William Henry Cardinal Keeler † William Henry Cardinal Keeler †
Archbishop of Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Cardinal Priest of S Maria degli Angeli
Mar 04, 1931
Nov 26, 1994
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English Local Catholics remember Cardinal Keeler
Mar 25, 2017
Classmates and others recall the Lebanon man who rose to the upper echelon of the Catholic Church.

March 24, 2017

Cardinal William H. Keeler never forgot his roots in Lebanon and visited his hometown often, said one of his Lebanon County friends.

Local Catholics are mourning Keeler's death Thursday in Baltimore at the age of 86.

After serving as bishop of Harrisburg from 1983 to 1989, Keeler became archbishop of Baltimore, where he served until retiring in 2007.

Keeler and Dr. Joseph Bering of North Cornwall Township hit it off as teenagers when they met as freshmen at Lebanon Catholic School in the mid-'40s because they had similar interests in science, Bering said. A retired family physician, Bering called Keeler brilliant.

Although Keeler left for the seminary as a junior, he is still considered a member of his 1948 Lebanon Catholic graduating class and always returned for their reunions, Bering said.

"He was brilliant. He could have done anything he wanted to," Bering recalled.
English Cardinal Keeler, retired Archbishop of Baltimore, dies aged 86
Mar 23, 2017
The cardinal was known as 'Baltimore' by St John Paul II, according to his priest-secretary.

Cardinal William H Keeler, the retired archbishop of Baltimore who was known for his vital role in ecumenical and inter-religious relations, died today at St Martin
English USCCB President
Mar 23, 2017
Cardinal William H. Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) from 1992-1995, was a

March 23, 2017

English ADL Honors Cardinal Keeler For His Leadership In Catholic-Jewish Relations
Apr 15, 2008
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today honored William Cardinal Keeler with the ADL Cardinal Bea Interfaith Award in recognition of his enduring work in repairing the Catholic Church's relations with the Jewish people and for promoting Catholic-Jewish dialogue and partnerships.

(adl.org) Washington, D.C., April 14, 2008 - "Cardinal Keeler has been at the epicenter of Catholic-Jewish relations since the historic changes brought about during the Second Vatican Council and the adoption of Nostra Aetate," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, in presenting the award.  "For the past 44 years, Cardinal Keeler has been instrumental in building and deepening the new positive relationship between Catholics and Jews in the United States and around the world.  He is truly a world leader in building human bridges of respect and understanding between our two faith communities."

In accepting the award, Cardinal Keeler thanked ADL for its work in interfaith relations, including the League's Bearing Witness™ Program, which brings together educators from Catholic schools to learn about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust and how to teach those lessons to young people. "You should be very proud of what Bearing Witness is doing, not only in my hometown of Baltimore, but also throughout the country and around the world," said Cardinal Keeler.

Ordained a Catholic priest in 1955, Cardinal Keeler was appointed Special Advisor to Pope John XXIII during the Second Vatican Council, in which the Church discussed and deliberated on its relationship to the Jewish people.  The result was the historic document, Nostra Aetate, which repudiates the centuries-old "deicide" charge against all Jews, stresses the religious bond shared by Jews and Catholics and reaffirms the eternal covenant between God and the People of Israel.

Appointed Archbishop of Baltimore by Pope John Paul II in 1989, Cardinal Keeler was named to the College of Cardinals in 1994.  As President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, he was instrumental in building interfaith bonds and addressed issues involving all Christian faiths and Jews.

During Pope John Paul II's 1987 trip to the United States, Cardinal Keeler initiated a meeting between the Pope and Jewish leaders, and organized a first-ever interfaith ceremony in the United States involving Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and the Pope in Los Angeles.

An acknowledged leader within the Roman Catholic Church for promoting its positions on inter-religious dialogue, Cardinal Keeler is admired by Jewish leaders for his integrity, honesty and tireless efforts at building interfaith dialogue.

The inscription on the award reads: "ADL Cardinal Bea Award presented to William Cardinal Keeler in appreciation for your distinguished service in promoting positive relations between the Jewish and Catholic communities and for fostering mutual understanding between faiths."

The ADL Cardinal Bea Interfaith Award was established to perpetuate the memory of Cardinal Bea, the enlightened German Jesuit scholar who deepened and enriched relations between Catholics and Jews.  Cardinal Bea's efforts made possible the positive statement of Vatican Council II on Jews and Judaism.  Past recipients of the award include John Cardinal O'Connor, Archbishop of New York; the Most Rev. Francis John Mugavero, Archbishop of Brooklyn; Archbishop Justin Cardinal Rigali of St. Louis, Archbishop Adam Cardinal Maida of Detroit; and Bishop James W. Malone of Youngstown, Ohio.
English Cardinal Keeler celebrates last mass as Archbishop
Sept 24, 2007
Cardinal William Keeler says it's time to step down.  The 76-year-old has served as Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Baltimore since 1994.  He says the Sunday service is not his final farewell.

(abc2news.com, September 23 2007) "I'll still be around to remind people of historical facts and to insight people of the right thing to do," said Cardinal Keeler.

Parishoners give credit to the Cardinal for several improvements and marks of leadership since he transferred from Harrisburg, PA, 18 years ago.  He's been credited with improving relations between the Catholic community and other faiths.  The Cardinal organized the renovation of the Basilica, the oldest cathedral in the United States.

"Over the years, it had become quite dark inside.  It had lost a lot of its beauty and splendor and the Cardinal restored all of that," said Bishop Denis Madden.

As Cardinal Keeler prepares to step down, one of his top concerns is making Catholic education more affordable in Maryland.  That issue was also on the minds of many parishoners who came to celebrate the Cardinal's final  mass as Archbishop.

"I just hope the new Cardinal can make more people be able to go to Catholic schools as the years go on," said Clare Goggins, who is a freshman at Notre Dame Prep."

Looking forward, the parishoners say they have faith in Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, who will succeed Cardinal Keeler.

"Cardinal Keeler has done a great job but I'm hearing great things about the new bishop coming in so it will be nice to have a new face at the cathedral, said Mike Gabriele, a Baltimore parishoner."

Archbishop Edwin O'Brien will be installed as the Archbishop of Baltimore on October First.
English Change, challenges for Keeler
Sept 24, 2007
Cardinal looks to future as others remember his work for the archdiocese.

(baltimoresun.com, September 23, 2007) Cardinal William H. Keeler celebrates his last public Mass as archbishop of Baltimore today -- but no one should expect him to say goodbye for long.

Stepping down after 18 years as head of the Baltimore area's more than 500,000 Catholics and 151 parishes, Keeler already foresees an ambitious schedule pursuing his passions and the religious agenda that has marked his career.

He plans to immerse himself further in the history of the archdiocese and its centerpiece, the restored Basilica of the Assumption. Vatican leaders have asked him to continue building on his successful record of developing relationships with other faith communities -- an influence that extended to drawing leaders of other religions into such issues as abortion.

And, perhaps most importantly to the cardinal, he will have more time for the simple duties of the priesthood.

"Part of what I'm going to do now is get out to the parishes again," Keeler said. "I hope that I shall be able to visit many people and talk to them at a different level rather than as archbishop but as archbishop emeritus."

This morning's Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in North Baltimore marks Keeler's final public religious event as archbishop, though he technically won't step down until Oct. 1, at the installation of his successor, Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien. The transition had been expected ever since his 75th birthday last year, when Keeler submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI as required by canon law.

Now 76, Keeler remains a cardinal for life, and up until age 80 maintains his right to vote for a papal replacement.

Nevertheless, the impending retirement has given Keeler and Baltimore's Catholic community an opportunity in recent months to reflect on and celebrate a career that has spanned many of the pivotal moments of recent Catholic history.

As a peritus, or expert consultant, to the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, Keeler is one of the few American bishops left who witnessed the discussions that changed worship practice and paved the way for ecumenical work.

As cardinal, Keeler hosted a visit from Pope John Paul II in 1995, and a decade later, he voted in the election of Pope Benedict XVI. The cardinal also directed the $32 million restoration of the basilica, which reopened last year.

Tackling controversy head-on, he published the names of hundreds of priests who had been accused of sexual abuse during the clergy scandal in 2002, and he oversaw the closing of urban parishes and parochial schools amid declining church attendance and school enrollments.

Interfaith efforts
His influence as a cleric extended beyond the boundaries of the archdiocese, becoming a national leader within the Roman Catholic Church and promoting its positions on the sanctity of human life and interreligious dialogue.

Keeler's relationships with Orthodox Christian, Protestant and Jewish leaders have attracted particular attention. Some Vatican watchers suggest that his interfaith efforts -- frequently lauded by leaders of other religions -- even played a role in Pope John Paul II's decision to elevate Keeler to cardinal in 1994.

"He's been honored up and down the Jewish street, as it were," said Rabbi Joel H. Zaiman, the rabbi emeritus of Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Pikesville. "All the national Jewish leaders know him, and many of them have relationships with him that are more than casual."

As former president of the Synagogue Council of America, Zaiman first met Keeler more than 20 years ago. The two still moderate Catholic-Jewish discussions with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops committee.

Keeler was always accessible. "I'd call and hear, 'He's in Rome.' Three hours later, I'd get a call from Rome or from the train station in Venice," Zaiman said.

The cardinal said he got his first taste of interfaith work as a priest in the Diocese of Harrisburg. He served as secretary of the ecumenical group of the U.S. bishops' organization for Bishop Martin N. Lohmuller, a retired auxiliary bishop in Philadelphia.

As he became a national figure pushing the church's agenda on such topics as abortion, he found ways to broaden his lobbying effort to include other faiths.

Keeler, a former president of the national bishops' group, led the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities from 1998 to 2001 and from 2003 to last fall, said former committee staff member Helen M. Alvare.

Now an associate law professor at Catholic University of America, Alvare credits Keeler for capitalizing on his interfaith connections, rallying evangelical Christians as well as some Jewish groups to join in opposition to abortion.

"He never saw abortion as a religious issue, period, or a Catholic issue," Alvare said.

Keeler's work with the archdiocese's schools has also enabled him to touch faiths beyond Catholicism. Amid declining enrollment, some schools have been forced to close or consolidate, and Keeler has focused on fundraising to subsidize tuition.

About 85 percent of the 195 children at St. Ambrose School in Park Heights receive financial aid, said its principal, Pamela Sanders. And about nine out of 10 students enrolled at St. Ambrose are not Catholic.

"What better way to open your doors and say welcome?" she said. "There's so many young people that really have to thank Cardinal Keeler for the place that they are in life."

Keeler compared the urban Catholic schools to mission work in other countries. "They educate people regardless of their background," he said, acknowledging it's a form of interfaith outreach. "It's also education to try to lift the young people up to a higher position so they are better able to respond to the vagaries of life."

The cardinal was known for working smoothly within the city's political and business community, too. As mayor, Gov. Martin O'Malley worked with Keeler to move the city's largest soup kitchen, Our Daily Bread, from a building next to the basilica to an expanded location with additional services.

"He was always there with us on efforts ... promoting the notion that all of us have a responsibility to make our city a better place," O'Malley said.

Parallel lives
The future cardinal spent much of his life in Pennsylvania, and the current bishop of Harrisburg, Kevin C. Rhoades, followed much the same path, though they were born 27 years apart.

Rhoades grew up in Keeler's hometown of Lebanon, Pa., and attended the same parish -- St. Mary's of Lebanon. Like Keeler, he graduated from Lebanon Catholic High School, St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia and the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

After Keeler was named an auxiliary bishop of Harrisburg, he ordained Rhoades in 1983. Keeler was named bishop of Harrisburg that year. Rhoades later served as his secretary for a year, driving the bishop to his appointments.

"What impressed me was that he was always a good shepherd," Rhoades said. Keeler "was always checking up on priests who were sick."

The bishop also remembers how the cardinal reacted when Rhoades' mother died Oct. 30, 1994 -- the same day that Pope John Paul II elevated Keeler to the College of Cardinals.

Although the news media were swirling around Keeler, the archbishop found time to call.

"On such a busy and important day in his life, he took time to express his condolences," Rhoades said.

Despite declining interest in vocations nationwide, Keeler said he is very proud that more men have committed to ordination for his archdiocese in recent years.

Unlike other bishops, the cardinal often regularly interacted with the seminarians sponsored by the Archdiocese of Baltimore during their years of training, said the Rev. Daniel R. Goulet, who was ordained in June and now is a priest at St. John's in Frederick. Keeler would also recall details about their families -- and academic troubles -- from the letters they would write to him.

"Formation's not always easy," he said. "You go through rough times. Just knowing he was there and he would listen was very comforting."

Many find Keeler's ability to retain details endearing, describing him as a quiet, gentle man.

"He has an excellent memory that just never fails to impress you," said Carol Nevin "Sue" Abromaitis, an English professor at Loyola College who helped plan the papal visit. "When you're the object of that memory, you really are impressed."

Abromaitis, a parishioner at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, also admired the cardinal's commitment to life issues, describing it as "notable and consoling."

"Sometimes powerful people can have other priorities in mind. He spoke rather unambiguously for all," she said.

The past year has been filled with new challenges for Keeler. In October, while vacationing in Italy a month before the rededication of the basilica, the cardinal was in a car accident that killed a close friend and fellow priest and left Keeler with a broken ankle.

In June, he had surgery to relieve symptoms of hydrocephalus, an abnormal buildup of fluid in his brain -- a condition doctors said might have stemmed from the car accident.

These days, "I'm feeling pretty good, except I get tired easily," Keeler said. He still goes to physical therapy twice a week.

Champion of history
Outside his official church responsibilities, one of Keeler's passions has been history. Keeler was in awe of the story of his new archdiocese as soon as he arrived in Baltimore.

The city was the stage for important events in the history of Catholicism in the United States -- it was the center of the first diocese and later the first archdiocese established in the United States. But until Keeler's efforts, most people these days weren't aware of that fact, said Michael J. Ruck Sr., chairman of the Basilica Historic Trust.

"I think since the cardinal has been here in Baltimore, he's tried to educate all of us to the significant importance that the archdiocese has played in the growth of the Catholic Church across our nation," Ruck said.

Unfortunately, the highlight of Baltimore's prominence, the basilica, had fallen into disrepair. By 1999, the cardinal had decided a complete restoration was necessary.

Outside events -- including the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the clergy abuse scandal -- postponed fundraising, Ruck said, and Keeler also held off starting a public campaign for the basilica until he had raised $136 million for schools, parishes and institutions.

But in 2004, the basilica closed for a two-year restoration that was unveiled last fall. Last month, the cardinal welcomed the 100,000th visitor to the basilica since it reopened. "There are more and more people now who have an appreciation, visitors from all over the world," Ruck said.

Keeler also revels in entertaining guests at the historic bishop's residence behind the basilica, sharing all the important events that had taken place in that building. The cardinal will continue to live there during his retirement.

Gail Quinn, former executive director of the pro-life committee of the national Catholic bishops' conference, recalled her first meeting with him at the residence. "It was a little like Jackie Kennedy in the White House," she said, describing how he gave her the full tour. "He's got all the details in his head."

Keeler was also unassuming enough to remember to ask if she needed her parking validated and, when she produced her ticket, he stamped it himself.
English Catholics Honor Cardinal William Keeler
Sept 09, 2007
Baltimore Cardinal William Keeler was honored Thursday by Catholics from all over Maryland and bishops from around the country.

(WJZ, Sep 7, 2007) Kai Jackson reports Cardinal William Keeler submitted his resignation in 2006 at age 75 as required under canon law. It was accepted by Pope Benedict this July.

Cardinal William Keeler was appointed archbishop of Baltimore in 1989 and became a cardinal under Pope John Paul II in 1994. That strong relationship with the Vatican resulted in a rare papal visit to Baltimore by the former Pope in 1995. When Keeler steps down in September, he will be replaced by Bishop Edwin O'Brien.

During Keeler's tenure he improved the financial picture of Catholic schools, he renovated the Basilica, the oldest cathedral in the U.S. He says the most difficult time was coping with the crisis of priests accused of sexual abuse.

Keeler's final mass will be at the Cathedral Of Mary Our Queen on Sept. 23 at 11 a.m.

Cardinal Keeler has been credited with improving relations between the Catholic community and other faiths during his 18 years in Baltimore.
English William Cardinal Keeler
Jul 19, 2007
During his 18 year tenure in Baltimore, William Cardinal Keeler is most proud of the $32 million restoration of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

(WBAL-TV, July 19, 2007) The Basilica was the first Catholic cathedral in the United States when it opened in the early nineteenth century. It was there, he announced that Pope Benedict XVI had accepted his resignation and appointed Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien as successor. But Cardinal Keeler is beloved in Baltimore and known nationwide for his long-time role as an Episcopal moderator for Catholic - Jewish relations and also worked to improve interfaith dialogue with Muslims and Orthodox Christians.

Locally, he led the Partners in Excellence program which provided more than 16,000 scholarships for Catholic school students since 1996. He is credited with arranging the visit of Pope John Paul the second to Baltimore in 1995. He is often referred to as a visionary leader as well as one who recognizes the need to feed the poor and address the everyday needs of people. He embraced diversity and gained the respect of Latino parishioners, even working to learn the language. Jewish leaders admired his integrity, his honesty and tireless efforts at building interfaith dialogue. Baltimore's half a million Catholics will remember him for being the leader they have loved. Archbishop O'Brien describes Cardinal Keeler as a hard act to follow, but he will remain in Baltimore in retirement, although still active in the church he loves.
English Cardinal Keeler retires; Archbishop O'Brien succeeds him in Baltimore
Jul 12, 2007
Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Baltimore Cardinal William H. Keeler July 12 and named Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien of the Archdiocese for the Military Services to succeed him.

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The changes were announced in Washington by Msgr. Martin Krebs, charge d'affaires of the Vatican nunciature.

Archbishop O'Brien will be formally installed as archbishop of Baltimore Oct. 1.

Cardinal Keeler, 76, had been beset with health problems in recent years, including a total knee replacement in 2005, a broken ankle resulting from a car accident in Italy in 2006 and brain surgery in June, believed to be related to head trauma during the accident.

He has been a bishop since 1979 and had headed the Baltimore Archdiocese for more than 18 years.

Archbishop O'Brien, 68, was named an auxiliary bishop of the New York Archdiocese in 1996 and coadjutor archbishop of the U.S. military archdiocese in 1997. Less than three months after his installation, he became head of the archdiocese when Archbishop Joseph T. Dimino resigned for health reasons.

As a priest he worked as a civilian chaplain at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.; a military chaplain in Vietnam and at U.S. Army posts; vice chancellor and director of communications for the New York Archdiocese; secretary to Cardinals Terence Cooke and John J. O'Connor of New York; and seminary rector in New York and Rome.

Despite his health concerns, Cardinal Keeler remained active in leadership of the archdiocese and in a wide variety of church apostolates and social justice issues. He is known nationwide for his longtime role as episcopal moderator for Catholic-Jewish relations and also worked to improve relations with Muslims and Orthodox Christians.

But one of his proudest accomplishments in recent years was completion of the $32 million restoration of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, which was the first Catholic cathedral in the United States when it opened in the early 19th century.

At a morning press conference with Archbishop O'Brien in the historic basilica July 12, Cardinal Keeler said another high point of his tenure in Baltimore was "the wonderful response of so many people who wanted to assist in Catholic school education" through the Partners in Excellence program, which has provided more than 16,500 scholarships to Catholic schools since 1996.

But he said Archbishop O'Brien would continue to face challenges "making known the benefits of our Catholic schools." More than 35,000 children in prekindergarten to 12th grade attend 86 Catholic schools in the archdiocese.

Archbishop O'Brien said he was told of the papal appointment July 3 and was "bursting" to tell family and friends during the July 4 holiday and the following weekend, but was sworn to secrecy. "The song that was running through my head was, '(Don't) Ask Me No Questions, I'll Tell You No Lies,'" he said. "Luckily, no one asked."

He said he immediately said yes when Msgr. Krebs asked if he accepted the appointment. "I guess that's one thing I take from the military," he said. "When you're given an order, you accept."

But the archbishop's voice broke with emotion as he spoke of the "deep sadness" he felt over leaving the military archdiocese, which includes 1.5 million Catholics serving in military installations around the world or at Veterans Affairs hospitals in the United States.

He called members of the U.S. military "a shining example of generosity" and said the approximately 300 Catholic priests in uniform were "a sterling example of the priesthood and a splendid credit to the Catholic Church."

"I love the military. It has taught me so much," said Archbishop O'Brien, who earned the rank of captain while serving as a chaplain in the Army from 1970 to 1973. "I hope to bring some of the gifts I've gained as a result of that to the Archdiocese of Baltimore."

Cardinal Keeler deflected most of the attention at the press conference to Archbishop O'Brien, but did respond to a question about how he felt about the pope's acceptance of his resignation, submitted when he turned 75 in March of last year.

"I'm grateful," he said. "It's about time."
English Brain surgery for Baltimore cardinal called a success
Jun 20, 2007
Shortly after undergoing brain surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore June 18, Cardinal William H. Keeler was cracking jokes with a family member, which officials from the Archdiocese of Baltimore said was a sign the procedure went well.

BALTIMORE, Md. (CNS, 6/19/2007) – In the surgery – which archdiocesan officials confirmed began around 12:30 p.m. and was completed around 2 p.m. – neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson inserted a tube into Cardinal Keeler's brain to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid into his abdominal cavity.

Head trauma the cardinal received during an October car accident in Italy is believed to be the cause of the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain ventricles, otherwise known as hydrocephalus, archdiocesan spokesman Sean Caine said.

Cardinal Keeler suffered a broken ankle during the accident, but continued to walk poorly long after the bone healed, which can be a symptom of hydrocephalus, Caine said.

"He was moving slowly, kind of shuffling," said Auxiliary Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Baltimore at a post-surgery press conference June 18. "Some days he was doing fine and other days he could hardly move. He was never in any discomfort. His mind was fine."

Deacon Rod Mortel, director of the Office of the Propagation of the Faith for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, visited the cardinal in his hospital room June 19.

"I was surprised to see him in such good shape just 24 hours after having surgery. He is doing very well," said Deacon Mortel, a retired physician. "He was alert and in good spirits. He even got up and walked around, with a little help, of course."

Cardinal Keeler,76, was to remain in the hospital for at least three days, at which time doctors would determine if he can return to his downtown Baltimore residence, or enter a rehabilitation program in a medical facility, Bishop Malooly said.

The cardinal did inform the Vatican he was undergoing surgery and the archdiocese will be run by Bishop Malooly, assisted by the other two auxiliary bishops of Baltimore -- Bishops Mitchell T. Rozanski and Denis J. Madden -- until he can return to work.

"I'm sure he'll be telling me what to do tomorrow," Bishop Malooly said with a laugh. "He does bounce back quickly. That has been his track record."

Earlier in the day, as the cardinal underwent surgery, well-wishers and fellow Catholics prayed for the archbishop of Baltimore during a 12:10 p.m. Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore.

Traditionally, 15 to 20 people attend the 12:10 p.m. weekday Mass, but more than 60 attended the June 18 service, along with members of the media.

Several employees of the Catholic Center in Baltimore used their lunch hour to attend the Mass to pray for the cardinal's speedy recovery.

"We really wanted to come and show our support and to give him that extra prayer," Tracy Dernoga told The Catholic Review, Baltimore's archdiocesan newspaper. She attended the Mass with her co-workers in fiscal services, Tricia Wienecke and Tyra Johnson.

"I was happy that we were able to gather and pray," said Lauri Przybysz, coordinator for family and marriage enrichment. "It's important for the community."

Cardinal Keeler was scheduled to have a checkup in three weeks, to make sure the tube is draining the proper amount of fluids off his brain.
English Cardinal Keeler tours burgeoning Gambrills school
Feb 02, 2007
While walking through the foyer of the School of the Incarnation yesterday, Cardinal William H. Keeler went without one of the items usually carried by an archbishop.

(The Capital, February 01, 2007) "I don't need a crozier when I visit schools. I use a cane," he said, moving toward the library at a slow but steady pace, a crooked wooden stick in his hand.

The cardinal's visit to the Gambrills school comes at a time when Roman Catholic schools in urban areas are closing, but suburban campuses like the School of the Incarnation are receiving more applications than administrators can handle.

"Some are bulging at the inner seams, but they are closing in the cities," Cardinal Keeler said. "It's economics. It's pure economics."

Since 1997, eight schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, most in the city of Baltimore, have closed. Three others, also in Baltimore, have consolidated into one building. At the same time, three other schools have opened - one in Parkton and one in Baltimore, along with the School of the Incarnation.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore includes Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Harford, Howard and Washington counties, as well as Baltimore city.

"We have more applicants than we can handle," said the Rev. Jeff Dauses, pastor of the Church of the Holy Apostles, whose office is in the school.

The school is affiliated with six parishes, which means students come from a large, well-populated community. This has helped to keep desks filled while other schools have closed, the Rev. Dauses said.

"This is an inter-parish school," he said. "The trouble with inner-city schools is that it's one church, one school," he said.

The school originally opened in 2000 at Our Lady of the Fields in Millersville and moved to its current site a year later.

Since the first day, it was apparent that there was more interest in the school than there was space, Principal Barbara Edmondson said. In the fall of 2004, a wing just for middle school students was built, allowing the student body to expand from two to three classes per grade.

"It's the growth in the area," she said. "It's so populated with young families."

Currently 660 students are enrolled, but the school isn't filled to capacity, Ms. Edmondson said.

Because of the series of closings and struggles that some schools are enduring to stay open, Cardinal Keeler said he's encouraging the state legislature to support Catholic schools financially. Private schools do their part in educating students with private funds, relieving some of the strain on public systems. Catholic schools should receive funds for their work, he said.

The cardinal toured the school as a part of Catholic Schools Week, an event to "build support for the almost 8,000 Catholic schools nationwide" and encourage enrollment and support for the schools.

As part of Cardinal Keeler's visit, sixth-graders sang "Ave Maria" and "It's A Small World," both in Italian.

Cardinal Keeler explained to the students how "Ave Maria" also is called "Lourdes Hymn," a reference to a reported appearance of the Virgin Mary to a child in Lourdes, France, now a popular destination for pilgrims.

"You sing the song related to our Lady of Lourdes, and that's very good," he said.

The students received Italian lessons from kindergarten through fifth grade from Lisa Pitocco, a parent volunteer and native of Italy. Italian is no longer part of lesson plans, but some students have joined an Italian club. Students might travel to Italy in the summer of 2008, Ms. Edmondson said.

Cardinal Keeler also stopped at a third-grade class. He didn't ask the students questions, but they peppered him with their own.

One girl asked, "What's it like to be cardinal?"

"You know, I haven't really reflected on that," he said.

But being a cardinal has afforded him some interesting opportunities, like electing a pope, he added.

"It was truly an exciting event," he said. "To sit in the Sistine Chapel, to sit in all that history and all that art, to know it had witnessed the election of all those other popes was amazing. It was something I will never forget."
English U.S. Cardinal Rips "Revisionist" History of Holocaust
Dec 14, 2006
Echoes Holy See in Wake of Iran Conference.

WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 14, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal William Keeler says the U.S. bishops stand in solidarity with the universal Church in condemning "revisionist history" that seeks to minimize the horror of the Holocaust.

The cardinal, who is episcopal moderator for Catholic-Jewish Relations for the U.S. bishops' conference, today issued a statement entitled "We Must Remember the Shoah."

That statement cited, in turn, a communiqué issued Tuesday by the Holy See alluding to the teaching of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI: "The Shoah was an enormous tragedy, before which one cannot remain indifferent … the memory of those terrible facts must remain a warning for consciences with the aim of eliminating conflicts, respecting the legitimate rights of all peoples and calling for peace in truth and justice."

Cardinal Keeler, archbishop of Baltimore, said: "Here in the United States, we have a wide range of resources to use in fostering Holocaust education not only in Catholic schools but in private and public schools as well."

He noted that in preparing those resources, the U.S. bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs cited two major reasons why studying the significance of the Holocaust should be central to the curriculum of Catholic education.

"First, the Holocaust was not a random act of mass murder but 'a war against the Jews as the People of God, the First Witness to God’s revelation and the eternal bearers of that witness through all the centuries,'" the cardinal wrote in his statement. "Second, future generations need to be ever vigilant so that 'the spoiled seeds of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism (will) never again be allowed to take root in the human heart.'"

Cardinal Keeler issued the statement against the background of a two-day conference this week in Iran at which speakers sought to diminish the scope of the Holocaust.
English Cardinal says his friend seemingly had 'premonition' about crash
Oct 24, 2006
Cardinal William Keeler said his late friend, the Rev. Bernard Quinn, "must have had some kind of premonition" about the car accident that took his life during a vacation in Italy because he repeatedly spoke that day about how "he was ready to go to the Lord."

(The Associated Press, Oct 23, 2006) BALTIMORE - In his first public comments about the crash that killed Quinn and left him with a broken ankle, the archbishop of Baltimore said Monday that he doesn't remember many details about the accident because it happened so suddenly.

Keeler, 75, and Quinn, 78, were passengers in a car driven by Monsignor Thomas Smith, 75, when it was struck by another car in Terni, Italy, on Oct. 7. Smith broke several ribs but was well enough to preach at Quinn's funeral on Saturday, Keeler said.

Keeler said he doesn't recall the impact, but he felt disoriented afterward and wondered what had happened to his eyeglasses, which were broken. When he realized they'd been in a crash, he sprung to action.

"What Monsignor Smith and I immediately did was give absolution to Father Quinn and to each other," Keeler said. "The instinctive reaction of the priest is to make sure that the sacraments of the church are available to someone who is dying or in danger of death."

The accident happened as the priests were returning to their hotel in Terni, about 60 miles north of Rome, after visits to the tombs of St. Valentine and St. Rita. Keeler said he was surprised to hear Quinn mention at least four times throughout the day that he was prepared for death.

"The fact that Father Quinn said that he was ready to go to the Lord, I think he must have had some kind of premonition that God was going to call him soon, and that's the only way I can see that you can make sense out of it," Keeler said.

The remarks seemed to come from nowhere, although Quinn was clearly happy to be back in Italy, Keeler said. The two priests became friends in the early 1960s, when they were both studying in Rome. A trip they took to Sicily, to "a beautiful little town where I was told the head of the Italian Mafia lived," was the first of many vacations together, he said.

Keeler moved slowly but steadily Monday, using a walker and wearing a protective boot on his right foot. He's being treated by Dr. Mark Myerson, director of the Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy Medical Center, who operated on the ankle of football star Terrell Owens in 2004.

The cardinal said Myerson examined him Monday, and "he says that the healing process is moving ahead, although because of my years, it's a little slower than it is for other people."

The festivities surrounding the Nov. 4 reopening of the Basilica of the Assumption, the nation's first Roman Catholic cathedral, will continue as planned, Keeler said, although his own participation may be scaled back because of his limited mobility.

Keeler, who has served as archbishop of Baltimore since 1989, said he is still awaiting word about whether Pope Benedict XVI will accept his resignation. All bishops who turn 75 must offer to resign.
English Cardinal Keeler On Israel
Jun 12, 2006
Cardinal William H. Keeler proudly points out the photograph hanging between the set of elevators leading to his seventh-floor offices. It shows Pope John Paul II alone in prayer in front of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, one of the more poignant moments from the pontiff's 2000 visit to the Jewish state.

(jewishtimes.com, June 09, 2006) "I like to have it there so people can see what we're talking about, and many people have told me how struck they are by it," the cardinal said.

He is widely credited for helping to nurture the ties between U.S. Catholics and Jews, having been present at nearly every major Catholic-Jewish event in recent decades. For his efforts, Cardinal Keeler will this Sunday, June 11, receive the Baltimore Zionist District's Brandeis Award. He sat down last week with the Baltimore Jewish Times to reflect on the Vatican's relationship with the State of Israel and the Jewish people. The following are excerpts from that conversation.

Baltimore Jewish Times: How do Catholics define the State of Israel in theological terms?

Cardinal Keeler: Actually, I think of Pope John Paul II and when he met with Catholic and Jewish leaders at Castle Gondolfo [his summer residence in Italy] on Sept. 1, 1987 [after the controversy of his meeting with former U.N. Secretary-General and Nazi soldier Kurt Waldheim].

There was concern among some of the Jewish people that the Holy See had a religious framework for not recognizing the State of Israel, but a Monsignor Gotti made it very clear that there was no religious issue involved at all. It was a question of religious freedom and that's what they were looking at, the free exercise of rights of people. Until that could be cleared up, he said, the Holy See was not prepared to recognize the State of Israel, and the Holy See, by the way, at that time did not recognize the United States of America either. Both have been recognized since then.

The pope told us that he had meditated that morning on the story of the Exodus and that helped him to see the importance of the State of Israel for the Jewish people, and he said, 'It's your land of promise.' That's the way that I would see it, as a land of promise for the people.

He said when he spoke to the inter-religious gathering that each of our main faith families — Jewish, Christian, Muslim — regards this land as holy and therefore this should be the place that reconciliation begins among these religious bodies.

Can you reflect on your first trip to Israel, which was in 1961?

We went by way of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan and then we crossed over to Israel. I was a student priest. What I remember was we had to use code words, especially in the Arab countries, to speak about where we were going — to Israel. I think 'California' was the code word. We'd say, 'When we go to California' and we had other codes for places in Israel such as Jerusalem.

What do you most recall from that trip?

In Israel, we were really trying to pray our own Christian gospels, to live them and to see them come to life. For example, Jesus picked out Peter to be the head of his apostles. We went to the place where according to our Scripture this happened, and we meditated there.

And a highlight from one of your next seven trips?

Later I went back with rabbis, including Rabbi Joel Zaiman in Baltimore, and we had such a marvelous visit because we went to the old synagogue at Capernicum. Dr. Eugene Fisher [of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops] said this is the first time that the successors of the Pharisees have met with the successors of the apostles in the State of Israel. That was a moving event.

The church always says it strives to be unbiased in the very emotional Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What specifically would the church like to see happen?

I want to choose my words carefully. What we would like, which is what most American Jewish people with whom I have spoken to want, is a two-state solution to the problem that we have in the Middle East. But we want a two-state solution that is respectful of the rights of all people. That becomes very complicated because we talk about civil rights and religious rights. In the City of Jerusalem alone it's very complicated.

Do you have any particular concerns for Catholics in Israel?

What is happening is our Catholic people are being squeezed out and the pressure is coming from Muslims and the pressure is also coming from some of the Jewish settler types. So Christians are leaving the area and it's a very sad thing.

What should Jews know more about regarding the Catholics' view of the State of Israel?

I think that our Jewish friends realize, and surveys show, that among the strongest supporters in the U.S. for the State of Israel are the Catholic people. We believe the state is very important for the Jewish people and it's a land of promise for them. And I add that I see it as the only working democracy in the Middle East, and that's very important for us as Americans.
English Free of the English, free to profess themselves Catholics
Apr 04, 2006
Two hundred years ago the first cathedral in the United States was constructed in Baltimore. Symbol of that freedom that the Declaration of Independence guaranteed to Catholics also.

(30Giorni, December 2005) Recalling the two hundred years since the laying of the foundation stone of Baltimore Cathedral (1806), the first to be built in America after the Declaration of Independence, is equivalent to talking about the history itself of the Catholic Church in the United States. And it can’t be done without underlining that if there is an ideal particularly dear to this great local church it is that of freedom, religious freedom to be precise. When the Cardinal Archbishop of Baltimore William Keeler reopens the basilica – dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and restored to its original architectonic splendor –, he will certainly not forget to remind his faithful of this constituent characteristic, linking many and diverse episodes: from the War of Independence against the English, to the relations between Church and State in the nomination of the first bishop of the Confederation of the United States, down to the “Baltimore Catechism” that accompanied generations of Catholics overseas. Thus, going back over a past that envelops the present, our talk with Cardinal Keeler unwinds. From the windows of his room in the North American College on the Janiculum, Rome is resplendent in all its colors in a limpid winter dusk.  

Your Eminence, what was the Catholic Church in Baltimore two centuries ago?

WILLIAM KEELER: It had to face great struggles because of the anti-Catholicism that had been part of the culture of the British colonies. And it was only with the War of Independence against the English that we gained full religious freedom in the United States. Maryland was the first place in the English-speaking world to be granted religious freedom, if even for a brief period, thanks to an agreement with King Charles I of England, so that the Catholics who were persecuted in England could come here and be free in their worship of God. But it didn’t last very long, only from 1634 to1688, when William of Orange won the “Glorious Revolution”, gained the throne of England and was immediately able to restore the old anti-Catholic penal laws and eventually send a royal governor to Maryland to immediately enforce these anti-Catholic penal laws. Between 1651 and 1657 the Puritans had temporarily prevailed in Maryland, applying their anti-catholic opinions. By the year 1700  every Catholic church in Maryland had been razed to the ground… The only place in the colonies where the anti-Catholic penal laws were not being enforced was Pennsylvania, because William Penn, a Quaker, simply ignored them. That’s why so many from Maryland fled to Pennsylvania.
The reply that George Washington delivered to Pius VI about the freedom of the Pope to nominate the bishops in the newly born Confederation of the American  States was surprising. The choice fell on the Jesuit John Carroll – who then became archbishop of Baltimore – who had greatly insisted that the first bishop be a native and not one sent from Rome…
KEELER: Carroll well understood that you need someone who understands the local situation. That’s why in more recent periods the popes have tried very hard to ensure that they have native bishops all around the world, aware of the local culture, the ways of the particular people, in the sole purpose of helping to advance the cause of the Church.
And the second American bishop was also a Jesuit, Leonard Neall. When I was once ordaining some Jesuits, I told them that the decision of Clement XIV to abolish their order had been a blessing for us, because that made it possible for the Jesuits to come back from Rome and for two of them to be nominated the first two bishops in the United States.
In some of his statements John Carroll seemed very intent on underlining a wish for autonomy from Rome, from Propaganda Fide…

KEELER: John Carroll had a great love and veneration both for Pope Pius VI who nominated him, and for Pope Pius VII, and he had all the bells rung in the diocese of Baltimore when Pius VII was freed from captivity by Napoleon. It’s a simplification to say that the American Church wanted to be free from the Church of Rome. That’s not the case. While Carroll was sincerely loyal to the pope, he saw it as very useful for Rome to understand the advantages of making the most of the qualities of the American people and that it would encourage the flowering of the American Church. Today we have almost 200 dioceses.
It was Benjamin Franklin, then American ambassador in Paris, who passed on George Washington’s reply to Pope Pius VI: the Church could be confident of enjoying full religious freedom.

KEELER: But there are difficulties today, precisely when the government gets into areas that have to do with religious freedom, issues such as life, when it talks of cloning, or in regard to abortion - because the Supreme Court has declared it legal in certain cases. The government takes decisions that make it difficult for the Church to function freely in proclaiming its message to the people.

With regard to the ideal of democracy in the United States: before being nominated by the Pope, John Carroll was chosen by an assembly of local clergy.

KEELER: The Pope sent him a letter appointing him the first bishop of Maryland, but he declined because he thought that there should be a prior election by the local Church. Speaking to the Jesuits’ archivist, I asked whether he had ever believed for a moment that John Carroll wouldn’t have shown to the priests, assembled there for the election of the bishop, the letter of nomination from the Pope. He said that he didn’t believe it.

At the time the Church of Baltimore was the most important in the country…

KEELER: The diocese had the largest number of Catholics, it was the biggest in the United States, even if the total number of Catholics in Maryland was probably less than 15% of the population. But Catholics were the largest landowners. A cousin of John Carroll, Charles Carroll [the only Catholic to sign, as delegate of Maryland, the Declaration of Independence in 1776, ed.] owned more land than anyone else in the thirteen States of the Confederation.
And the Church of Baltimore was presented with the responsibility of presiding over the evangelization of the Confederation.

KEELER: The main missionary activity of the Church was to maintain the faith of those who emigrated from Europe. That was the important thing, and it’s how I imagine the early Christians kept the faith for those who would come afterwards.

Baltimore hosted many Provincial and Plenary Councils, in which all the American Church was represented. What did they talk about?

KEELER: Particularly those topics that we are also concerned about today, that is to give young people a Christian education, pass on a living faith to the generation growing up. The first Plenary Councils established norms about this, before there were public schools on American soil. Those then existing were run by the different religious denominations: Catholics, Baptists, etc.

Baltimore has other things to be proud of: the first church – named after Saint Francis Xavier in 1864 – officially dedicated to the care of blacks, slaves and freed people, coming from Africa; and a celebrated predecessor of yours, Cardinal James Gibbons, a great defender of the workers sacrificed to the Industrial Revolution.

KEELER: The Sulpician Fathers took care of the black refugees coming from Haiti as early as 1792-1793, in the place where in 1807 Mother Seaton later established the first religious community in the United States, the Sisters of Charity.

As far as Gibbons is concerned, I recall that he was in the forefront of those who worked to encourage Pope Leo XIII to write the encyclical Rerum novarum itself. Gibbons was an advocate of Christian social doctrine.

Your Eminence, what is the “Baltimore Catechism”?

KEELER: The third Plenary American Council decided on the composition of a catechism that would be valid throughout the United States given that there were so many different catechisms in use then. The Council set up a special committee and an Italian priest was chosen to draft the texts that were then reviewed by a committee of bishops. The Catechism was published  around 1890.

And how according to the Church of the United States should a catechism be?

Very clear and consistent. It was to teach the main doctrines of the Catholic Church, which at that time were the teachings of the Council of Trent. With the coming of Vatican Council II some parts of our Catechism became a little out of date, for example those relative to the treatment of other religions and social justice issues. Ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue, were not envisioned by Trent, which was held at a time when there were great polemics and great opposition between the families of Islam, Christianity, Judaism.  

For a long time Baltimore was one of the richest sources of vocations.

KEELER: There was Saint Mary’s Seminary, the first seminary in the United States founded in 1791, and then also the second seminary, Mount Saint Mary’s founded, in 1808. In those days it was the custom for ordinations to be held in the place where the seminary was, so that’s why you have, for example, Father Michael McGivney the founder of the Knights of Columbus, being ordained in Baltimore in 1877 even though he was from the  diocese of Hartford, in Connecticut.

Vocations are gifts from God and in 2005, we had more vocations than since I became archbishop. This is a blessing.  We had a dozen candidates entering the seminary in September. Today  we have seen a great downturn because of so many options open to young people today and a generalized prosperity… But I see wonderful vocations and I am very grateful to the Lord, there have been genuinely blessed vocations of priests and of women religious.

Have you thought of what you will say to your faithful on the day when the restored Cathedral reopens?

KEELER: Actually the church itself tells its own story. We are trying to restore it now according to the design of the architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, who designed it for free. It was he who designed the first US Capitol for Thomas Jefferson, who wanted a reproduction  of what he had seen in Paris, that is a building into which lots of light could enter. And our Cathedral was constructed that way originally, and the changes that had to be made during the Second World War because of the anti-aircraft black-out laws will now be eliminated. We will reopen the windows, enlarge the skylights, so that it can hold all the possible light.
Pope John Paul II blessed this restoration project and said he remembered his two visits to Baltimore very well, and recalled that our American Basilica, with its light, was itself the symbol of religious freedom throughout the world.
English Cardinal Seeking Clemency For Convicted Killer
Dec 04, 2005
The archbishop of Baltimore, Cardinal William Keeler, makes a rare prison visit to pray with a convicted killer, who is awaiting execution, and tell him Catholic leaders are seeking clemency for him.

Baltimore, MD (allheadlinenews.com, November 29, 2005) - Keeler met with Wesley Baker on Monday. The inmate was put to death for the 1991 murder of Jane Tyson, a 48-year-old teacher's aide who was shot in the parking lot of a mall, where she had taken her grandchildren shopping.

Keeler says Baker, "seemed very grateful." It is the archbishops first visit to an inmate awaiting execution.

Keeler, along with Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington and Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli of Wilmington, Delaware, sent a letter Monday asking Gov. Robert Ehrlich to commute the sentence to life without parole.

Henry Fawell, a spokesman for Ehrlich says late Monday the governor respects Keeler's beliefs and is committed to giving the case, what he describes as "a thorough and objective review."

Last week, the state's highest court rejected a request for a stay of execution for Baker. Public defender, Gary Christopher, said he is seeking a review by the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as a new hearing from a state appeals court.
English Cardinal seeks clemency for Md. killer
Dec 04, 2005
Cardinal William Keeler made a rare prison visit to pray with a convicted killer awaiting execution next week and tell him that Roman Catholic leaders are seeking clemency for him.

Cardinal William Keeler made a rare prison visit to pray with a convicted killer awaiting execution next week and tell him that Roman Catholic leaders are seeking clemency for him.
German US-Kardinal warnt vor Flutwelle der Pornographie
Nov 24, 2005
Handys mit Foto- oder Videoübertragung haben Hochkonjunktur, gerade in der Weihnachtszeit. Die Verbreitung von Pornographie nehme gravierende Ausmasse an, sagt Kardinal Keeler.

Washington (www.kath.net/idea, 20. November 2005) Vor den Gefahren von Handys und anderen tragbaren Geräten, die mit dem Internet kommunizieren können, warnt Erzbischof William Kardinal Keeler. Die kabellose Technik ermögliche eine Flutwelle der Pornographie, teile der katholische Erzbischof von Baltimore in Washington mit. Die neue Generation der Geräte komme zur Weihnachtszeit in die Läden und wecke besonderes Interesse bei Kindern und Jugendlichen. Erziehungsberechtigten sei eine Kontrolle kaum noch möglich.

Keeler sprach von einem „Tsunami moralischer Verwerfung“. Bereits jetzt habe die Verbreitung sexueller Darstellungen bis hin zur Pornographie ein erschreckendes Ausmaß erreicht. Keeler ist Vizepräsident der Religiösen Allianz gegen Pornographie, der Katholiken, Protestanten, Moslems und Juden angehören.
English Cardinal Keeler assures NCC General Assembly of Pope Benedict's commitment to ecumenism
Nov 18, 2005
Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore welcomed the annual General Assembly of the National Council of Churches USA to his archdiocese Tuesday and reassured delegates that the Roman Catholic Church -- and the Pope -- are firmly ecumenical.

Hunt Valley, Md. (ncccusa.org, Nov. 9, 2005) -- Appearing at the Assembly's opening session, the Cardinal engaged in a lively banter with Dr. Michael Kinnamon, professor of Mission and Peace at Eden Seminary, and Dr. Eileen Lindner, deputy general secretary of the NCC.

When Kinnamon asked about Dominus Iesus, the Vatican declaration drafted in part by Pope Benedict XVI when he was a cardinal and interpreted by some as anti-ecumenical, Keeler laughed. "I'll talk about Dominus Iesus not because I want to but because you brought it up," he said. "It got misunderstood from the beginning. We are still working very much ecumenically."

The Pope shares this view, Keeler told the delegates. "I've known him for 22 years and I know his commitment to work for unity within the church of Jesus Christ is a sincere one."

The NCC's General Assembly, composed of some 300 representatives from the Council's member communions, will meet in Hunt Valley, Md., until Thursday (Nov. 10).

Lindner asked Keeler to reflect on his role in the recent papal election.

It was immediately clear how much Pope John Paul II prepared the way for the election of his successor, Keeler said.

"John Paul pulled us cardinals together a number of times so we knew each other," he said. The familiarity made deliberations easier.

But there were still moments of awe, Keeler said. "In the Sistine Chapel there are all the frescoes, and Rosini's fresco of Jesus giving the keys to the kingdom to St. Peter -- that's a very invocative one."

Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States. The NCC's member faith groups -- representing a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.
English Cardinal asks Jews to forgive church's past anti-Semitism
Nov 18, 2005
Though progress has been made in the last 40 years, a continued effort to improve communication between Jews and Christians is needed, Cardinal William Keeler told congregants at Temple Oheb Shalom's Nov. 4 Sabbath service.

(Owings Mills Times, 11/10/05) In helping to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the signing of the "Nostra Aetate," the Oct. 28, 1965 proclamation by the Catholic Church condemning anti-Semitism, Keeler said, "The church has caused great suffering through the ages in the name of Jesus, and for that we asked for forgiveness."

In the Nostra Aetate - Latin for "In our time" - Pope Paul VI said that the Catholic Church "deplores the hatred, persecutions and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at any time and from any source."

Rabbi Steven Fink told the congregation of the Pikesville temple that the proclamation reaffirmed that the roots of Christianity were in Judaism.

"It is incumbent upon us to mark the 40th anniversary of this statement by offering our thanks to its framers and paying tribute to those, like Cardinal Keeler, who have devoted their lives to bringing God's people ever closer," Fink said.

The Nostra Aetate repudiated that all Jews killed Jesus, and it called anti-Semitism a sin against God, Fink added.

Keeler, who celebrated his 50th year as a cleric in July, is known for his work in bringing interfaith unity.

He has been a member of the International Catholic Orthodox Commission for Theological Dialogue since 1986 and serves as moderator for Catholic-Jewish dialogue for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. He was chairman of the Bishop's Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs from 1984 through 1987.

Fink introduced Keeler as a man who has "throughout 50 years fought for human dignity and humanity."

In a voice so soft he could barely be heard even with a microphone pinned to his lapel, the 74-year-old cardinal spoke of the impact of the Nostra Aetate on Catholics.

"Nostra Aetate pointed out for Catholics that we hold in common with the Jewish people the Torah and the prophets," Keeler said.

This, he said, enabled Catholics and Jews to share the same "traditions of the faith."

He spoke of Pope John Paul II's tour of Israel and prayer at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem as signs of the progress that has been made in relations.

The Wailing, or Western, Wall, is the remaining wall of the temple that was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. It is one of the most sacred Jewish sites in Jerusalem.

But, Keeler warned, even today the words of Jesus are wrongly manipulated to justify anti- Semitism, as they were by the Nazis.

"Christ's scriptures should never again be twisted" to justify hate, he said.

Beyond Nostra Aetate, Keeler also spoke of current Pope Benedict XVI, a man he has known for 22 years.

He reassured the Oheb Shalom congregation that the new pope will continue the outreach to other faiths that Pope John Paul II began.

Keeler said he had a brief conversation with the new pope, whom he called "a gentle person" who "reminds me of my mother" after he ascended to the papacy. "I walked up to him, and he said to me, 'We must continue praying for each other.'"

Congregation President Mark Levin said that Maryland Catholics are uniquely qualified to understand the plight of Jews.

He compared the suffering of the early Catholic immigrants with that of early Jews. In the 17th century, Catholics and Jews were not allowed to vote, hold office or worship publicly.

"We are bound together on so many levels," Levin said.

After the service, Keeler shook hands and spoke with a long line of congregants for a half-hour.
English Baltimore Celebrates Cardinal Keeler's Milestone
Oct 15, 2005
Baltimore's archbishop, Cardinal William Keeler, has served as a priest for half a century. On Wednesday, he celebrated the milestone during a special Mass downtown at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.

BALTIMORE (October 5, 2005, thewbalchannel.com) -- WBAL-TV 11's Rod Daniels reported hundreds of parishioners attended the Mass to honor Keeler.

Daniels said the cardinal has made many strides since he was ordained in 1955. The Catholic leader is the Baltimore Diocese's 14th archbishop.

It's the same position held by America's first bishop, John Carroll, and Cardinal James Gibbons, who was instrumental in bringing American Catholicism toward greater acceptance.

"As a student of history, I'm very happy to be in a place where our history is lifted up so much," Keeler said.

Keeler himself is credited for lifting up interfaith relations. In particular, he's noted for his work in furthering Catholic-Jewish dialogue.

His relationship with the late Pope John Paul II solidified when Keeler organized papal meetings with Jewish leaders in Florida and protestant leaders in South Carolina.

That relationship helped Keeler convince the pope to visit Baltimore 10 years ago.

Keeler has also faced some difficult challenges during his tenure, from dwindling parishioners to high-profile sex abuse cases in his dioceses.

But Keeler said the experiences have never swayed his faith in the church.

"These years have been years of blessings, but also of learning, and there have been crosses, I don't deny that for an instant," Keeler said. "But I say that in all of this, the joy and the consolation of the priestly ministry has exceeded any cross that came my way."

When asked who made the biggest impact on his life, Keeler took little time to answer.

"There are two people -- my mother and Pope John Paul II -- that will always stay vividly in my mind," Keeler said.

Keeler will turn 75 next spring, and under Catholic rules, he will be required to submit a letter of resignation, which may or may not be accepted by Pope Benedict.

The cardinal said he's doing his best to convince the pope to visit Baltimore next year.
English Baltimore cardinal Celebrates 50 years of priesthood
Oct 15, 2005
With a humble "I'm blessed to be here," Cardinal William H. Keeler marked 50 years since becoming a priest with a thanksgiving mass Wednesday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.

(The Associated Press, October 05, 2005) Keeler, the 14th Archbishop of Baltimore, said the past 50 years have been a blessing and a learning experience, at a press conference prior to mass.

Keeler, who entered the priesthood in Harrisburg, Pa. in 1955, noted changes in the church.

"Perhaps the number of Catholics is fewer, but the depths of their faith is absolutely incredible," he said. "What I see happening here in the Archdiocese of Baltimore is young people who are very excited about their faith."

Keeler said he is looking to a possible visit from Pope Benedict XVI in November 2006 for the rededication of the Basilica of the Assumption. An invitation has been sent and received, but there is no word yet on whether he will attend.

The cardinal will be traveling to Rome later this month and will ask again, but he doesn't expect a final decision from the Pope any time soon. He also said he received a letter signed by the Pope for his anniversary.

Two people who Keeler said have been key over the years are his mother and Pope John Paul II, who gave him the cross that he was wearing.

Keeler, who was installed as the Archbishop of Baltimore in 1989, has also served as president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the U.S. Catholic Conference from 1992 to 1995.

He was ordained auxiliary bishop at the Harrisburg Diocese in 1979 and served as bishop of Harrisburg from 1983 to 1989.

The cathedral, which holds 2,000 people, was nearly filled to capacity. Those attending the mass describe Keeler as a community leader, deeply committed to his religion and admirable.

"I think it's a wonderful milestone," said Dolores Kozlowski of Edgewater. "He's a leader in the community and church. Who knows what the future holds for him?"

Lifelong Baltimore resident Mary Bunting said she has met with Keeler on several occasions and attended a mass at his residence.

"I admire him for all the work he's done for the Archdiocese of Baltimore," she said. "Particularly his interfaith work that he's done, especially with the Jewish-Christian dialogue."

She said despite the changes in the church, Keeler has stuck to his principles and remained deeply spiritual.

"We in Baltimore have been blessed to have very good bishops and cardinals."
English Criticizes Senate Majority Leader Frist's Statement on Embryonic Stem-Cell Research
Aug 16, 2005
Cardinal William H. Keeler, chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee for Pro-life Activities, criticized Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's announcement today that he will support federally funded stem cell research that requires destroying human embryos.

WASHINGTON, July 29 2005/U.S. Newswire/ -- Cardinal Keeler's statement follows.

"Today Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced he will support using federal funds to encourage the destruction of living human embryos for their stem cells. Despite the Senator's disclaimers to the contrary, this position is not 'pro-life.'

"Especially disturbing is the Senator's insistence that human embryos unwanted by their own parents are owed 'the same dignity and respect' as children and adults, but may nevertheless be killed for research material. Such destruction of innocent human life, even out of a desire to help others, rests on a utilitarian view that undermines human dignity and human respect, as Senator Sam Brownback ably pointed out today in his response. Senator Frist's effort to make an analogy with organ transplants also fails, because it would be gravely immoral as well as illegal to harvest any patient's vital organs when he or she is still alive.

"Despite his warning against offering 'false hope' to patients, Senator Frist also repeated claims that are untrue or misleading about the unique 'promise' of embryonic stem cells. No one has identified any disease that can be treated only with these cells; no one even knows whether they will ever provide a safe and reliable treatment for the conditions already being successfully treated using adult stem cells. These factual issues will no doubt be explored by others. My own central concern is that neither sound ethics nor good government can rest on the principle that 'the end justifies the means.' I commend President Bush for his laudable pledge to veto such legislation."
English Killing embryos not progress
Jun 11, 2005
A bill in Congress would offer federal grants to encourage researchers to destroy new human embryos from fertility clinics for their stem cells. By Cardinal William H. Keeler, May 24, 2005.

Such killing in the name of "progress" crosses a fundamental moral line. Government has no business forcing taxpayers to subsidize the destruction of innocent human life.

President Clinton's National Bioethics Advisory Commission conceded that human embryos "deserve respect as a form of human life." How does it show respect to treat human lives as mere crops for harvesting?

Those who say these embryos "would be discarded anyway" are wrong. Embryos that couples want discarded are barred from being used in research. In fact, many couples who initially chose to discard their "excess" embryos have later changed their minds and let them survive. But now, government-funded researchers would reach in and destroy these young lives before that can happen.

This bill would lead to much killing that would not otherwise happen. And since all the "spare" embryos available for research cannot provide enough stem cells to treat any major disease, the proposed law would inevitably lead to creating human lives in the laboratory solely to destroy them.

That hope of treating disease is the driving force behind this bill. Yet the "promise" of embryonic stem cell research has been exaggerated. The journal Science last week published a warning by Stanford University experts that "it is nearly certain that the clinical benefits of the research are years or maybe decades away." They added: "This is a message that desperate families and patients will not want to hear." But they need to hear it. They were led to support this unethical research by hyped promises of miracle cures.

Stem cells from umbilical-cord blood and adult tissues, posing no moral problem, have advanced quickly toward treating juvenile diabetes,
Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, sickle-cell anemia, cardiac damage and other conditions. The fixation on destroying embryos has diverted resources away from more promising therapies, and therefore ill serves suffering patients as well as embryonic human beings. Congress should reject this bill and support promising medical research that all Americans can live with.
English A No-Show over Rudy
May 21, 2005
William Cardinal Keeler will not attend a Jesuit university commencement because keynote speaker Rudolph Giuliani, a Catholic, supports abortion rights, an official said yesterday.

(New York Post, May 19, 2005) -- BALTIMORE — Giuliani, mentioned as a possible GOP candidate for president in 2008, is expected to receive an honorary degree at tomorrow's graduation ceremonies at Loyola College of Maryland.

Cardinal Keeler could not be reached for comment. But his spokesman confirmed it was because of Giuliani's abortion stance.
English Cardinal Keeler Mourns Tragic Death of Terri Schiavo
Apr 01, 2005
Cardinal William H. Keeler, chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities, made the following statement today on the death of Terri Schiavo.

WASHINGTON, March 31 2005/PRNewswire/ -- We mourn the tragic death of Terri Schindler Schiavo, who died today from dehydration and starvation.

Terri Schiavo's plight brought to light a critical question: To be a society that is truly human, how should we care for those most helpless patients who cannot speak for themselves?

A year ago Pope John Paul II answered this question, when he reaffirmed that "the administration of food and water, even when provided by artificial means," should be considered "morally obligatory" as long as it provides nourishment and alleviates suffering for such patients.

"Any man's death diminishes me," said the poet John Donne, "because I am involved in mankind." We are all diminished by this woman's death, a death that speaks to the moral confusion we face today. Ours is a culture in which human life is increasingly devalued and violated, especially where that life is most weak and fragile.

We pray this human tragedy will lead our nation to a greater commitment to protect helpless patients and all the weakest among us. "Yes, every man is his 'brother's keeper,'" as the Holy Father teaches "because God entrusts us to one another" (The Gospel of Life, 19).

May the soul of Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo rest in the peace and mercy of God. And may God have mercy on our society which failed to protect this innocent human life.

Source: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
English Cardinal joins with Florida bishops in statement on Schiavo case
Mar 21, 2005
The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities joined with the Florida bishops March 9 in calling for the continuation of any medical treatment or care that could benefit Terri Schindler Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman who has been at the center of a legal battle over removal of the feeding tube that is keeping her alive.

WASHINGTON (CNS, Mar-10-2005 ) -- The statement from Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore came nine days before the court-imposed deadline for the woman to be taken off the tube.

Michael Schiavo -- who remains legally married to Terri Schiavo but now has two children with another woman -- says his wife would want the feeding tube removed. Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, say their daughter would want to live, in part because of her Catholic beliefs.

The cardinal said he, like the Florida bishops, prayed "that those who hold power over Terri Schindler Schiavo's fate will see that she 'continues to receive nourishment, comfort and loving care.'"

Cardinal Keeler quoted from Pope John Paul II's 2004 talk to a conference in Rome, in which the pope said even patients in a persistent vegetative state have "the right to basic health care (nutrition, hydration, cleanliness, warmth, etc.)."

The pope said it is "morally obligatory" to provide water and food, even by artificial means, "insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering."

The cardinal said "there are times when even such basic means may cease to be morally obligatory because they have become useless or unduly burdensome for the patient."

"Deliberately to remove them in order to hasten a patient's death, however, would be a form of euthanasia, which is gravely wrong," he added.

Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer ruled Feb. 25 that Michael Schiavo could order doctors to remove the feeding tube at 1 p.m. March 18.

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court refused without comment to review a lower court decision overturning the Florida law that allowed Gov. Jeb Bush to order reinsertion of the woman's feeding tube when it was removed for six days in 2003.

Terri Schiavo, 41, has been impaired for the past 15 years. She can breathe on her own but requires nutrition and hydration through a feeding tube.

A resident of a nursing home in Pinellas Park, she has been receiving food and water through a feeding tube since 1990, when she collapsed at her home in St. Petersburg because of what doctors believe was a potassium imbalance. Her brain was deprived of oxygen for several minutes.
English Cardinal Keeler Urges Senate to Reject Pro-Abortion Test for Judicial Nominees
Jan 11, 2005
Cardinal William Keeler wrote to members of the U.S. Senate today in anticipation of their being called upon to advise on and consent to presidential nominations for the Federal bench, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 2005/Christian Wire Service/- In the letter, Cardinal Keeler rejected the view that "nominees who oppose the purposeful taking of innocent human life" are "unfit for judicial office in the United States."  "By any measure," he said, "support for the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is an impoverished standard for assessing judicial ability."  Cardinal Keeler is Chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"When considering nominees the Senate should not allow itself to be held captive to such an unfair and unreasonable standard," he wrote.

This is the text of his letter:

   "Dear Senator,

   As you begin the work of the 109th Congress, the Senate will again be called upon to advise on and consent to presidential nominations for the Federal bench, perhaps even for the U.S. Supreme Court.

   "As you know, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is active in the courts on many matters, especially in cases on abortion, the death penalty, civil rights, discrimination and the role of religion in society.  A the same time, it is not the practice of our Conference to take positions on particular presidential nominees.  However, we want to respond to reports about the judicial confirmation process that have caused us and others serious concern.

   "We are troubled by reports that national abortion advocacy groups, and even some U.S. senators, view nominees who oppose the purposeful taking of innocent human life as somehow unfit for judicial office in the United States. It is further reported that attempts would be made to deny them a vote on confirmation by the full Senate.

   "Insisting that judicial nominees support abortion throughout pregnancy is wrong.  By any measure, support for the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is an impoverished standard for assessing judicial ability.  For over three decades, Roe has sparked more informed criticism and public resistance than any other court decision of the late 20th century.  Even legal scholars who support abortion have criticized Roe for not being grounded in the U.S. Constitution.

  Further, in 2000, the Supreme Court relied on Roe to rule that the gruesome and inhumane practice of partial-birth abortion must be constitutionally protected.   When considering nominees the Senate should not allow itself to be held captive to such an unfair and unreasonable standard.

   "There is no doubt that the Catholic Church stands out for its commitment to the right to life from conception until natural death.  This ethic has profound consequences not only for abortion, but for many other areas of life, including the death penalty, the application of scientific research to human subjects, the right to adequate health care, and the role of the state in promoting the common good.  Our civil society will be all the poorer if Senators, as a matter of practice, prevent a Senate vote on well-qualified judicial nominees whose consciences have been formed in this ethic.

   "I pray God will bless Congress' efforts to ensure that Federal judges are persons of integrity and good character who will respect the rights of all, born and unborn.


                              Cardinal William H. Keeler
                              Archbishop of Baltimore
                              Chairman, Committee for Pro-Life Activities
                               United States Conference of Catholic Bishops"
English Other Faiths May be Complementary to or Richer than Our Own
Sept 16, 2004
“Not content with tolerance and respect for each others’ differences, inter-religious understanding and dialogue offer the hope of genuine mutual enrichment that can provide us with the resources necessary to overcome the darkness of violence and division,” Baltimore Cardinal William H. Keeler said.

(USCCB, September 15, 2004) Cardinal Keeler made his remarks Monday during a Conference on Tolerance and the Fight Against Racism, Xenophobia, and Discrimination organized by the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). He was named by Secretary of State Colin Powell to be a member of the U.S. delegation, which was led by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson.

In his address, Cardinal Keeler raised two themes in particular with the delegates representing all the nations of Europe, as well as several Central Asian countries and the United States and Canada: the positive role religion can play in public life, and a renewed spirit of inter-religious encounter.

“While the state and religion clearly differ in their roles, they share a goal of building up the common good for the benefit of the entire society,” he said. “Though religion may be misused – even tragically at times – or distorted, it can offer positive values to society and be a major force for healing the infection of racism and xenophobia.”

Consequently, he said, governments should value and safeguard religion. “Societies in which faith is marginalized and impoverished are diminished societies.”

Cardinal Keeler also said that the persuasiveness of religions’ call to overcome racism and bigotry requires greater dialogue and understanding among religions themselves.

“We are called to listen to what other communities bring out of their own resources which may be complementary to or richer than our own,” he told the conference. “This is more than tolerance or even respect: it is to be ready to receive from others what we may not fully possess on our own. Thus our legitimate differences may enrich our world, rather than divide it.”

He acknowledged that Christians have “failed to extend the tolerance and understanding that we ourselves expect.” He said Christians cannot expect discrimination and bigotry against them to cease until Christians seek an end to discrimination against Jews and Muslims and “brothers and sisters of other faiths and no faiths.”

“In order for religious communities to be ‘agents of peace,’” he said, “it is necessary for us to engage in active and on-going collaboration. … I sincerely believe that communities of faith must play an indispensable role in building a better world and lasting peace among all peoples and races.”
English Statement on Catholic-Jewish Holocaust Scholars Group
Sept 16, 2004
Here is the text of a recent statement by American Cardinal William Keeler in the wake of controversy regarding the historians investigating the wartime record of the Vatican. The cardinal is the episcopal moderator for Catholic-Jews relations of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

(Zenit.org, 2 August 2001) Earlier this week the public learned that the team of Catholic and Jewish historians working together on the 12 volumes of published materials from the Vatican Archives of the World War II period has suspended its work for the present period. These carefully chosen words are from their joint letter to Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.

Many questions still remain, as the scholars´ own Preliminary Report and letter to Cardinal Kasper acknowledge. First, much work remains to be done on the 12 volumes themselves, as the scholars point out. Admittedly they could not achieve a full consensus on how to proceed at this state of their work. They do offer the hope that in dialogue with Cardinal Kasper they may yet discern a way forward.  

Now the situation has become more problematic. At an early stage a European member of the group, Dr. Bernard Suchecky, caused serious damage to the group´s credibility by leaking its Preliminary Report during their meeting in Rome last October. This event seriously impeded the work in progress, making it impossible for them to complete a critical phase of their research in timely fashion and diminishing the level of trust of the other members toward one of their number. Earlier this year, another member, Professor Robert Wistrish, troubled the trust level further when, in an interview with the Jerusalem Report, he imputed bad faith to the Holy See.  

With sadness I note that the Coordinator of the Jewish side, Mr. Seymour Reich, Chair of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultation, has released to the press the Group´s joint letter to Cardinal Kasper and used the occasion to misrepresent its content in his press release. Neither Dr. Eugene Fisher, Catholic Coordinator for the group, nor the Catholic members of the team were consulted in this by Mr. Reich, and all three Catholics have firmly rejected it. It now seems more difficult than ever to see a way forward.  

It is important to stress that some genuine progress was made by the team of scholars and helpful to recall its origin. Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, Cardinal Kasper´s predecessor, suggested that such a group be established during the meeting of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee in Rome in March, 1998. It became clear that, although a significant number of documents from the Holocaust years have been published by the Holy See at the direction of Pope Paul VI, scholars had not seriously studied them. I was pleased to be present then and again, a year later, in Baltimore, when Cardinal Cassidy had read publicly a prepared address in which he expressed deeply felt disappointment that his offer to facilitate such a study had not been taken up by the IJCIC. The spirit of Cardinal Cassidy´s suggestion and, I would like to believe, the spirit with which the group itself undertook their work was one of dialogue. They were asked to see whether our two faith communities, by bringing together appropriate historical scholarship, could work toward that reconciliation of memory called for in the Holy See´s We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, a document issued only a week earlier.  

The publication of We Remember coincided with the actual arrival in Rome from Jerusalem of a joint pilgrimage group comprising of six American bishops, seven rabbis, two priests and two laymen, one Catholic and one Jewish. Next day, we listened as the rabbis in the group clearly and constructively raised in direct conversation with Cardinal Cassidy virtually all of the Jewish concerns with the document--along with significant positive reactions as well--that were to come out in the public forum in ensuing weeks and months. At the ILC meeting the following week the Jewish representatives presented the identical issues.

In view of the general lack of knowledge of the documents of the Holy See, I supported Cardinal Cassidy´s move to put the 12 volumes of Vatican documentation on the table for mature scholarly dialogue. He wisely decided not to involve someone from the Pontifical Commission itself directly with the group, lest there be the slightest appearance of an attempt by the Holy See to influence the work of the scholars. I was delighted with his selection as Catholic Coordinator for the scholars´ group of our own staff person at the Bishops´ Conference, Dr. Eugene Fisher, identified to me years earlier by Cardinal Johannes Willebrands as most qualified for the consideration of any Catholic-Jewish issue.  

Dr. Fisher has served well and ably in the estimation of those involved in the process. So too, I believe, have all three of the Catholic scholars, Fathers Gerald Fogarty, SJ, and John Morley, and Dr. Eva Fleischner, who later resigned from the team. All three are Americans, and we in the United States can be proud of and grateful for their generous response to the request made of them by Cardinal Cassidy on behalf of the Holy See. One question to ask of any dialogue group is whether the members have been able to work through the differing personal and professional experiences they bring with them to the table toward some measure of consensus. The Preliminary Report of this group indicates that they were able to do so on significant matters if by no means on everything.  

It is seen more clearly than ever that the work of reconciliation will be long and immensely challenging. Of crucial importance for the future must be the separation from scholarly research of elements of a politically driven agenda that poisons the atmosphere and makes true progress unattainable. As Rabbi Bemporad, Director of the Center for Interreligious Understanding, counseled in an address last year at the Centro pro Unione in Rome, the establishment of a proper atmosphere is crucial to the success of any interreligious dialogue. If there is a lack of trust, mutuality, or respect, then genuine dialogue cannot take place, said Rabbi Bemporad.  

Joint efforts by Catholic and Jewish scholars working together can bear fruit in the long run, provided the dialogue is conducted in a spirit of mutual respect and trust. I believe we must continue to look for a way to bring Catholic and Jewish memories of the period of the Shoah together for a reconciling dialogue. Those who might wish to politicize this moment of pain should reflect on what is at stake in our effort to grapple together with our history for the sake of both Jews and Catholics. In the end, under God, our common message should be one of renewed hope for all humanity.
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