The Executive Council of Australian Jewry meets the Bishops

May 9, 2010 by Beth Doherty
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Representatives from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference met in North Sydney  for their “Annual Conversation”.

Bill Arnold 2nd l, Peter Wertheim 3rd l, Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio, 4th l, Jeremy Jones rt

In a spirited dialogue which provided testimony to the bonds of friendship which have developed since the conversations commenced in 1999, the delegates discussed human rights in Australia in light of the recently released National Framework, with specific reference to anti-discrimination laws, freedom of religion and contrasts between Federal, State and Territory statutes.

The delegates also reflected on the current state of Catholic-Jewish relations, recent significant Interfaith events, and ways of deepening and broadening interfaith understanding in Australia.

The two groups have an ongoing tradition of meeting each time the bishops assemble in Sydney to continue a fruitful and respectful dialogue with one another. This was the eleventh annual meeting of representatives of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and the Catholic Bishops Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations.

Rabbi David Freedman, Jeremy Jones, Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio, Bishop Michael Putney

Bishop Michael Putney (of Townsville), the Co-Chair of the conversations, said that he was very happy with the meeting of minds which took place.

“Catholics and Jews have much to discuss about human rights because of their shared historical relationship and their shared concern about human rights,” he said.

Jeremy Jones, the Jewish Co-Chair, noted that “this Conversation, as with earlier meetings, provided a tremendous opportunity for sharing, learning and discussing the best contributions we can make separately and cooperatively to building a compassionate, tolerant and just society.”

Executive Director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Peter Wertheim, and Fr Brian Lucas, General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, led the discussion on the topic of the Australian Human Rights Framework.

In addition to the Co-Chairs and Presenters, the ECAJ participants were Rabbi David Freedman, Rabbi Jacqui Ninio and Mr Bill Arnold (ECAJ) and the catholic participants were Archbishops Philip Wilson, Bishops Geoffrey Jarrett, Michael McKenna, Christopher Prowse, and Sr Elizabeth Delaney.

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