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Debate over the Cross threatens Jewish participation in Assisi event

Catholic World News - August 05, 2011

Rome's Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, provoked by a statement from a leading Vatican official about the meaning of the Cross, has raised questions about whether he and other Italian Jews might pull out of the interfaith gathering for peace in Assisi.

The debate began with Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, referred to the Cross as "the permanent and universal Yom Kippur." Rabbi Di Segni strongly objected, saying that the cardinal's statement trivialized the meaning of the Yom Kippur that Jews still observe.

Seeking to find common ground without backing off his point, Cardinal Koch wrote in L'Osservatore Romano: "We absolutely maintain that the Jews should not look at the Cross as we Christians do, in order to set out on the road to Assisi together."

Cardinal Koch acknowledged that this discussion touches on one of the most central and sensitive questions in Catholic-Jewish dialogue:

...the question of how to reconcile the conviction, binding for Christians as well, that God's covenant with the people of Israel has permanent validity with the Christian faith in universal redemption in Jesus Christ, in such a way that, on the one side, the Jews should not get the impression that their religion is seen by Christians as obsolete, and on the other that Christians should not renounce any aspect of their faith.

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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: koinonia - Aug. 08, 2011 9:19 PM ET USA

    "We absolutely maintain that the Jews should look at the cross as we Christians do." Say again. It seems to me that if "the Jews should look at the cross as we Christians do" they'd no longer be Jews. Unless, of course, there has been a major change in how Christians "should look at the Cross." Well maybe it will all get worked out while they're on the road to Assisi.

  • Posted by: Don Vicente - Aug. 07, 2011 10:04 PM ET USA

    I wish that Cardinal Koch were as stalwart a representative of Catholicism as Rabbi Di Segni is of Judaism.

  • Posted by: Cornelius - Aug. 07, 2011 4:03 PM ET USA

    So how do you square a circle, Cardinal Koch? You can't. Just cancel the whole Assisi thing.

  • Posted by: louapa3190 - Aug. 07, 2011 2:52 PM ET USA

    Dear Fellow Catholic Christians; Jesus and The Cross are for all salvation and NO one can deny that in any Christian event..... lja/JMJ

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Aug. 05, 2011 2:53 PM ET USA

    I preach Jesus Christ and him crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to Gentiles. This has never changed.

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