Press Release: Canada’s Rabbis Commend Vatican Statement on the Jewish People

Toronto, ON – Today, the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews published a document, “The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable”, in the wake of the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate. The document included an affirmation of the Jewish roots of Christianity, the rejection of institutional efforts to convert Jews, and the declaration that “God has never revoked his covenant with the people of Israel” – consistent with the promise God made to the descendants of Abraham and Sarah as articulated in Genesis 12. It further called for both people of both faiths to maintain “unceasing vigilance” in countering antisemitism and committed the Catholic Church “to do all that is possible with our Jewish friends to repel antisemitic tendencies”.

In response, Rabbi Jonathan Infeld, Rabbi Reuben Poupko, and Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, Co-Chairs of the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus, issued the following joint statement:

“We commend the Vatican for rejecting institutional efforts to convert Jews and reaffirming its commitment to combat antisemitism. Among other positive elements in the Commission’s report, Canada’s rabbis welcome these positions as important milestones in the history of Catholic-Jewish relations. They are in keeping with Pope Francis’ remarkable moral clarity regarding threats to the Jewish people, including his observation that ‘to attack Jews is antisemitism, but an outright attack on the State of Israel is also antisemitism.’

“We are gratified that Canadian rabbis and bishops are together striving to be a model for dynamic and productive interfaith partnership as called for by the Vatican today. Indeed, this announcement comes on the heels of the first national, bilateral dialogue between our two communities in Canada. This included a joint declaration by the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to work together on public policy issues of common cause and to oppose antisemitism and all forms of hatred. We look forward to exploring the issues raised in today’s document alongside our Catholic friends in the national dialogue.”

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The Canadian Rabbinic Caucus, a body of Canadian rabbis representing synagogues across the spectrum of Jewish religious practice, is an affiliate of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). As the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada, CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of Jewish life in Canada by advancing the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community.

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