Lublin, Poland, Jan 18, 2022 / 13:00 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis’ friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka helped Catholics in Poland on Monday to mark the Church’s annual Day of Judaism.
Delivering an online lecture on Jan. 17, the Argentine rabbi said that Christians and Jews were called to work together to increase biblical knowledge in Western society.
“The process of removing the Bible from the consciousness of the Western world continues,” he said.
“It is precisely in the issue of saving the brilliance of the Hebrew Bible in people’s minds that Jews and Christians are called to work together. None of us can do it alone.”
The 71-year-old rabbi was speaking on “Jewish-Catholic dialogue 56 years after Nostra aetate,” the Second Vatican Council’s pathbreaking Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions.
The lecture was broadcast as part of an event organized by the Archdiocese of Lublin, the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, and the Archdiocesan Center for Catholic-Jewish Dialogue to mark the 25th Day of Judaism, whose motto this year was “My thoughts are not your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8).
The Day of Judaism, established in 1997 by the Polish bishops’ conference, is held at the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which takes place on Jan. 18-25. In Poland, the Catholic Church observes a Day of Islam at the end of the ecumenical week.
In his address, Skorka reflected on the historical relationship between Judaism and Christianity, declaring: “In our time, antisemitism is anti-Christianity, and anti-Christianity is antisemitism.”
Also speaking at the event in Lublin, eastern Poland, was the local Archbishop Stanisław Budzik, who highlighted the contribution of St. John Paul II, the Polish pope who led the Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005.
Father Mirosław Kalinowski, the rector of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, said that “contacts between Catholics and followers of Judaism must be based on respect and dialogue, for they lead to mutual acceptance and understanding.”
He emphasized that antisemitism was a grave sin that contradicts the Gospel and the teaching of the Catholic Church.
“At the same time, we have the right to respect and tolerance for our system of values,” he commented, noting that his university will host a center for the study of Polish Catholics and Jews who saved lives under Nazism and communism.
The event also highlighted the work of Father Gregor Pawłowski, a Jewish Holocaust survivor who became a Catholic priest. Pawłowski died last October in Israel, where he served both Polish and Hebrew-speaking communities.
As part of the Day of Judaism, a ceremony took place in Poznań, west-central Poland, attended by Michael Schudrich, the Chief Rabbi of Poland, and local Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki, president of the Polish bishops’ conference.
At the end of the service, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the Primate of Poland, said that the 25th anniversary of the Day of Judaism “should lead us towards what does not end, to the eternity of God, before whose face we stand.”
“This is also the source of our hope and joy,” he said.
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