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Catholic- Jewish Progress

January 06, 1986

We compliment The Times for publishing Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler's comprehensive and no-nonsense summary of Catholic-Jewish relations (Editorial Pages, Dec. 19), "Catholic-Jewish Progress Goes On." It is the mirror image of an address delivered, on the previous day, by Archbishop Roger Mahony before a meeting of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Jewish Committee.

We have only one criticism of Schindler's article. When he states that "Christianity assigns Judaism only an antecedent role and not a role of full religious equality," he overlooks the expanding effort by Christian theologians since the middle of our century and by the Roman Catholic Church since Vatican II to properly acknowledge Judaism as a living religion sharing with the Church the Hebrew Scriptures as a common heritage.

Pope John Paul II, speaking to the worldwide liaison committee of Jewish and Catholic leaders at the Vatican in October, 1985, expressed the hope that "the study of and reflection on theology will become more and more a part of our exchanges for our mutual benefit." There was no hint of paternalism or triumphalism in his words: "A positive view of each of our religions with due respect for the identity of each will surely emerge as is already the case in so many places."

Los Angeles is one of these places. Since 1971, the Los Angeles Priest-Rabbi Committee, representing the Board of Rabbis and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, has been meeting for joint study. Their deliberations have resulted in several significant publications: "Lenten Pastoral Reflections" (1977), "Covenant or Covenants" (1979) and "A Notion of the Kingdom" (1982). Currently they are discussing Catholic and Jewish beliefs on Salvation.

Let us hope that, by the 25th anniversary of the Vatican II Council, the dialogue will involve not only select priests and rabbis but members of parishes and synagogues here and all over the world.

ROYALE M. VADAKIN

ALFRED WOLF

Msgr. Vadakin chairs the Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Rabbi Wolf directs the Skirball Institute on American Values of the American Jewish Committee. They are co-directors of Project Discovery, which is sponsored jointly by both organizations.

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