Ecumenism Update: “I can truly say there are no plans or desire to seek Jewish conversion,” says Joseph A. Fiorenza, Archbishop Emeritus, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston at Museum dedication

“Since Nostra Aetate, there is a new reality in Christian-Jewish relations. One powerful sign of the reality occurred during Pope John Paul’s visit in 2000 to Holy Land when he placed his prayer in the Western Wall asking God’s forgiveness for the sins of Christians against Jews down the ages. Using the metaphor of a garden, Rabbi David Rosen said Christian-Jewish relations for the 44 years following Nostra Aetate, is like a garden surrounded by high walls. This garden of history was an ugly place overrun with branches and weeds and lurking with danger. In the last 44 years, the garden was wonderfully transformed into an attractive garden. It is not yet the Garden of Eden and there are still rocky terrains, but generally, it is a good garden. Many Israelites walking outside the garden are unaware of the transformation that has taken place. They think it might still be dangerous and unpleasant. The papal visit to Israel opened the garden gates and revealed to many who had not known or believed in the new reality, a pleasant garden of Christian-Jewish relations in which the head of the Catholic Church was in fact a sincere friend of the Jewish people who sought its welfare and mutual respect.”