New York, NY, September 4, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) mourns the passing of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the former Archbishop of Milan, a leading pioneer in building positive relations between Catholic and Jews, a devoted friend of the State of Israel, and an outspoken opponent of anti-Semitism. Cardinal Martini, who died last Friday, was 85.
In a statement, Martin L. Budd, Chair of ADL's National Outreach and Interfaith Committee and Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs, said:
Cardinal Martini was a great biblical scholar who devoted his life to building bridges of friendship and trust between the Catholic Church, the Jewish people and the state of Israel.
Cardinal Martini not only furthered positive interfaith relations in the openness of his theology and scholarship, but in practical innovative programs that brought Catholics and Jews together to learn about each other. He also vigorously denounced anti-Semitism.
In his honor we must redouble our efforts to foster mutual understanding and respect between Christians and Jews around the world, and together oppose acts of religious intolerance, hatred and persecution wherever they occur.
Among Cardinal Martini's historic accomplishments was creating a program at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in the 1960s that sent Catholic students to Israel to study Judaism, biblical archaeology and Hebrew. During a speech in 2004 at the Gregorian University in Rome, Cardinal Martini stated that Catholics could not fully understand their own faith without a meaningful understanding of Judaism. "It is not enough to be 'anti' anti-Semitism," he said. "We need to build friendships, recognizing our differences, but not allowing them to lead to conflict."