B’nai B’rith International looks forward to working with the Vatican’s newly appointed president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and its Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. Bishop Kurt Koch of Switzerland was officially appointed to the position that is the main conduit between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community.In a letter to Koch, B’nai B’rith President Dennis W. Glick and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin noted that B’nai B’rith has “been especially committed to the development of genuine friendship between Christians and Jews. In particular, through both ongoing dialogue and practical cooperation at all levels, and with clergy as well as laity, we have maintained Catholic-Jewish engagement as a foremost imperative.”
Koch assumes the post being vacated by Walter Cardinal Kasper, who retired in June. B’nai B’rith enjoyed a positive working relationship with Kasper and credited the “bold introspection and positive, proactive outreach of Catholics” with the dramatic improvement of Catholic-Jewish relations in less than half a century.
“Notwithstanding all difficulties—and some do persist—the remarkable transformation of Catholic-Jewish relations, surpassing reconciliation, mutual regard and even close partnership,” has been historic, Glick and Mariaschin wrote.
The letter concluded by noting Koch has been serving the Catholic Church in Basel, Switzerland, where Theodor Herzl first articulated his vision for a Jewish homeland, and expressed the hope that the good will of the past would continue.