Learning from the Jews

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Writing in the Guardian yesterday, Ed Kessler contends that the current pope is not seriously interested in Catholic-Jewish interchange:

The central problem for Pope Benedict resides in his vision of the
Catholic church. He sees it as a totally completed institution that
does not need to learn anything new theologically from dialogue with
other Christians or other religious groups. Consequently, interfaith
relations are reduced to symbolic conversation rather than genuine

I’m not a huge fan of Benedict’s, but the following remark of his, from a Q&A with journalists on the way to Amman Saturday, suggests otherwise.

The important thing is that in reality we have the same roots, the same
Books of the Old Testament which is – for the Jews as for us – the Book
of the Revelation. But naturally, after 2,000 years of different, even
separate, history, it is not surprising that misunderstandings should
arise. Highly diverse traditions of interpretation, language, and
thinking have been formed – what we could call very different “semantic
universes” – so that the same words have different meanings for each
tradition. With the use of these words, which over the course of
history have taken on different meanings, misunderstandings are
obviously born. We must do everything to learn one another’s language,
and it seems to me that we are making great progress. Today it is
possible for young people, the future professors of theology, to study
in Jerusalem, in the Hebrew University; and the Jews have academic
contact with us. Thus these “semantic universes” meet. We learn from
one another and we progress along the path of true dialogue. We learn
from each other and I am convinced we are making progress. This will
also help peace, and what is more, reciprocal love.