The Catholic-Jewish Rapprochement and the Fraying of American Pluralism

Monday, September 14, 2020, 7:00-8:30 p.m. 

Seminar Room 1, Haub Executive Center, McShain Hall [campus map]

The post-Second World War “journey of friendship” between Jews and Catholics, as Pope Francis has called it, has showed the world that it is possible for two communities that had been estranged and hostile to one another for over a millennium to come together in a new and enriching relationship. Yet today our country has seen increases in inter-ethnic polemics and violence, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and polarization. What helpful lessons can be learned from the Catholic and Jewish experience of rapprochement? What preconditions were necessary for reconciliation to become possible? What was necessary for that possibility to become a deepening reality? What are the “dos” and “don’ts” for building real relationships? Our special guest speaker will discuss these and related questions.

Guest Speaker:

Rev. Dr. Walter F. Kedjierski is the Executive Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He previously served as the Director of the Diocese of Rockville Center’s Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and as a member of the Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers (CADEIO), the Long Island Council of Churches, and the Long Island Multi-Faith Forum. Father Kedjierski was a member of the board of trustees of the Inter-Faith Center of the Islamic Center of Long Island, in Westbury, NY for three years. He has facilitated numerous ecumenical and interreligious dialogues, including a dialogue on non-violence with Indian Hindu scholar Swami Nikhileswarananda. He holds an Ed.D. in Interfaith and Ecumenical Education from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana and a Ph.D. in Dogmatic/Spiritual Theology from the Graduate Theological Foundation’s Foundation House at Oxford University.




Questions about the Holocaust the Vatican’s World War II Archives Could Help Answer

Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Seminar Room 1, Haub Executive Center, McShain Hall [campus map]

Dr. Suzanne Brown-Fleming is the Director of International Academic Programs at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Her area of research is the relationship between Germany and the Vatican during the pontificates of Pius XI and Pius XII, as well as Catholic antisemitism in that period.

Having recently studied some of the newly-opened Vatican archives from World War II, Dr. Brown-Fleming will discuss their importance in understanding the actions of the Catholic Church during the Holocaust, including what are the crucial questions that those materials could help answer.