Jews and Catholics in the Twenty-First Century: Lingering Shadows and the Road Ahead
The last 50 years have been a period of unprecedented cooperation and mutual understanding between Catholics and Jews but have also been marked by indifference to inter-faith dialogue in significant quarters of the Jewish community. The landmark statement of Nostra Aetate did not so much resolve a long and problematic history of inter-faith tensions as challenge us to reconsider the nature of Catholic-Jewish relations. This chapter sets inter-religious dialogue against the backdrop of dynamics within Judaism, including acute concerns about demography and survival, ongoing intra-Jewish tensions regarding proper observance of the law, and the nature of the secular world vis-à-vis the Jewish community, arguing that Catholics must be aware of these dynamics to understand their partners in dialogue. The author, a Jewish historian, discusses the interplay between the past and the future and outlines some of the key issues upon which Catholics and Jews might reflect in order to move forward.