“The Psalms: A Doorway to Jewish-Catholic Dialogue” is the work of the Canadian Rabinnical Caucus and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops over a period of five years. In the last five years, while delving into historic issues and current questions, the members of the Dialogue have also been deeply enriched by the time devoted in each gathering to the study of a psalm from both traditions. This presentation of a selection of these reflections is an effort to share with the wider community the fruits of this study.
The resource presents a selection of teachings and reflections flowing from the Dialogue members’ deep study of a selection of psalms from the perspective of both traditions. This document likewise serves as an invitation for further dialogue among the faithful of the Catholic anAd Jewish communities in Canada.
From the Introduction:
In an important move both historically and theologically, the Second Vatican Council undertook to address the relationship between Catholics and Jews in the document “Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions” (Nostra Aetate, 1965). In the last two millennia, hatred, persecutions, and displays of anti-Semitism have often and tragically defined the relations between Jews and Catholics. This document addressed the spiritual and theological connection of the two religions and taught that
Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so great, this sacred synod wants to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues. (Nostra Aetate, 4)
In light of this encouragement, in 2015 the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus invited the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to explore initiating a specific dialogue to bring together representatives of the Catholic and Jewish communities. The intent was to engage in discussions as religious leaders and to exchange religious perspectives between our traditions; to discuss matters of current relevance (such as faith in the public square, religious accommodation) in a respectful and constructive manner; and to identify opportunities for joint initiatives to strengthen relations between representative organisations and community members.
With the enthusiastic endorsement of the Bishops and after a period of planning, the Catholic–Jewish National Dialogue was established in the 50th anniversary year of Nostra Aetate with gratitude to God and blessed hope.
Six persons selected by each organisation have attended meetings of the Dialogue, which are usually held twice a year. A combination of lay people and clergy, theologians and rabbis, has ensured a mix of perspectives.
In the last five years, while delving into historic issues and current questions, the members of the Dialogue have also been deeply enriched by the time devoted in each gathering to the study of a psalm from both traditions. This presentation of a selection of these reflections is an effort to share with the wider community the fruits of this study. Since the outset of this Dialogue, our mutual and heartfelt desire has been to support efforts to communicate the outcome of our conversations with synagogues and parishes and hence expand its effectiveness.
It is a pleasure on behalf of the Catholic–Jewish National Dialogue to offer these teachings and reflections, which we hope will be a blessing and an invitation to dialogue.