The panel was composed of Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the dicastery; Rabbi David Rosen of the American Jewish Committee, the theologian Professor Edward Kessler of Cambridge, and Fr. Norbert Hoffmann, S.D.B.
Cardinal Koch recalled that on 28 October this year, in accordance with Pope Francis' wishes, a special general audience was organised to commemorate the promulgation of the Conciliar declaration “Nostra Aetate” exactly fifty years earlier. The audience was attended by numerous representatives of other religions, whose presence demonstrated that the declaration represented a cornerstone in the change in Church's attitude towards other religions. The Commission chaired by the cardinal decided this year to present a new document returning to the theological principles of the fourth part of “Nostra Aetate”, extending and exploring them in further depth where they regard the relations between the Catholic Church and Jews.
He said, “It is an explicitly theological document that intends to retrace and clarify the issues that have emerged during the recent decades of the Jewish-Catholic dialogue. Prior to this text, no other document of a strictly theological nature has been published by our Commission: the three preceding documents, 'Guidelines and suggestions for implementing the Conciliar Declaration “Nostra Aetate” (No. 4)' (1974), 'Notes on the correct way to present Jews and Judaism in preaching and catechesis in the Catholic Church' (1985) and 'We remember: a reflection on the Shoah' (1998), referred mainly to concrete themes, useful for dialogue with Judaism from a practical point of view”.
The new document seeks to emphasise that dialogue with Judaism after fifty years now stands on solid ground, as during this period significant results have been achieved. “We are very grateful for the efforts that have been made by both Jews and Catholics for the promotion of our dialogue”, concluded Cardinal Koch. “But it is very important to remember that, as emphasised in the document and especially from a theological point of view, we are only at a new beginning: many questions remain open and require further study”.
The document is now available in different languages on Vatican's website:
- "THE GIFTS AND THE CALLING OF GOD ARE IRREVOCABLE" (English)
- "DENN UNWIDERRUFLICH SIND GNADE UND BERUFUNG, DIE GOTT GEWÄHRT" (German)
- « LES DONS ET L’APPEL DE DIEU SONT IRRÉVOCABLES » (French)
- "LOS DONES Y LA LLAMADA DE DIOS SON IRREVOCABLES" (Spanish)
- "PERCHÉ I DONI E LA CHIAMATA DI DIO SONO IRREVOCABILI" (Italian)
Also available (in English) are the remarks given during the press conference by:
- Cardinal Kurt Koch: "Presentation of the Document" (Effectively an executive summary of the full text)
- Rev. Norbert Hoffman: "On the Birth of the Document" (Describes the process of composing the new text)
- Rabbi David Rosen: "Reflections from Israel"
- Dr. Edward Kessler: "Reflections from a European Jewish Theologian"