June 2005

Priest Heads Campaign to Abolish Anti-Jewish Directive

Catholic priest Horacio Moreno, chairman of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation and The Angelo Roncalli International Committee has headed an active campaign towards the repeal of an anti– Jewish directive by the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs given on July 1938, a year before the beginning of World War II. Argentine Embassies at that time received a secret communication-circular number 11-in, which they were instructed to deny visas to whoever wished to flee his country ”or who has left it escaping or was expelled”. The orders meant death for thousands of Jews who were unable to leave Germany and were later deported to extermination camps.
On June 8th 2005, President Kirchner headed a ceremony at the Casa Rosada (the House of Government) where circular number 11 was repealed. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rafael Bielsa, the Minister of Home Affairs, Anibal Fernandez, the vice chairman of IRWF, Natalio Waingrover also attended, as well as historians Beatriz Gurevich and Uki Goñi, who made the existence of the document known.

Mercosur Creates a Study Group on Religious Liberty

Representatives of official organizations who are responsible for communication with the various religious confessions in the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) have agreed on the creation of a study group on religious liberty and freedom of worship, during a meeting which took place on June 2 and 3.
The work group, comprised of representatives of the countries which are members and associates of the Mercosur (Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile and Bolivia), is considered to be a valuable instrument towards dialogue and cooperation, regarding issues of religious liberty and liberty worship in the region.

Forty-first Anniversary of the death of the Good Pope – John XXIII

On June the third, forty two years have elapsed since the death of Blessed John XXIII, the man who is remembered in History as the Pope who convoked the Second Vatican Council, the event which gave birth to the ” Nostra Aetate” Declaration, a document which acknowledged the Jewish roots of Christianity, thus trying to heal centuries of hostilities between the two religions. In the year 2000, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation created The Angelo Roncalli International Committee. The ceremony took place at the Vatican Delegation to the United Nations, in the presence of the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, to render homage to the humanitarian task performed by Nuncio Roncalli, later Pope John XXIII, of rescuing Jewish refugees persecuted by the Nazi r e gime during the Second World War.
The Angelo Roncalli International Committee is composed of personalities of international renown, like Cardinal Walter Kasper, Professor André Chouraqui and Cardinal Renato Martino, among other distinguished personalities.
Nuncio Roncalli’s humanitarian activities to save the lives of thousands of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, together with his determined attitude of religious approach and dialogue towards Judaism as Pope John XXIII, make his legacy an enduring symbol of love of one’s neighbor and interreligious dialogue.

Delegates from Monsignor Capovila visit IRWF Office

On the commemoration of the forty-second anniversary of the death of Nuncio Angelo Roncalli – later Pope John XXIII- a delegation from Italy composed by Msrs. Marcos Aggazzi, Srinivas P. Gahndi and Luis María Giron visited the New York Office of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. The visitors carried a letter from Monsignor Capovila, who was private secretary to Pope John XXIII, as well as a medal that was given to the founder of IRWF, Mr. Baru ch Tenenbaum.

Conference by AJC Director of Interreligious Affairs

The Israeli Interfaith Association of Israel sponsor ed a conference by Rabbi David Rosen, international director for interreligious relations of the Jewish-American Committee, on ”From One Pope to Another Pope: the Catholic Church between John Paul II and Benedict XVI, A Jewish Point of View.” It took place on July 7 at seven p.m. in the Office of the AJC in Jerusalem.

Beatification of Religious Savior of Jews during the Holocaust

The diocesan process for the beatification of Emmanele Stablum, religious of the congregation of Children of the Immaculate Conception, who saved the lives of many Jews who were victims of Nazi persecution was concluded in Rome. When the Nazi troops occupied Italy after September 8, 1943, brother Emmanuele, who at the time was a doctor in the Dermatological Institute of the Immaculata, hid fifty Jewish refugees in the institute, making them appear as patients of the hospital.

Friendship Between Three Cultures

A meeting of friendship between the three major religions took place last June 12 at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Madrid, organized by the Interreligious Federation Towards World Peace, moderated by Armando Lozano, director of the Interreligious Delegation for World Peace.

First Meeting between the Pope and Jewish Leaders

Authorities of the World Jewish Congress met on June 9 with Pope Benedict XVI , agreeing on a joint initiative to fight Aids in Africa. Rabbi Israel Singer lead the Jewish delegation, and President of the Pontifical Council for Dialogue with the Jews, Cardinal Walter Kasper and the secretary of the same Council, Norbert Hoffman were also present. This was the eighteenth meeting of the International Committee of Catholic-Jewish Liaison and follows the last encounter held in Buenos Aires on June 2004.

European Organization Condemns Anti-Semitism

The fifty-five member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have signed the Declaration of Córdoba urging concrete measures against anti-Semitism and discrimination, as well as the fight against Anti-Semitic propaganda through the Internet.

Pope Benedict XVI Condemns Genocide of Jews

Pope Benedict XVI condemned the repression of the Polish People and genocide of Jews qualifying both crimes as outrageous proof of the evil that characterized Nazi ideology. The papal declaration was expressed after the projection of a new television film about his predecessor, John Paul II, during which scenes about crimes committed by the Nazis in Poland, the native country of John Paul II, were shown.

International Conference About Interreligious Dialogue

More than a hundred persons of different religions and traditions participated in the conference titled ”Critical Moment for Interreligious Dialogue” which took place on June seven and eight 2005 with the purpose of evaluating and examining the experience of interreligious dialogue and collaboration, as it has been carried on during recent decades, and about the way it should be practiced in the future.

Specialists in religious issues met in the Ecumenic Centre of Geneva to examine the subjects: ”reflection in common”, ”evaluating the present” and ”imagining the future”.

Among the speakers were important personalities of interreligious dialogue, like Swami Agnivesh, Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Rabbi Ehud Bandel, Professor Rita M.Gross, H.E. Seyyed Ali Abtahi, Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Rev. Valson Thampu. This international conference was organized by the World Council of Churches, a community of three hundred and forty seven churches from more than a hundred and twenty countries from all the continents and the greater part of Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member but it maintains a cooperative relationship with WCC.

Muslim Woman Leads Prayer in New York

Some Muslim women fight against traditions, impositions and interpretations of the very religion that they practice. This makes their battles more prominent than others, and harder and more complex as well.

This is the case of Dr. Amina Wadud, who, together with over a hundred faithful of both sexes, tore down a virtual wall at the cathedral of St. John Divine of New York, where she recently offered a prayer which advocated equality not only metaphorically.

The ceremony, organized by a group of Muslim activists who hope to better the position of women in Islam, gathered more than a hundred persons in the Synod House of New York, in North Manhattan. There, Asra Nomani, one of the organizers explained, ”the voices of women have been silenced by centuries of traditions made by men”.

The feminine religious service did not obtain support from any mosque so the prayer had to be performed in the Christian Cathedral of Morningside Heights, under the surveillance of more than two hundred policemen.