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Promoting Peace In The Face Of Violence

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Promoting Peace  In The Face Of Violence

Joint Statement

1. The Catholic
co-chair Cardinal Peter Turkson opened the meeting welcoming the delegations,
introducing the current theme, and wishing fruitful deliberations. The Jewish co-chair
Rabbi Rasson Arussi expressed thanks to the hosts and noted that this was the
first meeting since the death of the founding Jewish co-chair Rabbi Shear
Yashuv Cohen of blessed memory, whose leadership was indispensable for the
success of this bilateral commission. At the same time he recalled the other
founding co-chairs of blessed memory, Cardinal Jorge Mejá½·a and Cardinal Georges
Cottier, for their inspiring guidance. Rabbi Arussi welcomed the new member of
the Jewish delegation, Rabbi Moshe Dagan, the new Director General of the Chief
Rabbinate of Israel, and noted with satisfaction the decision of the Chief Rabbinate
Council confirming Mr Oded Wiener as the coordinator of the Jewish delegation.
Congratulations were offered on behalf of all the members of the bilateral
commission to Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa on his elevation to the
episcopate and appointment as Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate
of Jerusalem, wishing him every success in this ministry.

2. The theme of
the 14th meeting of the bilateral commission was titled “€œPromoting
peace in the face of violence in the name of religion”€. Acknowledgement was
made of the tragic sins of past violence that have been perpetrated in the name
of religion, and the terrible blasphemous abuse of religion in our current
times that desecrates human life, and denying human liberty and difference, and
posing critical challenges for our respective traditions.

3. The Catholic
presentation sought to assess whether and to what extent religions can play a
role in the resolution of conflicts and the construction of a new international
order based on justice, peace and the care of Creation. In affirming the divine
sanctity of human life, our religions demand respect for each person”€™s life and
identity. This must be guaranteed to refugees and migrants, also by receiving
them in such a way that the rights and freedoms of all are promoted.

4. The Jewish
presentation surveyed the various factors that lead to aggression, violence and
war, and sought to define criteria and values available in particular to the
Abrahamic traditions in combatting these “€“ specifically, the sanctity of the
human person, the principle of free will, and appreciation of diversity as a
reflection of the Divine Presence and Will. Notable in this regard were the
words of Cardinal Augustin Bea in his comments on Nostra Aetate that the concept of Divine Fatherhood implies that
all human beings are equal in dignity. In addition, it is incumbent on
religious leadership to exercise theological humility in presenting and
interpreting their respective traditions in a manner that avoids violent intent
towards others.

5. In the face
of the current human challenges and tragedies, the importance of religious
leaders serving as an example of tolerance and respect was highlighted.
Furthermore, the participants pledged to do their utmost to persuade their
respective leadership to act in a most tolerant and humane manner towards the
“€œother”€ and the vulnerable. In these regards the recent words of Pope Francis
to representatives of different religions are particularly apposite:

May we reject the aimless paths of disagreement and
closed-mindedness. May it never happen again that the religions, because of the
conduct of some of their followers, convey a distorted message, out of tune
with that of mercy. Sadly, not a day passes that we do not hear of acts of violence,
conflict, kidnapping, terrorist attacks, killings and destruction. It is
horrible that at times, to justify such barbarism, the name of a religion or
the name of God himself is invoked. May there be clear condemnation of these
iniquitous attitudes that profane the name of God and sully the religious quest
of mankind. May there instead be fostered everywhere the peaceful encounter of
believers and genuine religious freedom (Address
of Pope Francis to Representatives of Different Religions, Vatican, 3 November

6. The members
of the commission called attention to and welcomed those initiatives aimed
precisely at repudiating the violent abuse of religion ” notably most recently
the Marrakesh Summit which issued an historic declaration to protect human
dignity and diversity in Muslim lands.

7. After more
than a half a century of Jewish-Catholic reconciliation and fruitful dialogue,
Jews and Catholics are called upon to work together to contribute to the
creation of peace for the entire human family, to fulfil the words of the psalmist
” Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other”
(Ps 85,11). The participants stressed the importance of education of new
generations to promote peace and reciprocal respect.

8. In discussion
on current issues, the principle of universal respect for the holy sites of
each religion was affirmed; and note was made of attempts to deny the
historical attachment of the Jewish People to its holiest site. The bilateral
commission vigorously cautioned against the political and polemical denial of
biblical history and called on all nations and faiths to respect this historic
religious bond.


30th, 2016 MarCheshvan 29th, 5777

Rabbi Rasson
Arussi  (Chairman of
the Jewish Delegation)

Peter Cardinal Turkson.(Chairman
of the Catholic Delegation)

Rabbi David Rosen

Pierbattista Pizzaballa O.F.M.

Rabbi Prof. Daniel Sperber

Archbishop Bruno Forte

Rabbi Prof. Avraham Steinberg

Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo

Rabbi Moshe Dagan

Pier Francesco Fumagalli

Mr Oded Wiener

Fr. Norbert J. Hofmann S.D.B.


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