Israel, Palestinians & Mid-East

Dialogika Resources

Comments on Bishop Bustros' controversial statements

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, the moderator for Catholic-Jewish relations of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, offered the following remarks during the bishops' fall meeting. He spoke after a presentation by Bishop Greogry Mansour and others on the special Vatican synod on the Middle East, including the post-synod statements by Bishop Cyril Bustros about the chosenness of the Jewish people and using the Bible in current political disputes in the Middle-East. The following text is transcribed from the video log of the USCCB meeting available, Nov. 16, 2010 second session, at 01:19:14 on TELECARE.

Thank you.

Bishop Gregory, I appreciated especially your clarifications about the unfortunately controversial statements at the conclusion of the synod, and would echo that my understanding is as yours, especially through the statement of the Holy See's press secretary Father Lombardi, that those particular controversial statements did not, not reflect the mind of the synod but were an individual bishop's opinions.

And Bishop Zubik I would concur that unfortunately those statements caused a lot of distress among our Jewish friends. Not so much, Bishop Mansour, the statement against using the Bible for violence — we would all agree of how improper that is — but unfortunately the questions about the permanence of the covenant and the special  ...  and the irrevocability of God's covenant with the people of Israel that was so dramatically affirmed by John Paul II and as recently as his historic visit to the  synagogue of Rome last November [sic] by our current Holy Father, so that — I think we need to reassure our Jewish friends — remains the clear vision of the church.  

Our Jewish neighbors, by the way, even not hiding at all as Bishop Zubic eloquently described the anguish over the unfortunate interpretations of those statements, have expressed to me (in my role of service to you as chair of the Jewish-Catholic dialogue) relief and satisfaction that the [concluding synodal] document to which you refer —  the three of you — did speak of the necessity of security and safety for the people of Israel and encouraged ongoing Jewish-Catholic dialogue ... and that meant a lot to them.  So, God willing, some of the perhaps unfortunate remarks or the interpretation being given to them will not cloud that good news.