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2015-09-11 digital edition

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September 11, 2015  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Local author tells story of historic breakthrough in Catholic-Jewish relations

With the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s document “Nostra Aetate” fast approaching, James M. Barrens, the former executive director of the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Saint Leo University, has released a book, In Our Time – Nostra Aetate – How Catholics and Jews Built a New Relationship.

The book tells the story of how Catholics and Jews worked together, with the result being the approval on Oct. 28, 1965, by the Second Vatican Council of the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religion, or Nostra Aetate. This historic document was a condemnation by the Catholic Church of anti-Semitism.

Barrens, a Roman Catholic, lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Ruth, who is Jewish. He has been actively involved in building better interfaith relations for some time.

Along with his position at St. Leo’s, Barrens was previously Lead Organizer of Congregations United for Community Action, a St. Petersburg social justice organization comprised of 37 diverse religious congregations: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Quaker, Unitarian-Universalist, Bahia, and others. Barrens has been recognized by local and national media for having an accessible yet scholarly perspective on Catholic- Jewish relations, as well as interfaith relations, in general.

The book is available through

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