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Jewish and Catholic Dialogue


​​​“Dialogue and friendship with the children of Israel are part of the life of Jesus’ disciples.” 

--Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium


"The Gifts and The Calling of God are Irrevocable" (Rom 11:29): A Reflection on Theological Questions Pertaining to Catholic-Jewish Relations, released Dec. 10, 2015

The Providence College Lecture and Colloquium Series, Theological Exchange Between Catholics and Jews, provides an opportunity for Jews and Christians to learn about and from one another. In the spirit of Vatican II’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions [Nostra Aetate]​, the series promotes interreligious understanding and dialogue. It provides a forum where the PC community — together with local religious leaders and nationally recognized experts — can discuss themes of mutual theological interest in the Jewish and Catholic traditions.

Recognizing the unique relationship between Judaism and Christianity, Blessed Pope John Paul II referred to the Jews as the “elder brothers” of Christians. In doing so, he redefined the relationship between Jews and Christians as one of “siblings,” rather than enemies. He challenged Jews and Christians to walk together on a new path through study, dialogue, and friendship. Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have boldly continued on this path. 

​Past Lectures & Colloquia 

November 30, 2015

"My Forty-Year Journey: A Rabbi Reflects on the Impact of Vatican II and Jewish-Catholic Reconciliation," Rabbi Jack Bemporad, Center for Interreligious Understanding & Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas

March 23, 2015 

"Explicit & Implicit Anti-Semitism: European Catholics before Vatican II" John Connelly, University of California at Berkeley, and Michael Zank, Boston University (colloquium)

March 23, 2015 

"Explicit & Implicit Anti-Semitism: European Catholics before Vatican II" John Connelly, University of California at Berkeley, and Michael Zank, Boston University (dialogue)

November 5, 2014

'The Mountain of Faith,' James Rosenberg, Emeritus, Temple Habonim, Barrington, RI


March 7, 2014   

'Images of God: Jewish & Catholic perspectives,' Dianne Bergant, CSA, Catholic Theological Union, David Fox Sandmel, Catholic Theological Union


November, 21, 2013

'A Rabbi, a Priest and an Imam Walk into a Room: The victories and challenges of interreligious dialogue,' Rabbi Michael Klein-Katz, Jerusalem


April 23, 2012

'Jewish Readings of the New Testament: What do they mean for Jewish-Catholic relations?,' Adam Gregerman, Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations, Michael Peppard, Fordham University


November 10, 2011                                                          

'My Children have Vanquished Me! Decision-making in Judaism,' Rabbi Wayne Franklin, Temple Emanu-El, Providence


October 28, 2010

'For the Sake of Heaven: Biblical and Rabbinic lessons on how to debate,' Rabbi Peter Stein, Temple Sinai, Cranston, RI


March 18, 2010

'Israel and the Priesthood: In Holy Scriptures and today,' Rabbi Eugene Korn, North American Director of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation


 Upcoming Event

​Jewish-Catholic Dialogue:

2,000 Years But Just Beginning

Cardinal Dolan

As we enter the final year of a three-year series commemorating Nostra Aetate, New York A​rchbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan, who represents the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as co-chair of the national Jewish-Catholic dialogue, will speak on the future of Jewish-Catholic relations. The event will be held on November 3, 2016, at 7 p.m. in St. Dominic Chapel​.​

 Nostra Aetate at 50​

​This past October marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of Nostra Aetate. The 1965 Declaration on the Church's Relationship to Non-Christian Religions was one of the most influential and celebrated documents issued by the Second Vatican Council, a gathering of the world's Catholic bishops. In particular, it made possible a new and positive relationship between Jews and Catholics. 

​Dr. Arthur Urbano Jr., associate professor of theology and chair of the Jewish-Catholic Theological Exchange Committee, explains that the document changed the direction in the way that the Catholic Church understands Jews and is called to relate to Jews.

Calling Our Jewish Alumni

Did you attend PC before 1950? Are you Jewish? If so, we want to hear your story! Dr. Arthur Urbano of the Theology Department and Dr. Jennifer Illuzzi of the History Department are conducting research on the history and experiences of Jewish students at PC in the College's early decades (1917-1950). The purpose is to increase awareness of this fascinating aspect of PC's early history as the centennial year approaches. Whether you graduated or not, we are interested in learning about your time at PC. We are looking for alumni and former students who are Jewish and are willing to be interviewed for the project. We'd also appreciate any information from families of deceased Jewish alumni and former students who attended PC in this period. If you are interested in participating, please contact Dr. Arthur Urbano -- by email:​; by phone: 401.865.1351; or by mail: Theology Department, Providence College, 1 Cunningham Sq., Providence, RI 02918

​Recent Events

My Forty-Year Journey: A Rabbi Reflects on the Impact of Vatican II and Jewish-Catholic Reconciliation 

This event was held on Monday, November 30 in Aquinas Lounge. Rabbi Jack Bemporad is Director of the Center for Interreligious Understanding in Teaneck, New Jersey. He is also Director of the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue and Professor of Interreligious Studies at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. Rabbi Bemporad has been at the forefront of Jewish-Catholic dialogue over the past four decades, serving as a liaison between the Vatican and the Jewish community. 

​History of Dialogue 

Inaugurated in 2009, Theological Exchange Between Catholics and Jews continues a tradition of dialogue that has been part of PC’s history. By charter, PC was the first college or university in Rhode Island to welcome students of every faith or of no faith, and from its earliest days, it has been a place where Christians and Jews have studied and learned together. 

At critical times in the 20th century, the College played a pioneering role in Jewish-Catholic relations. In May of 1932, The Rhode Island Seminar on Human Relationships was held at PC. It was hailed by Rabbi Isaac Landman as the “first time in history that Protestants, Catholics, and Jews have met under communal auspices in a Catholic College, at the invitation of a bishop of the Church, for a friendly discussion of those divisive elements that destroy proper human relations.” 

In November 1963, A Conference on Catholic-Jewish Understanding, co-sponsored by Providence College and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, drew leading Catholic and Jewish leaders to Providence. The event was described as the first conference of its kind in Rhode Island. A similar event, the Catholic-Jewish Conference, followed in November 1965 — just weeks after the promulgation of Nostra Aetate, which boldly set a new course for fruitful dialogue between Catholics and Jews.

Annual Events

The series sponsors three events each academic year: 

  • In the Fall semester, a local scholar or expert is invited to lecture on a theme relevant to Jewish-Catholic relations. 
  • In the Spring semester, two experts — one Jewish and one Catholic — are invited to participate in a public, dialogue-style lecture in which they discuss a particular issue that is relevant to Christians and Jewish relations.
  • Also in the Spring semester, a colloquium is organized for PC faculty, students, alumni, and other guests — at which they can confront more deeply the issues articulated in the lecture and their impact upon their own teaching, research, and learning.

See Also