'Nostra Aetate' 50th anniversary inspires Milwaukee celebrations

Local Jews and Catholics active in interfaith relations all declared that “Nostra Aetate” led to thoroughgoing changes. “As I began learning” about this document, said Elana Kahn-Oren, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, “I had my eyes opened again and again about how amazing [‘Nostra Aetate’] is.”

Because of it, Catholics have “changed their approach to how they deal with non-Catholics and specifically with Jews,” said Kahn-Oren, who is one of the leaders of the celebration events and a co-chair of the Catholic-Jewish Conference. Rabbi Ronald Shapiro, who recently retired from being senior rabbi at Congregation Shalom, has participated in interfaith relations work throughout his rabbinate, including in a Catholic priest-rabbi dialogue group.

He said priests have told him that older priests ordained long before “Nostra Aetate” tended to exhibit hostility to Judaism. “When the topic of Judaism came up,” he said, “there was the old belief that Jews had something to do with the crucifixion of Jesus, and that Judaism was a religion that was antithetical to Catholicism.”

“Many years after ‘Nostra Aetate,’” Shapiro continued, “and another generation had grown up, the priests said they never hear that kind of attitude any more. They don’t feel that sense of anti-Semitism. That was most impressive to me.”

Richard Lux is founding director of the Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at the Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. For him, Catholic-Jewish relations has been “a 40-year passion of my life,” he said. “‘Nostra Aetate’ rejected 18 centuries of anti-Jewish teaching in the church,” he said. “It was a total transformation of church teaching.”
full article at The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

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