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Presentation of ”Cardinal Bea Award” to Cardinal Walter Kasper

15/07/2010: General House - Rome | Photo gallery





Le 14 juillet 2010, le chapitre général a reçu en fin d’après-midi le cardinal Walter Kasper. Entre 2001 et 2010, il a été président de la Commission pontificale pour la promotion de l’unité des chrétiens, à laquelle est rattaché le Bureau pour les relations religieuses avec le judaïsme. Les Sœurs de Notre Dame de Sion ont voulu le remercier spécialement pour cet engagement en lui remettant le « Prix cardinal Bea » qu’elles ont créé.





Le Cardinal Kasper s’est adressé aux sœurs en affirmant l’importance du dialogue judéo-chrétien, il a dit que « Nostra Aetate n'est pas terminé, le dialogue Judéo-Chrétien est un devoir de l'Eglise. Avec le Judaïsme nos relations sont uniques, car le judaïsme est notre racine». Puis il a remercié les sœurs de Sion qui ont été les pionnières dans le domaine du dialogue et qui y travaillent encore. Il les a encouragé à continuer « c'est le mandat de l'Eglise : améliorer les relations entre Juifs et Chrétiens en travaillant pour la justice et la paix dans le monde».

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Thank you speech to Cardinal Kasper: Sr.  Maureen


Your Eminence,


We are delighted to receive you this evening to honour you as you retire from your role as President of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.  


For the last ten years you have steered the Commission through some very sensitive issues strengthening the Church’s relationship with Judaism and the Jewish people, a relationship still misunderstood by many.   Your deep appreciation of the uniqueness of the Christian relationship with Judaism is always evident as is your understanding of Judaism as an expression of a living and vibrant relationship with God.


The publication of the document Dominus Jesus, which many Christians and Jews found difficult, became an opportunity for you to affirm God’s on-going covenant with the Jewish people.  But, typically, you did not shirk the difficulties in living out a Christian life in the presence of Jews.  Mission, you explained, is at the heart of the Gospel and must be part of our dialogue.


We admired you when you showed courage in the face of criticism and stated that Jews, in order to be saved, do not have to become Christians.  God’s salvific plan for the Jewish people, you said, is to live out the covenantal relationship according to their own tradition.  You understand very well the sensitivity among Jews when mission is mentioned and their fear that the hidden agenda of interfaith dialogue may actually be conversion. 


You spoke out courageously again when the ex-communication ban on the Levebvrist bishops was lifted, acknowledging specifically the Holocaust denial of Bishop Richard Williamson.  You recently said that dialogue with the Society of Pope Pius X is not easy and that the main problem with them is the concept of tradition.  The question you then raised, with which we can all chime was: “Do we want a living tradition or a petrified one?"


You played a pivotal role in the establishing relations between Israel and the Holy See advocating dialogue as the only means of respecting the legitimate interests of both sides and achieving reconciliation and lasting peace in the region. 


Over the years you have consistently confronted the dangers of anti-Semitism and spoken about the Shoah, recognizing that anti-Semitism is a form of ethnic, cultural and religious hatred which humanity should eradicate.  


Another deep concern of yours is the ethical challenges facing us Christians and Jews together because of our shared understanding and commitment to human rights, justice and peace.  Dialogue, you have rightly taught, must not be for its own sake, but so that we can build a better world for our young people. 


We appreciate the numerous occasions you have addressed Jews as well as Christians, teaching both communities what the essence of dialogue is – an appreciation of the other with whom I share so much but from whom I also differ.


Your Eminence, we remember the occasion in October 2002 when you addressed the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion at the inauguration of the SIDIC library collection and the Documentation Centre at the Pontifical Gregorian University here in Rome.   On that occasion you spoke about the mission we have been entrusted with by the Church.  Your words recall the time forty five years ago when Cardinal Bea told the Congregation that its task has been given by the Church herself.  We are now in a new era, with new challenges and new situations. We ask you to speak to us again as we are gathered at our General Chapter and renew the call to the next generation of Sisters of Our Lady of Sion.