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June 21, 2019 4:52 pm

New York Cardinal: Israel-Vatican Ties Have ‘Made the World a Better Place’

avatar by David Gerstman

The participants in Wednesday’s event on Israel-Vatican relations. Photo: Israeli Consulate General in New York’s Twitter account.

New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan said this week that ties between Israel and the Vatican have “quite literally made the world a better place,” the Crux, a publication covering the Catholic world, reported Friday.

Dolan’s comments were made during a panel discussion at Fordham University on Wednesday titled, “The Vatican Israel Accords: 25 Years of Progress and Challenge.”

The panel was co-sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Consulate General of Israel in New York. Other speakers on the panel were Israel’s consul general in New York, Dani Dayan; papal nunzio to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza; and co-director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at St. Joseph’s University, Dr. Adam Gregerman.

During his introductory remarks, Dayan recalled that Theodor Herzl had unsuccessfully sought to get support from Pope Pius X in 1914 for the effort to create a Jewish state in Palestine. A century later, he noted, Pope Francis not only visited Israel, but laid a wreath at Herzl’s grave.

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That tribute to the father of modern Zionism, Dayan said, resulted from the “century-long dialogue” between the Catholic Church and State of Israel.

“We understand fully what an incredible journey — spiritually and politically — we have done in a mere 100 years that mended, repaired so many negative things that have been done in a millennia of history,” Dayan said, summarizing the history between the Church and Jews.

Dolan credited Pope John Paul II with pursuing diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Israel. He termed the eventual establishment of relations as the “master stroke” of his papacy.

“He considered it theologically driven as almost a credo in the Christian expression of covenant and land,” Dolan recalled. “And he believed it (to be) didactic as a final repudiation of sordid Christian antisemitism.”

Auza stated, “The Holy See has worked hard during these years, alongside the State of Israel, to fight against the abomination of antisemitism. It renews this vigorous and ever urgent commitment as new forms of the evil of antisemitism have been arising.”

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