June 30, 2023 – Fr. John Pawlikowski gives the community some conferences on Christian – Jewish relations

Fr. John Pawlikowski, OSM, visited our monastery and gave us two talks on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity since Vatican II. He pointed out that the Church has not always given the best teaching regarding our sister religion, but that the attitude of the Church has changed since Vatican II, becoming much more open to recognizing the inherent goodness of Judaism.

He spent some time discussing the New Testament texts regarding the Jewish people, noting that, of course, all the earliest Christians were Jewish and worked within the parameters of Jewish practice. Jesus was probably influenced by the Pharisees and their teaching, even if there was tension between some Pharisees and Jesus. There is evidence that Jewish and Christian communities cooperated up until the 5th century, at least in the East.

He ended with the Church’s plea that we do not repeat the over-simplified clichés about Judaism in the time of Jesus that preachers have indulged in in past centuries. He quoted John Paul II, “When we look deeply into the heart of Christianity, we find Judaism.”

Fr. John is a Servite priest and professor emeritus of Social Ethics at the Catholic Theological Union. He directed the Jewish Studies program in CTU’s Cardinal Bernardin Center. He has written extensively on the Holocaust and on Christian-Jewish relations, including Jesus and the Theology of Israel.Fr John has served four terms on the board of the United States Holocaust Memorial by presidential appointment.