Fran Maier, director of ecumenical and interreligious affairs for the Archdiocese of Denver, presented an address urging dialogue to ensure that Catholics and Jews help reduce prejudices and anti-Semitism and lead to greater mutual understanding.
"What Nostra Aetate
says in general stresses the fact that all humanity lives in one community and has a common origin and destiny in God and all men share a common dignity as his
"The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and good in other religions and Catholics are called to begin discussion and collaboration with other faiths."
continued, "It (Nostra Aetate) encourages us to build on the common spiritual heritage that we find in the patriarchs and the prophets in order to build mutual understanding and appreciation through scholarly research and gatherings and friendly discussions.
emphasized that the Jews have a covenant with God that has never been rejected or abrogated.
"The new covenant which the church claims for herself in no way means the Jewish people are discarded or superseded," said Maier
"All forms of persecution against the Jewish people whenever and wherever they happen are to be deplored."
The director of ecumenical and interreligious affairs for the Denver Archdiocese
cautioned that there is a tremendous need for patience and persistence in dialogue between Catholics and Jews, as well as an outlook for modest expectations.
"A commitment to truth on both sides is very important.
Jews have to be true to their faith and speak the truth when they're dealing in dialogue, with respect and affection.
Truth always does serve dialogue," Maier
highlighted that the Vatican II document calls for increased dialogue among all world religions.
has 650 words dealing with the Jewish people in a document of 2,000 words.
The full text of the Vatican II documents contains 420,000 words, and 2,000 of them deal with Nostra Aetate
Those are 2,000 words and 650 words that should lead the church in a way that 400,000 words didn't."
Maier, who has also served as an editor in the Catholic press, explained to the 50 luncheon attendees that the Catholic Church is going through a wholesale evaluation of her identity and mission in the world.
"One of the things I would hope the Jewish communities understand is that we are not going to go back to the way we were.
This change is permanent and fundamental," he
concluded by telling listeners, "One thing that can't happen is going back to the way it was in 1850 or 1650.