New picture of Felice Pallavicini at a meeting with the Samhedrin and Romans





    (Rome, March 27-29, 2012; Nissan 4-6, 5772)

    Joint Statement

    1. The Jewish co-chair Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen opened the meeting, giving thanks to God for the historic transformation in Catholic-Jewish relations since the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and for the establishment of the bilateral commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See, after the historic visit of Pope John Paul II to Israel.

    Cardinal Peter Turkson, the new Catholic co-chair, responded paying tribute to his predecessor Cardinal Jorge Mejía and welcomed the delegations, in particular those who had just joined the bilateral commission. Cardinal Mejía together with Cardinal Cottier, as the former senior members of the Catholic delegation, accompanied by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, visited with the delegations and expressed their joy at the continuity of this work as a blessing for both communities and for humanity.

    2. The theme of this the 11th meeting of the bilateral commission was titled “Religious perspectives on the current financial crisis: vision for a just economic order”. The special guest on the first evening was Prof. Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, President of the Vatican’s Istituto per le Opere di Religione, who provided an analysis of the causes of the financial crisis and shared thoughts on possible ways forward. Papers on the theme were provided by Dr. Meir Tamari, former chief economist of the Bank of Israel, and Prof. Stefano Zamagni from the Economic Science Department of the University of Bologna.

    3. Following from the presentations and discussion, the following points were highlighted:-

    While many factors contributed to the financial crisis, at its roots lies a crisis of moral values in which the importance of having, reflected in a culture of greed, eclipsed the importance of being; and where the value of truth reflected in honesty and transparency was sorely lacking in economic activity.

    4. At the heart of Jewish and Catholic visions for a just economic order is the affirmation of the sovereignity and providence of the Creator of the world with whom all wealth originates and which is given to humankind as a gift for the common good.

    5. Accordingly, the purpose of an economic order is to serve the wellbeing of society, affirming the human dignity of all people, each created in the Divine Image. While this concept of dignity affirms the value of the person, it is antithetical to egocentricity. Rather, it requires the promotion of the wellbeing of the individual in relation to community and society, emphasizing human obligations and responsibilities accordingly and thereby affirming human solidarity and fraternity.

    This posits the obligation to guarantee certain basic human needs, such as the protection of life, sustenance, clothing, housing, health, education and employment.

    Particular attention must therefore be given to the vulnerable – the poor, the orphan, the widow the sick and disabled; and the stranger, which in today’s society is particularly relevant to migrant and foreign workers – whose condition serves as a measure of the moral health of society or lack thereof, and the degree of solidarity within it.

    6. Furthermore, just as the Divine gift of wealth places obligations upon the recipient in relation to those less fortunate materially; similarly countries with developed economies have the obligation to recognize their responsibilities and duties towards countries and societies in need – especially in this era of globalization.

    7. Concepts highlighted for the promotion of a more just economic order included:

    – the universal destination of the goods of the earth; a culture of “enough” that implies a degree of self-limitation and modesty; responsible stewardship; an ethical system of allocation of resources and priorities; and the critical importance of honesty, transparency, gratuitousness and accountability.

    8. Just as the crisis has required partial remission of debts on national and international levels, there is a need to extend this to families and individuals for their economic self-rehabilitation.

    9. The members of the bilateral commission underscored the role that the faith communities must play in contributing to a responsible economic order and the importance of their engagement by government, educational institutions, and the media, to this end.

    10. In addition to the ethical wisdom drawn from our spiritual heritages, religious communities are an integral part of civil society, which must play a central role together with politics and business, in ensuring the subsidiarity necessary for a just social and economic order.

    11. Furthermore the crisis has revealed the profound lack of the ethical component in economic thinking. Hence, it is imperative that institutes and academies of economic studies and policy formation include ethical training in their curricula, similar to that which has developed in recent years in the field of medical ethics; and also ethical counselling to decision makers on a national and international level.

    12. The meeting concluded with prayer to the Source of all blessing that the words of the Psalmist will be fulfilled

    “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed (each other).
    Truth shall spring out of the earth and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
    Yea, the Lord shall give (that which is) good; and our land shall yield her increase.
    Righteousness shall go before Him; and shall set (us) in the way of His steps”

    (Ps 85,11-14).

    Rome, March 29th, 2012 – Nissan 6th, 5772Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen
    (Chairman of the Jewish Delegation)

    Rabbi David Rosen

    Rabbi Prof. Daniel Sperber

    Rabbi Prof. Avraham Steinberg

    Mr. Oded Wiener

    Msgr. Pier Francesco Fumagalli

    Peter Cardinal Turkson
    (Chairman of the Jewish Delegation)

    Archbishop Elias Chacour

    Archbishop Antonio Franco

    Archbishop Bruno Forte

    Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo

    Msgr. Pier Francesco Fumagalli

    Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa O.F.M.

    Fr. Norbert J. Hofmann S.D.B.

    Jewish Delegation …

    Rabbi David Rosen


    More on Papal Knight of St Gregory Rabbi David Rosen:


    Rabbi David Rosen

    Rabbi David Rosen is the President of IJCIC, the International Jewish Committee that represents World Jewry in its relations with other world Religions.

    He is Director of the Department for Interreligious Affairs and Director of the Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding of the American Jewish Committee, and is an Honorary President of the International Council of Christians and Jews, and an International President of the World Conference of Religions for Peace.

    In November 2005, Rabbi Rosen was named a papal Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great for his outstanding contributions to promoting Catholic-Jewish reconciliation.

    new: “The Christian and the Pharisee” – Rabbi David Rosen & Rev. R.T. Kendall , Hodder & Stoughton, 2006

    Director of the American Jewish Committee’s Department for Interreligious Affairs and the Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding, Rabbi Rosen serves on the leadership of several international interreligious organizations (see Bio).

    Formerly Chief Rabbi of Ireland, he is the immediate past Chairman of IJCIC , the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, a broad-based coalition of Jewish organizations representing world Jewry to other religions.

    Among various awards and honors, Rabbi Rosen is the first Israeli and the first Orthodox rabbi to receive a papal Knighthood, conferred on him for his contribution to Jewish-Catholic reconciliation.


    Association Members

    Below are the current list of Association members. Each individual has their Papal knighthood illustrated with the following post nominal lettering:

    For knights and dames of the Pontifical Order of Saint Gregory the Great:
    Knight or Dame Grand Cross – GCSG
    Knight or Dame Commander – KCSG / DCSG (with or without star)
    Knight or Dame – KSG / DSG

    Chief Rabbi David Rosen, KSG




    The headline everywhere: Israeli Embassy Fire In Paris Caused By Electrical Short. Yeah, sure it was. Why the media even knew about the faulty wiring while the inferno was blazing, before any fire inspector could have possibly examined the building.
    This line is from Israel Television One News. “The embassy was locked before the fire broke out.” We now conjure pictures in our mind of the ambassador leaving work at 5 and locking the building behind him. This was the most sensitive Israeli embassy in Western Europe and it was manned by security staff 24 hours a day. How come one of them didn’t spot the electrical fire, report it and put it out before it spread to the entire edifice?
    And that’s no tiny edifice. What was inside to feed the fire so quickly; diplomatic rags soaked in linseed oil? And need we ask, assuming all the security personnel were asleep, why didn’t the smoke detectors sound the alarm?
    The newspaper Maariv noted that ALL of the embassy’s cables, notes, records, and documents were destroyed in the fire. All computer hard drives became mush, all paper, ash.
    How very convenient. Now history will never know the tawdry crimes of the French government against Israel, nor will Shimon Peres’ central role in these crimes, including the Rabin assassination, be proven in time for his ever more likely upcoming trials.
    From here on until forever, the French government’s collusions with Peres on the Golan Geights, the murder of Paris Ambassador Eliahu Ben Elissar, the backing of PFLP terror attacks, the secret talks with the Vatican, including the negotiations between Peres’ rabbis Rosen and Melchior with French Cardinal Lustiger to divvy up Jerusalem, all this and more will never be provable in a court of law or scholarship.
    This was in inside job. No arsonist snuck past embassy security and rigged this fire. And no one could be more pleased by the inferno than Shimon Peres.
    MOUNT ZION FOR SALE? (NOV 13 2005)

    Don’t do it, President Katsav
    by Stewart Weiss

    The Internet is a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Along with tons of useful information, the Internet can be an open sewage line into our homes, spewing forth all kinds of pornography, hate and misinformation. Much of that misinformation takes the form of urban legends – the latest of which include: “Alligator eats head of Bungee jumper in Australia,” and “Man in India electrocuted while talking on cell phone in rainstorm.”Then there are the conspiracy theories which are spawned and spread on the Web: “Terrorist mad scientist invents hurricane-making machine; sends Rita and Katrina to destroy America,” or, closer to home, “Yigal Amir secret agent of the Mossad.”

    Next thing you know we’ll be reading, “Shimon Peres hired by Likud to lose every election and make Labor look bad!” ( hmmm…..)

    So it is understandable that I had my doubts when I began to get numerous e-mails about a nefarious deal in the works involving the Vatican, the Israeli Foreign Ministry and President Moshe Katzav.

    As the story goes, the Vatican is intent on gaining control over the Room of the Last Supper (also known as the Coenaculum) on Mount Zion. The holy site was built in 1135 by the Franciscans, appropriated in 1523 by the Ottomans — who turned it into a mosque — and eventually captured by Jewish forces.

    In exchange for the site, we are told, Israel is to gain control of the Santa Maria la Blanca Church, a 12th-century synagogue in Toledo, Spain, which was converted into a church 500 years ago, after the Jews were massacred or expelled in the era of the Spanish Inquisition. Katsav and Pope Benedict XVI, say the reports – denied strenuously by Beit Hanassi as recently as Thursday – are to announce the historic real estate deal during an upcoming meeting in Rome.

    Weighing in on the fray are the Greek Orthodox Church — which claims ownership of Mount Zion — and the Diaspora Yeshiva, which uses several buildings on Mount Zion for their classes. The head of the yeshiva has vehemently protested the supposed deal, in order to prevent the Tomb of David — which is housed in the same complex — from “falling into Christian hands,” as well as avoiding the site from being overwhelmed by hordes of Christian pilgrims, who would “distract the Yeshiva boys” from their studies.

    The Foreign Ministry has labeled the story as “nonsense,” and Rabbi David Rosen, head of interfaith relations for the American Jewish Committee and arguably the best-informed Jew in the world on Christian-Jewish matters, tells me the story is “fabricated, a tempest in a teapot.” [TROY’S NOTE: In November 2005, Rabbi Rosen was made a papal Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great! Hmmm…]

    And I have no doubt that if the story is true, the Jewish world would shift into 4th gear (we only go into overdrive when Madonna visits the Western Wall or Shimon Peres wins an election) and create such a balagan that even the Vatican would back off.

    But what I find so bizarre about the whole episode is the notion that we would trade a sought-after chunk of Jerusalem for a shul-turned-church in Toledo. As bad a bargainer as the Israeli government can be – after all, Ehud Barak was willing to give away the Temple Mount and east Jerusalem for an autographed picture of Yasser Arafat and a suite in the future Gaza Hilton — this would set a new low. It would rank right up there with the Indians selling Manhattan for $24 and some trinkets, or the Chicago Cubs trading future Hall of Famer Lou Brock to St. Louis for the unknown and soon-forgotten Ernie Broglio.

    On the whole, I’d rather get a new kosher deli in Toledo, Ohio, than an old church in Toledo, Spain.

    But – if we were serious about doing a deal with the Church, then I do have some suggestions for a fairer exchange. How about if we swap the scene of the Last Supper for some of the Temple artifacts and original Jewish manuscripts kept in the Vatican’s subterranean storerooms? How about if we get back the communities along the Rhine, ransacked and pillaged by Christian Crusaders on their way to the Holy Land? How about if we trade the bricks and stones of this thousand-year-old building for the tens of thousands of Jewish children forcibly stripped from their families over the centuries by “well-meaning” Christians, who baptized them and forcibly converted them to Christianity, so they could “save their souls.”

    The State of Israel is admirably committed to protecting the holy places of all religions, and guaranteeing the right of worship for all faiths here. And we’ve done a heck of a lot better job at it than our religious counterparts around the world did for us throughout the centuries.

    So guys, go ahead and keep all the old shuls and all the old Jewish schools in all the decimated Jewish communities of Europe, North Africa and Asia. But keep your hands off Jerusalem — it’s not for sale.

    Courtesy of

    Jerusalem Post
    Published: Sunday, November 13, 2005

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