who had come from Rome were Cardinals Kurt Koch, Jean-Louis Tauran, Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, as well as the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, and French Cardinals André Vingt-Trois of Paris and Philippe Barbarin of Lyon.

This meeting brought together the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultation (IJCIC) and the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews;  it took place at the Collège des Bernardins in Paris.  Continuing along the lines set down by the conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate on the Church’s relations with non-Christian religions (October 28, 1965), the IJCIC was formed at the initiative of the Holy See and of several international organizations representing the Jewish people (World Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League…) both in Israel and in the diaspora.  Meetings between the Holy See and the IJCIC take place every two years.  The most recent ones have been held in Budapest (November 2008), in Capetown (November 2006) and in Buenos Aires (July 2004).

Launched at the end of World War II, especially by the historian Jules Isaac and the philosopher Jacques Maritain, the dialogue between Jews and Catholics in France has been pursued and developed, in particular through the initiative of personages such as Cardinal Albert Decourtray, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, Fr. Jean Dujardin and Fr. Bernard Dupuy, who was one of the founders of the International Jewish-Catholic Liaison Committee (ILC).

“We are experiencing the commemoration of this anniversary of the ILC as a reunion after so many years of mistrust …  with a certain joy!” declared Fr. Patrick Desbois, director of the National Service for Relations with Judaism of the French Bishops Conference.  “In a way,” he continued, “this is recognition for the efforts to dialogue with the Jews in France.  Many bishops in France have simple and regular relations with the Jewish authorities in their dioceses.  I am thinking, for example, of Archbishop Bernard-Nicolas Aubertin, who attended and spoke at the CRIF banquet in Tours, and also of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin in Lyon.  The fact that the ILC is celebrating its anniversary in France is a good sign.  Despite all the pogroms, the Shoah, and anti-Semitism, a bond of trust is forming.”

The program for those days included:

--a trip to meet the Jewish community in Raincy, near Paris.  In memory of Ilan Halimi, a young French Jew who was assassinated in 2006, an oak tree was planted, “a strong gesture carried out by the Catholic part of the delegation in front of the synagogue in Raincy, in the presence of the mayor, Eric Raoult,” according to the CEF statement.

--a day dedicated to the memory of the Shoah.  The delegation was welcomed at the Shoah Memorial in Paris before traveling to the site of the camp in Drancy, where a memorial ceremony took place in front of the “witness train-car”, the symbol of the deportation.  Cardinal Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, spoke on the theme of repentance, and Serge Klarsfeld, founder of the Association of the Deported Jewish Sons and Daughters of France (FFDJF) spoke about the history of the Drancy camp.  (Sources : Apic/cef – DICI no.231 dated March 5, 2011)

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