Dialogika

New Catholic Tridentine Rite Good Friday Prayer

Letter from Cardinal William Keeler to the ADL on Cardinal George's Remarks on Reciprocity


Dear Mr. Foxman:

Thank you for the opportunity we shared yesterday to discuss your recent correspondence with Cardinal Francis E. George, O.M.I., who as Archbishop of Chicago, had raised a variety of questions with you regarding liturgical prayer in both of our traditions. With his election as the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, he has asked d me to complete the conversation he .only had time to begin. As a friend to the Jewish community for many years, I am especially happy to do so.

I know that I speak for Cardinal George in assuring you that he has heard and understood the issues you raised regarding his October 4, 2007 interview with John Allen in The National Catholic Reporter. As one of the legacies of Pope John Paul II, Catholic-Jewish dialogue in the United States is now characterized by mutual confidence in raising difficult questions between our communities, knowing that we will give each other a generous and fair hearing.

Cardinal George respects the fact that there can be no comparison between passages in the Talmud which some have read to be anti-Christian in character and which do not now play any significant role in Jewish life or worship, with some texts from the rites of 1962 which were reformed in the wake of the Second Vatican Council to express positively our understanding of God's chosen people.

Together we are daily reminded of how important our words are, helping to build friendships and promote the best in both of our traditions. As a result, we are especially alert to the ways in which any of our statements can be misused by those who would attack our communities, or attempt to misrepresent the message of hope we offer to the world.

It is my prayer that the good relations built between us on the foundation of the Second Vatican Council's seminal document, Nostra Aetate, may continue to grow through a mutual accountability of the kind we so often share in facing difficult questions together. Pope John Paul's great gift of promoting reconciliation between our communities still echoes in his description of us as "a blessing to one another." May this be our prayer always!

Sincerely,

Cardinal William H. Keeler
Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore
Moderator, Catholic-Jewish Relations
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops