‘Jesus Remains a Son of the People of Israel,’ Top Cardinal Says at Jewish-Catholic Celebration of ‘Nostra Aetate’ Anniversary
Christian and Jewish religious leaders came together on Thursday to celebrate the 55th anniversary of “Nostra Aetate,” the declaration promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1965 following the Second Vatican Council that denounced antisemitism and exonerated Jews from the charge of “deicide” — the killing of Jesus.
Keynote speaker Cardinal Kurt Koch — president of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews — hailed the 1965 document as a “milestone document articulating the promise of a new and better era in Christian-Jewish relations” by promoting a recognition of their common spiritual heritage, deeper understanding of one another and mutual respect.
Koch was addressing a virtual meeting that was arranged after the coronavirus forced the cancelation of a planned in-person dialogue in Brazil with Jewish leaders from around the world.
“Yes, even if we are not able to meet personally, our contact remains steadfast, attesting to the fact that our friendship is stable and strong,” the cardinal said. “Let us give thanks to God, the eternal and almighty, for these bonds of friendship and for all that has been achieved in the last decades of Jewish-Catholic dialogue.”
Koch said it was essential for Catholics to recognize that dialogue with the Jewish community was not “external to the life of the church,” nor was it “optional.”
“Jesus is and remains a son of the people of Israel,” the cardinal said. “He is shaped by that tradition and, for this reason, can only be truly understood in the perspective of this cultural and religious framework.”