Dialogika

Christian Conversion of Jews?

Reply from Cardinal George to Various Letters

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, current president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent the following letter to various organizations and persons who had written him and other bishops to express their concerns about the June USCCB statement, "A Note on Ambiguities Contained in Reflections on Covenant and Mission."



United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Office of the President





Thank you for your letter... expressing your concerns about the statement issued by two committees of our Episcopal Conference, "A Note on Ambiguities Contained in Reflections on Covenant and Mission." The Note has occasioned some misunderstanding between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community in the United States, but it has also provided an opportunity for us bishops to reaffirm our commitment to dialogue in a manner that honors Jewish self-identity and that advances mutual understanding between us.

I feel that the best way to respond to your inquiry is to share with you the attached Letter and Statement of Catholic Principles for Catholic-Jewish Dialogue that five bishops of the Conference wrote in response to an inquiry from five Jewish leaders representing leading American Jewish organizations. This letter and statement represent the efforts of Cardinal William H. Keeler, USCCB Liaison to the Jewish Community, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, Chairman of the Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Bishop William Lori, Chairman of the Committee on Doctrine, Bishop William Murphy, Co-chair of the Orthodox Jewish-Catholic Consultation, and me.Our intention was to address Jewish concerns about the use of interreligious dialogue as a means of proselytism, as well as the Catholic Church's understanding of God's promises and relationships with the Jewish people.

At the time of the release of the letter and statement, we bishops also announced that the two committees that had authored the Note would amend it by excising the last two sentences of paragraph seven in order to address the concerns that were raised about the relationship between dialogue and witness. We trust that this effort will result in a clearer statement of Catholic belief that also respects the special relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people. The revised Note appears on our website: http://www.usccb.org/seia/jewish.shtml.

I hope that these recent decisions by members of our conference contribute to the ongoing dialogue and friendship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community which began in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, and which continues to be a powerful witness to interreligious cooperation within the broader human family.

Sincerely yours,

Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Chicago
President [USCCB]