Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 29 November |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos
home iconNews
line break icon

Archbishop, rabbi discuss how faith can respond to crises

Instagram Diocese of Cleveland

John Burger - published on 08/08/20

Scripture, encounter and human dignity all important to bear in mind as world faces pandemic, other issues.

Sharing the Scriptures and the idea that God created man in his own image, as well as the concept of encounter are some of the ways Jews and Catholics can respond to racism, a global health crisis, and social division, said a prominent bishop and rabbi.

Archbishop Nelson Perez of Philadelphia and Rabbi Abraham Skorka responded to questions during a July 31 online discussion about “Catholics, Jews and the Issues of Our Time.” The event was sponsored by the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

One question during the forum regarded the new focus on racism in society, including recent incidents in which black people died as a result of police activity, as well as a recent Yale study showing that blacks and Hispanics are dying from COVID-19 at higher rates than whites. Archbishop Perez said that Jews and Catholics have vigorously fought and continue to fight for racial equality, based on their common understanding of creation.

”We are all created in the likeness and image of God, and our dignity and our rights flow from that,” Perez said. “The state and the world around us do not give us our dignity or our rights. It is the job of the state to protect the rights and dignity that come with our personhood.“

The concept of “encounter” that is such a favorite theme of Pope Francis is one way both faiths can help heal society. Encounter, said Perez, is a powerful word “because it has biblical roots, because God encounters His people.”

“These moments of encounter that we’re having right now, albeit virtually, are important moments that have to be replicated,” Perez said. They “build bonds and build friendships by which, then, further understanding and healing could actually take place.”

Scripture itself is a natural place for Jews and Christians to practice encounter, both men said.

“Pope Francis stressed this point in [the apostolic exhortation on preaching the Gospel] EvangeliiGaudium,” said Skorka, who has been a visiting scholar at St. Joseph’s University.

Archbishop Perez said that in his prayer life he draws extensively from “the Psalms, the songs of the Chosen People.”

“There’s synergy there because we share Scripture,” he said.

In his native Argentina, Skorka worked with priests who helped to implement Vatican II reform, including the reforms called for by Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on the Church’s relation to non-Christian religions. Skorka, a native of Buenos Aires, said that he and then-Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio — the future Pope Francis — carried out “continuous and very significant work.”

The two collaborated on a 31-episode television show as well as the book On Heaven and Earth, about interfaith dialogue. The image of priest and rabbi engaged in “mutually enriching conversation” provided a paradigm for interfaith dialogue, Skorka said. “What Pope Francis did as archbishop of Buenos Aires … (was) extraordinary (and demonstrated) a lot of courage. We reached levels of dialogue and encounter unique throughout the world.”

Tags:
Society
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
FIRST CENTURY HOUSE AT THE SISTERS OF NAZARETH SITE
John Burger
British archaeologist confident he has found ...
PRAY
Cerith Gardiner
12 Things we can be grateful for this Thanksg...
EARTHQUAKE
Bret Thoman, OFS
Two earthquakes couldn't stop these Italian n...
CATHEDRAL OF THE SACRED HEART
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
6 Questions to determine if your heart is har...
VATICAN POPE GOOD FRIDAY COLOSSEUM
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Learn to pray with the early Church and to di...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.