OPINION The Dialogue and Us

kornBy Eugene Korn*

I was distressed to read the recent misinformed statements of Jacques Roumani in “Interfaith Dialogue: Challenges and Limits.” He appears trapped in an outdated and inaccurate understanding of today’s Catholic Church, a fact clearly indicated by his quote of Franz Rosensweig. That statement, “that Judaism is the internal foe of the Church” is nearly 100 years old and of no relevance today’s reality.

I have been deeply involved in Jewish-Catholic dialogue and in direct contact with the highest officials at the Vatican for nearly 15 years. I can personally attest that no Catholic official in the dialogue – including Popes John XXIII, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis – sees Judaism this way. On the contrary, faithful Jews are approached with a sense of gratitude as “elder brothers,” and theologically knowledgeable Catholics frequently echo John XVIII’s words that Judaism and Christianity have a “shared spiritual patrimony.”

The days of polemic and attempted conversion are long gone, and it behooves responsible Jews to describe the Church and today’s Catholic officials accurately. Rabbi David Rosen does this. Those who resort to false and hostile stereotypes are irresponsible and disingenuous, and they only undermine the interests of the Jewish people everywhere.

*Eugene Korn is a Rabbi and a PhD recipient