The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

In an effort to strengthen interfaith relations at the University, Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua spent the entire day on campus yesterday talking with Catholic and non-Catholic students, faculty and administrators. The archbishop, who oversees the Philadelphia diocese, spent his day explaining Catholic tenets and participating in debates over them both in small informal discussions and larger group settings, including over lunch with President Sheldon Hackney at his home at Eisenlohr Hall. During lunch, Bevilacqua discussed with Hackney ways to "promote civility in discourse" on campus, Newman Center Director James McGuire said. "We talked around the problem without solving it," McGuire said. Earlier in the day, Bevilacqua discussed the nature of Jewish-Catholic relations at Hillel, explaining to the approximately 20 people present the Catholic document Nostra Aetate, which absolves the Jewish faith of guilt for Christ's death and apologizes for Catholic anti-Semitism. Bevilaqua also told students -- answering his "most asked" question by Jews -- that while the Catholic Church recognizes Israel, the Vatican has not established diplomatic relations with Israel because of concerns over both the Palestinians and over Church holdings in Jerusalem. "We strongly support the state of Israel," the archbishop said. "Why no diplomatic relations? The time's not right." While discussing the Persian Gulf war at the Christian Association, Bevilacqua told students and campus Protestant ministers the most difficult, yet most successful, way to work for peace is to be kind to other people. "If Hussein could look at America and say, 'Look how [Americans] love each other,' he may not have attacked," Bevilacqua said. The archbishop also praised the CA for its strong relationship with the Newman Center, emphasizing that "the message you give must be cooperative." During the afternoon, Bevilacqua spoke at forums held by the Medical School and the Law School discussing ethics in medicine and law. "The exchanges were direct and substantive," McGuire said. "We saw [discussions of] genuine, sincere differences of opinion." The archbishop, a member of the bars of the U.S. Supreme Court and the Philadelphia federal court, ate dinner at the Newman Center and spoke individually with over 50 people in a receiving line afterward. Bevilacqua said last night he was impressed by the "friendly manner" of the discussions even though people did not agree with him. "I enjoyed the interaction with students," Bevilacqua said. "[They were] willing to listen." Bevilacqua and McGuire both said the days' events were important for opening dialogue on campus and for "breaking the ice" between the archbishop and the University. "[The day] was very successful," McGuire said last night. "The goal was for him to meet people. . .the reception was warm."

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.