Welcome to the discussion group "Jews and Christians"
The discussion group “Jews and Christians” – established in 1971 by the Central Committee of German Catholics (Zentralkomitee der deutschen Katholiken - ZdK) – numbers currently 14 Jewish and 18 Catholic members. After the term of four years, the presidency of the ZdK has to appoint the group again. Since 1974 Prof. Hanspeter Heinz has chaired it.
It was a result of the inner-dynamic of the process that the original goal of the organization of Catholic Days (including Ecumenical Catholic Days), which to this day remains as a strong focus, would gradually be expanded and the circle would administer many other tasks:
- Presenting Jews and Judaism correctly in preaching, teaching and training. One project, for example, was the revision of Biblical, Religion, and History textbooks for schools (1980).
- Clarifying the theological basis for Jewish-Christian dialogue as well as addressing specific controversy such as the 2007 disruption of Jewish-Christian relations through the restoration of the “Tridentine Rite.” These statements and reports are also published in English and are recognized in international circles, sometimes as the subject of controversial discussions.
- Deepening the relationship between the Church and the Jewish people; for this purpose the Central Committee Presidium and members of the discussion group have taken service trips to Israel, New York, Hungary, Poland, Paris, Prague, and Rome.
- Eflecting on basic philosophical and theological issues; for this reason conferences as well as internal closed meetings have been organized.
- Formulating statements for the presidency of the Central Committee, regarding, for example, the recognition of Israel by the Vatican or the pilgrimage of John Paul II to Jerusalem in the Holy Year of 2000.
The discussion group has for decades been the only forum in the world in which Jews and Catholics have continuously exchanged their views and have taken positions in common concerning basic as well as current theological matters.