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Press Release

ADL Praises Cardinal Koch's Address Calling Anti-Semitism 'A Betrayal Of The Christian Faith'

New York, NY, May 31, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today applauded Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, on his recent address calling anti-Semitism "a betrayal of the Christian Faith."

In his May 16 speech at Rome's Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Cardinal Koch, the Vatican's chief liaison to the Jewish people, strongly affirmed that the Church's positive teachings about Jews since the 1965 Second Vatican Council are binding on all Catholics. He also warned that Jews and Catholics must remain ever vigilant to maintain the positive relationship launched in 1965, as the dialogue "is constantly put to the test." The 1965 Vatican text called Nostra Aetate and related church teachings repudiate the centuries-old deicide charge against Jews, calls anti-Semitism a sin, reaffirms the eternal Covenant between God and the Jewish people, and dismisses missionizing efforts towards Jews.

The following is the text of a letter to Cardinal Koch from Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, and Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs:

"As the Jewish people face rising anti-Semitism around the world, we greatly appreciate in a particular way your clear and thoughtful statements that the Catholic Church's relationship to Judaism as taught by the Second Vatican Council, and the interpretations and developments of that teaching by subsequent popes, are binding on all Catholics.

"Sadly, we have to agree with you when you stated that 'the scourge of anti-Semitism seems impossible to eradicate in today's world.' Our concerns have been especially raised with the uncertainties surrounding the negotiations between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X, particularly comments made by some Catholic bishops, for example Cardinal Brandmuller, who recently stated that Nostra Aetate is not a binding document.

"Therefore, it is especially reassuring to read your May 16 address, in which you declare that "the Catholic Church is forced to declare that anti-Semitism and Marcionism are a betrayal of the Christian faith itself, and to recall that spiritual fraternity between Jews and Christians is firmly and eternally rooted in the Holy Scriptures.

"Finally, we could not agree more with your assessment that Jewish-Catholic dialogue will "never become stagnant…particularly since the new epoch-making course started by the Second Vatican Council is naturally put constantly to the test.

During his lecture, Cardinal Koch, a Swiss native, warned that in Christian theology today, "the ancient Marcionism and anti-Semitism re-emerge with a vengeance, and not just among traditionalists, but also among liberal currents within contemporary theology.

He said "Jewish-Catholic dialogue will therefore never become stagnant…particularly since the new epoch-making course started by the Second Vatican Council.

"The Second Vatican Council's call for a fostering of mutual understanding and respect must continue to receive the focus it is due. This is an essential pre-requisite for ensuring that Christian and Jews do not start dangerously drifting apart again, but that they stay aware of their spiritual affinity," he said.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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