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‘Catholic Church, Jewish People and Jewish State’ is topic of panel discussion set at DePaul University April 18

Pope Francis at Yad Vashem
Pope Francis visited Israel in 2014 and one of his stops was Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. This photo is part of an exhibition titled "Building Bridges of Faith," which is on display at DePaul University’s Richardson Library this spring. (Photo courtesy of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
​CHICAGO — Inspired by the Building Bridges of Faith photo exhibition of papal visits to the Holy Land, a panel discussion titled “The Catholic Church, the Jewish People and the Jewish State,” will be hosted at DePaul University at 5:30 p.m. April 18. The discussion will be held in the John T. Richardson Library, Room 400, 2350 N. Kenmore Ave., on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus. It is free and open to the public.

Speakers include:
  • The Rev. John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, professor of social ethics and director of the Catholic-Jewish Studies Program at the Catholic Theological Union.
  • Rabbi Yehiel Poupko, the Rabbinic Scholar at the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.
  • Roey Gilad, Consul General of Israel to the Midwest.
The discussion will be moderated by Thomas O’Brien, associate professor and director of the Center for Religion, Culture and Community at DePaul.

“Jews and Catholics need to pay more attention to the instructive model of the activities, speeches and conversations of Pope's John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis, in order to better appreciate the fullness of their commitment to Nostra Aeatate,” said Rabbi Poupko.

Fr. Pawlikowski noted that "The Fundamental Agreement signed by Israel and the Holy See marked the culmination of the process of removing from Catholic teaching the longstanding belief that Jews should never have a homeland of their own as a punishment for rejecting Jesus Christ. 

“This so-called ‘Perpetual Wandering of the Jews’ theology in Catholicism caused much suffering for Jews in Christian lands over the centuries,” Pawlikowski said. “The visits of the recent Popes to Israel put the final nails in the coffin of this discredited theology.”

Consul General Gilad said that “Though the Catholic Church and the Jewish State had a complicated relationship for decades, the past 50 years have witnessed a dramatic turnaround resulting in the Vatican’s recognition of Israel and the establishment of diplomatic relations.”

“I am looking forward to representing the state of Israel during the panel, which will discuss the deepening relationship between the Jewish State and the Jewish people and the Holy See,” said Gilad. “This discussion reflects the bridge we have managed to build between the church and the Jewish State.

“This panel is an offshoot of the Israeli Consulate’s partnership with DePaul University on the papal visits photo exhibit which was opened last month,” said Gilad. 

That photo exhibition of papal visits to Israel from 1964-2014 is on display in DePaul’s Richardson Library, second floor, through June 10. It is open to the public during library hours.

The 44 historic images depict stirring scenes as well as quiet and intimate moments during visits to the Holy Land by some of the most well-traveled popes in history: Blessed Pope Paul VI, Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

The “Building Bridges of Faith” photo exhibition features papal visits to nearly a dozen Holy Land sites, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is recognized as the site of the crucifixion and tomb of Jesus of Nazareth; Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust; the Cenacle on Mt. Zion, traditionally held to be the site of the Last Supper; and the Western Wall.

In addition to the photographic exhibition and panel discussion, a third cultural event is planned for May 18, when there will be a reading of a version of the play “Imagining Heschel: In Search of Radical Amazement,” written by Colin Greer. The performance is scheduled for 6 p.m. in The Theatre School building, 2350 N. Racine Ave. The reading will be followed by a Q&A and reception. David Y. Chack, with DePaul’s Theatre Studies faculty, is the director. Chack also is the artistic director of ShPIeL and president of the Association for Jewish Theatre.

The three events were designed to engage with the broader community and illustrate the positive interreligious dialogue between Catholics and Jews. For additional information, please contact Alice Farrell in DePaul’s Office of Mission and Values, or 312-362-8822.


Media Contact:
Carol Hughes