Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger as a consultor to the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. Bishop Scharfenberger was the only U.S. consultor appointed to the Commission July 1. Other members include Archbishop Bruno Forte, head of the Archdiocese of Chieti-Vasto, Italy; Father Louis-Marie Coudray, O.S.B. Oliv., director of the Office for Relations with Judaism of the French Episcopal Conference, France; Father Etienne Emmanuel Vetö, I.C.N., France, director of the Cardinal Bea Centre for Jewish Studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University; Sister Maria Neubrand, M.C., lecturer in Exegesis of the New Testament at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Paderborn, Federal Republic of Germany; and the distinguished Professor Verena Lenzen, Federal Republic of Germany, director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Research of the University of Lucerne, Switzerland.
“As a Roman Catholic of Jewish ancestry, I’m grateful to the Holy Father for his commitment to strengthening the bond between Catholics and our elder brothers and sisters in faith,” Bishop Scharfenberger said. “I look forward to the opportunity to offer whatever small contribution I can make to the work of the Commission in bringing us closer to each other and deepening our understanding of and mutual respect for our shared faith in the God of Abraham.”
Established in 1974, the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews is charged with maintaining strong Catholic-Jewish ties. It works in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The Commission has produced four documents – in 1974, 1985, 1998, and 2015 — that trace the development of Christian-Jewish relations.