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B’nai B’rith International has sent a letter to the Vatican’s main point person on Catholic-Jewish relations expressing sadness at the news of his retirement.Walter Cardinal Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and its Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, demonstrated an “approach of constructiveness and healing” in his engagement with Jewish leaders.

The letter, written by B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick, Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, and Director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs David J. Michaels, notes: “we have been privileged to know the warmth, openness and spirit that you have brought to your work.”

B’nai B’rith described Kasper as a true and faithful partner, occasionally in difficult times, in advancing the Catholic-Jewish friendship over the decade he held the post.

Glick, Mariaschin, and Michaels wrote: “Your leadership of the Commission for nearly a decade has been characterized by great devotion – indicative of the profound importance of, and immense strides over the course of less than half a century in, the Catholic-Jewish relationship. Undoubtedly, your personal role in caring for and advancing this endeavor has been significant.”

B’nai B’rith expressed the hope that even in his retirement, the cardinal’s contributions will continue to provide an enduring foundation for the advancement of relations between Catholics and Jews.