International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee

Dialogika Resources

History of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee




Relevant Events or Meeting Themes

Oct. 28, 1965

Vatican City

Promulgation of the Second Vatican Council declaration Nostra Aetate, which calls for dialogues between Catholics and Jews.

Dec. 20-23, 1970


A first formal international meeting between Catholics and Jews occurs. Members of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) and the Vatican's representatives for Catholic-Jewish Relations agree on "A Memorandum of Understanding" for the creation of an International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee (ILC).


Dec. 14-16, 1971


First organizational meeting of the ILC.


Dec. 18-20, 1972


Themes: Relationship of people, religion, and land; human rights and religious freedom


Dec. 4-6, 1973


Themes: The above plus Israel and Middle East, Soviet Jews, international human rights. Suggestion made for new Vatican commission.

Oct. 22, 1974

Vatican City

Pope Paul VI establishes Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews under the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, directed by Johannes Cardinal Willebrands. Its first project is the publication of "Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate No. 4."


Jan. 7-10, 1975


Theme: The Guidelines of 1974


Mar. 1-3,1976


Theme: Ten years of relations between Catholic Church and Judaism.


Mar. 28-30, 1977


Theme: Mission and Witness of the Church.


Apr. 5-7, 1978


Theme: How the Traditions Educate About Each Other


Oct. 22-25, 1979


Theme: Religious Freedom, Education for Dialogue in a Pluralistic Society


Mar 31-4/2, 1981


Theme: Challenge of Secularism in Our Religious Communities


Oct. 6-9, 1982


Theme: Sanctity/Meaning of Life in Present Situation of Violence


Mar. 27-29, 1984


Theme: Youth and Faith

June 24, 1985

Vatican City

Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews publishes "Notes on the Correct Way to Present Jews & Judaism in Preaching and Teaching in the Roman Catholic Church."


Oct. 28-30, 1985


Theme: 20th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate; the Vatican Notes

April 13, 1986


Pope John Paul II makes a historic visit to the chief Synagogue of Rome. In his address there he states that Judaism and Christianity are "intrinsically related" and that to Christians, Jews are "elder brothers".

Dec. 1987

Planned ILC meeting in Washington, D.C. is derailed by the Auschwitz convent dispute and the reception by the Pope of Austrian leader Kurt Waldheim. At a meeting with Jewish leaders, the Pope approves the suggestion that the Vatican prepare a statement on the Shoah.


Sept. 3-6, 1990


Theme: the Shoah. Its work launches the writing by the Commission of a document on the Shoah. ILC releases a Joint Declaration on Antisemitism.




Theme: 25 years of dialogue

Dec. 30, 1993


"Fundamental Agreement Between the Holy See and the State of Israel" is signed, which is to lead in 1994 to the establishment of full diplomatic relations and the exchange of ambassadors.


May 23-26, 1994


Themes: Anti-Semitism, education and ecology. A document on ecology commences. A draft of a German bishops’ statement on the Shoah is presented to the ILC for conversation as a possible basis for the Vatican statement. This is leaked to the media, erroneously, as a draft of the Vatican document. ILC issues a Common Declaration on the Family.

June 15, 1994

Full diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel are established. Israel’s first ambassador to the Holy See is welcomed to Vatican City on September 29.


A planned ILC meeting in Buenos Aires is cancelled for various organizational reasons on the Jewish side.

Oct 30 - Nov 1, 1997

Vatican City

Invitational symposium of sixty, mostly Catholic, scholars held under the auspices of the committee for the great Jubilee of the Year 2000 entitled, "The Roots of Anti-Judaism in the Christian Milieu." The Pope calls for its work to be done "with scholarly rigor, in the conviction that to serve the truth is to serve Christ himself and his church."

March 16, 1998

Vatican City

Issuance by the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews of "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah."


Mar. 23-26, 1998

Vatican City

Theme: "What and How Do We and Ought We Teach About Each Other?" Liaison Committee issues a "Common Declaration on the Environment" in addition to its by now usual Joint Communiqué.


May 1-4, 2001 New York
Theme: Repentance and Reconciliation. Liaison Committee issues a joint declaration on "The Protection of Religious Liberties and Holy Sites;" a statement on "Education in Catholic and Jewish Seminaries and Theological Schools;" and a summative Joint Communiqué.


July 5-8, 2004 Buenos Aires
Theme: Tzedeq and Tzedaqah (Justice and Charity). Liaison Committee issues a summative joint declaration.
Nov 4-7, 2006 Cape Town
"Dignifying the Divine Image": Jewish and Catholic perspectives on Health Care with special reference to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Liaison Committee issues a summative joint declaration.
20 Nov. 9-12, 2008 Budapest
Themes: the role of Religion in Civil Society today and the current state of Jewish-Catholic relations in Eastern Europe. Joint declaration issued to summarize the meeting.
21 Feb. 27 - Mar. 2, 2011 Paris
Theme: "“Forty Years of Dialogue – Reflections and Future Perspectives.” Joint declaration summarizes the meeting.