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Jewish-Catholic dialogue examines religion textbooks

Catholic World News - January 20, 2012

The latest round of dialogue between the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Council of Synagogues examined the presentation of Judaism in Catholic religious education programs and the presentation of Catholicism in Jewish religious education programs.

“Despite great strides made in this area by Catholics since the Second Vatican Council, there is still a dearth of Roman Catholic exegetical materials to assist teachers with a modern understanding of the Gospels that utilize the rich materials issued by the Pontifical Biblical Commission,” said Philip Cunningham, theology professor and director of the Jewish-Catholic Institute at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

“Much of today’s religious education in Jewish schools still focuses too closely on the mistreatment of Jews in the past,” observed Rabbi Arnold Samler of the Jewish Education Project in New York. “Even though Jewish religious schools are required by state law to teach about other religions, there are no consistent standards to help guide teachers in this important project.”

Participants in the dialogue also discussed the Arab Spring and the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

“There should be no concern on the part of our Jewish brothers and sisters that the new English translation in any way diminishes the progress made in Catholic expression about Jews and Judaism in the reformed liturgy since the Second Vatican Council,” said Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta. “On the contrary, the new translation seeks only to help clarify and deepen the liturgy for Catholics everywhere. Throughout the new translation, Jews remain ‘our beloved elder brothers and sisters,’ spoken of with respect and affection.”

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