Relations between Australia’s Catholics and Jews

February 10, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The 24th Annual Conversation of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry focussed on the progress in relations between Catholics and Jews in Australia, and globally, over the past 30 years.

The meeting took place online enabling the involvement of Jews and Catholics from a range of Australian cities and rural areas although sacrificing the benefits of face-to-face discussions

The conversation was co-chaired by Bishop Michael McKenna, Chair of the Bishops Commission for Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue, and Jeremy Jones, Honorary Life Member and former President of the ECAJ and Director of Community and of International Affairs for the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council.

After Sister Mary Reaburn of the Council for Christian Unity & Religious Relations with the Jews read Psalm 1 and invited reflections on it, the delegates discussed the 1992 document “Guidelines for Catholic-Jewish Relations”, which has guided 30 years of progress. The Guidelines included a recommendation to establish formal Conversations, and this meeting was testament to one way the guidelines have been working.

A wide-ranging discussion noted the significant global events and domestic developments since 1992, with focus on the changing role of religious communities in Australia and the persistent, yet ever-changing developments in, antisemitism.

Questions of what a document produced in 2022 could, should and would look like promoted a wide range of opinions before honing in on key matters of antisemitism, mutual understanding and respect and the changing nature of affiliation with different religions and with no religions in recent censuses.

In addition to Jeremy Jones, the ECAJ delegation comprised Rabbis David Freedman, Jeffrey Kamins and Jacqui Ninio, Peter Wertheim, Julie Nathan and Bill Arnold. The Catholic delegation included Archbishops Mark Collleridge and Michael McKenna, Bishops Robert Rabbbat, Amel Nona and Anthony Ireland and members of the Catholic Council for Christian Unity & Religious Relations with Jews and Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.


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