Examining Nostra Aetate After 40 Years: Catholic-Jewish Relations in Our Time

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9781888112153: Examining Nostra Aetate After 40 Years: Catholic-Jewish Relations in Our Time
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A new book, Examining Nostra Aetate After 40 Years, Catholic-Jewish Relations in Our Time, from Sacred Heart University Press examines Christian and Jewish relations, pre and post Nostra Aetate, assessing the existing level of mutual understanding and paving the way for a deepening of respect and trust between people of other faith traditions.

Prior to Vatican II it was not uncommon for Christian churches to dismiss Judaism, relegating it to the ranks of antiquated religions and promoting the belief that Jews were blind to the truth of Jesus.

The adoption of Nostra Aetate on Oct. 28, 1965 by Catholic bishops from throughout the world in effect admitted it was Christians who were blind to the validity of Judaism and to the commonalities of both religions.

The book is a compilation of essays contributed by prominent leaders in the field of Christian-Jewish understanding, whose words and lives have played a vital role in furthering the cause of fellowship outlined in the official Vatican document, in which Pope Paul VI said, One is the community of all peoples, one their origin, for God made the whole human race to live over the face of the earth.

Sacred Heart University President Anthony J. Cernera, edited the book and also contributed a chapter about the University s Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding and its fostering of dialogue and mutual understanding.

We are living in extraordinary times and are blessed because people of good will have reached out in trust and friendship. The present volume is intended to be a testament of and contribution to that continuing effort, Cernera says in his preface.

Among the contributors to the book are Rabbi Mordecai Waxman (deceased August 2002), once recognized by the Vatican as the official Jewish representative in international Christian-Jewish relations; award-winning author Judith Hershcopf Banki, one of the pioneers of organized inter-religious dialogue; and Frans Jozef Van Beeck, a Jesuit priest and author of two books on ecclesiology and the Catholic Church s relationship with contemporary Judaism.

Each essay examines Christian-Jewish relations from various contexts, including personal, historical, social, political and theological.

The volume begins with an introduction titled Nostra Aetate Revisited, in which Edward Idris Cardinal Cassidy describes the document as the Catholic Church s binding and irreversible commitment to turn away from almost 2,000 years of hostility towards the Jewish people, and set out on a new journey of mutual trust and understanding. Cardinal Cassidy is President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity within the Vatican and he headed the Commission on the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews.

John T. Pawlikowski, a Servite priest and director of Catholic-Jewish Studies at the Cardinal Bernadin Center at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, highlights ways in which Nostra Aetate may also enrich Catholics understanding of their own faith.

Banki concludes her essay with a reminder that although Christian-Jewish relations have improved greatly since Nostra Aetate, We still have much work to do together.

The relationship between Christians and Jews, Cernera says, is still a work in progress.

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About the Author:

When Anthony J. Cernera assumed the presidency of Sacred Heart University in 1988, he was just 38, one of the youngest college presidents in America. Since then, Dr. Cernera has worked vigorously to strengthen the school s enrollment, its academic offerings and its financial base, transforming a small commuter college into the second-largest Catholic university in New England. Dr. Cernera earned bachelor s, master s and doctoral degrees from Fordham University. He remains active in the field of theology, in which he earned his Ph.D., and he teaches courses in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies each semester as a tenured professor. In 2006, he was elected president of the International Federation of Catholic Universities.

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Anthony J. Cernera, and other contributi
Published by Sacred Heart University Press (2007)
ISBN 10: 1888112158 ISBN 13: 9781888112153
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