Israel’s man at the Vatican
Following the Second Vatican Council’s call to stop blaming Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus almost 50 years ago, efforts have been made to reconcile Catholics and Jews.
But, Lewy stressed in his hour-long talk at the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America on Wednesday of last week, reconciliation means the restoration of friendship while rapprochement only requires the re-establishment of cordial relations.
He favors rapprochement and sees little hope for true reconciliation.
“Reconciliation is a theologically loaded term. Reconciliation is part of the sacrament” and is a common name for confession, Lewy explained. Catholics ask forgiveness for sins committed against God and the church.
But Jews ask for forgiveness to the person they harmed. Therefore, murder is unforgiveable since a dead person cannot forgive, Lewy explained.
Jews are wary of all-out reconciliation because of years of victimization by Christians, including the Crusades and more modern-day events like the church’s role during the Holocaust, Lewy said.
“In our past, there have been lots of attempts to convert us, sometimes coercively,” he explained.
Therefore, he said, Jews “would like to avoid any situation where they would have to pardon anyone” who was involved in these acts. [more]