March 2005

Optimism Regarding the Holy See – Israel Relationship

Last february the Holy See-Israel Bilateral Commision resumed its meetings. The issues under negotiations are a tax exemption for ecclesiastical properties and access by the Church to Israeli tribunals. The legal expert of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, Father David Jaeger considered the atmosphere of the bilateral meeting as very positive. In turn the Israeli Ambassador to the Holy See, Oded Ben Hur stressed Israel?s good will and serious intentions of arriving at a positive conclusion of the agreement.

Argentine Congregation Promotes Interreligious Dialogue

The Instituto del Verbo Encarnado (The Incarnated Word Institute) has inaugurated, the Center For Study and Dialogue ”Unus Dominus” in El Cairo, Egypt, to promote interreligious dialogue in the Middle East. The ”Instituto del Verbo Encarnado” is an Argentine religious congregation of Diocese Law founded in 1984.

Arabic Language as an ”Interreligious Bridge”

The Israel Interfaith Association organizes courses for the study of Arabic language with the purpose of thus improving inter-religious relations between Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land. The programme has been created by Elias Falah, a Christian Arab from the town of Sakhnin in the Galilee.

Message of the Great Rabbi of Israel to the Pope

The Israeli Ambassador of Israel to the Vatican went to Gemelli Polyclinic Hospital in Rome, where Pope John Paul II was hospitalized to deliver a message from the Great Rabbi of Israel, Hon. Shlomo Amar to the Pontiff where he expressed his desire of a swift recovery for the Pope.

Interreligious Course in Fundar

The Service towards Ecumenic and Interreligious Dialogue, affiliated to the Argentine Episcopal Commission, organizes the course ”Interreligious Dialogue, Forty Years from the Declaration Nostra Aetate ”, which will be taught from March to July. FUNDAR is a private organization directed by Professor Jose A. Amadeo.

Cardinals Visit Yeshiva University in New York

A group of Cardinals of the Catholic Church, several of them from Asiatic and Latin American countries, recently visited the prestigious New York Orthodox Jewish University. The visitors were received by the Chancellor, Norman Lamm, in spite of protests raised by certain ultra-orthodox student circles.

The Book by the Pope, an ”Interior Biography”

Pope John Paul II’s new book, ”Memory And Identity” is an ”interior biography” according to Joaquin Navarro Valls, spokeman for the Holy See. The book is the result of conversations between Pope John Paul II and the Polish philosophers Josef Tischner and Krzyzstof Michalsk in the gardens of Castelgandolfo. In the entire book the problem of evil is presented, not in its physical but in its moral dimension. That which is derived from free human decisions.

Interreligious Symposium in Jerusalem

The Interfaith Association of Israel is organizing a symposium concerning the issue ”Religion and Violence” in the Conrad Adenauer Centre of Jerusalem on April 3 and 4. Among other panel members are the Rabbi of Haifa, Shear Yashuv Cohen, The Greek Orthodox Archbishop, Aristachos, and the leader of the Islamic Movement of Israel, Sheik Nimir Darwish.

Interreligious Prize for Hans Kung

The eminent Swiss theologian Hans Kung shall receive the ”Peace Prize” instituted by Japan for his contribution to world peace and the promotion of interreligious co-operation.

Translation: María Lía Macchi