Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., has been named a voting member of two Vatican offices that oversee efforts to teach the Catholic faith and that promote relationships with other Christians and with Jews.
On Wednesday Pope Benedict XVI named Pittsburgh's former bishop to the Congregation for Clergy and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The latter includes the Vatican's commission for relations with Jews. He will travel to Rome for meetings.
His appointment to the Congregation for Clergy surprised no one ... It oversees instruction, ranging from catechisms for children to seminary training. Cardinal Wuerl is the author of several popular catechisms.
"I would hope they would ask me to concentrate in the area of catechetics, of teaching the faith. When I was a consultant, it was always the area they asked me to work on," he said.
He was a bit surprised at his appointment to the Council for Promoting Christian Unity. But non-Catholic friends of his who often work with that office thought it was a brilliant choice ...
Rabbi Alvin Berkun of Pittsburgh, a longtime participant in Catholic-Jewish dialogue at the Vatican level, believes his old friend may help prevent future problems [in Catholic-Judaic 'relations'].
"It's a great move," Rabbi Berkun said. "He brings a wonderful measure of sensitivity and caring and involvement in these matters. This uses his skills in a wonderful way." ("Cardinal Wuerl appointed to 2 Vatican offices," Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 30, 2010)
Catholic school educators participating in [the ADL program, Bearing Witness] to learn how to teach about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism are helping to build positive relations between Catholics and Jews and all people, Archbishop Donald Wuerl said July 22.Also see:
Addressing participants in the Bearing Witness program, Archbishop Wuerl told the educators they are helping to "raise the level of awareness (of their students) of our positive relations with our Jewish brothers and sisters."
More than two dozen Catholic school educators from the Archdiocese of Washington and five other states gathered in Washington last week to participate in the Bearing Witness program. During nearly a week of professional development, the educators not only learned how to teach about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, but they also explored the history of anti-Semitism, Catholic teachings on Jews and Judaism, and contemporary issues of prejudice.
Archbishop Donald Wuerl said the importance of the program "is found in both its goal and its accomplishments." He said the program helps educators "build on growing mutual Jewish-Catholic understanding" ...
[The Bearing Witness program is] jointly sponsored by the [Washington D.C.] archdiocese, the ADL, the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Participation in the program has ... grown. Archdiocesan educators are now joined by their counterparts from throughout Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, Minnesota and Missouri. For five days, the educators meet in Washington to receive training and resources so that they can share the lessons of anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, and modern-day prejudice with their students.
Similar programs have begun in other parts of the country, and two years ago, the Bearing Witness program was presented with the NCEA's President's Award. In the past the past 14 years, Bearing Witness has trained more than 1,300 Catholic school educators nationwide, impacting 195,000 students across the country. The program is open to Catholic high school and middle teachers of history, religion, social studies, and English, as well as administrators and librarians ...
During the [week-long program], Catholic educators ate a traditional sabbath dinner at a synagogue, learned about Jewish beliefs and practices from a rabbi, toured the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, met with Archbishop Wuerl at the USCCB headquarters and met Holocaust survivor Halina Peabody ...
Archbishop Wuerl, reminding the participants that "we come out of the Jewish tradition," noted that he has long had an interest in "our religious commonality." While he was bishop of Pittsburgh, he started a program where priests and rabbis gathered for "wonderful and fruitful dialogue." Also in that diocese, he invited rabbis to give lectures to Catholic high school students. ("Archbishop Wuerl says Bearing Witness Holocaust education program builds understanding," Richard Szczepanowski, Catholic Standard, July 22, 2010)
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