Visiting Professor of Judaica, Saint Leo University
International Liaison Committee Meeting
March 2, 2011
It is an honor to address this International Liaison Committee meeting. I thank the officers of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) who invited me to discuss an important theme that all of us will help define and shape in the years ahead: the future of Catholic-Jewish relations throughout the world.
In age, the ILC and IJCIC have reached the biblical number of forty years and I was privileged to be present at the creation of both in 1971. Extraordinary excitement, energy and élan were in abundance back then…it was only a half dozen years after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council and the actions taken there by the world’s Roman Catholic bishops in adopting a series of reforms including, of course, the Nostra Aetate Declaration.
The year 1971 was also about a quarter century after the end of World War Two and the Shoah; it was an era dominated politically and religiously by those individuals who have been given the title, “The Greatest Generation;” the men and women, both military and civilian, of the Allied nations whose combined extraordinary efforts were required to defeat Nazism and Fascism. It was also an era when Holocaust survivors were rebuilding their personal and professional lives in Europe, Israel, North and South America and elsewhere. Some survivors of the Shoah provided leadership in establishing the ILC and IJCIC.