With the Declaration Nostra Aetate of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the Catholic Church embarked on a journey of dialogue, fraternity, and friendship with the Jewish people. The relation to Judaism is part of the Church’s identity: “The Jewish religion is not ‘extrinsic’ to us, but in a certain way, is ‘intrinsic’ to our religion” (John Paul II, "Discourse at the Rome Synagogue", 13 April 1986). Receiving professors, students, and friends of the Cardinal Bea Centre on 28 February 2019, Pope Francis reiterated the importance of the Centre as “the Catholic Church’s premier program in Jewish Studies” and expressed special appreciation for “the witness of Jewish and Catholic instructors who teach together”.
The Cardinal Bea Centre for Judaic Studies offers a solid preparation in Judaism and Jewish-Christian Relations to both those wishing to obtain the Centre’s Annual Diploma and those intending to complete the new Licentiate in Judaic Studies and Jewish-Christian Relations. The Centre also offers introductory and interdisciplinary courses for both students enrolled in the various Faculties, Institutes, and Centres of the Pontifical Gregorian University, as well as for guest students.
The Cardinal Bea Centre is engaged in international academic exchanges of teachers and students with the institutions of various countries, in particular with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and other prestigious institutes in Israel, Europe, the United States, China, and South America.
The Centre contributes to research in the field of Judaic Studies and to the development of a Christian Theology of Jewish-Christian relations, promoting research projects and supporting the publication of texts.
It organises national and international conferences and encounters with the Jewish Community of Rome in order to help overcome prejudices, increase mutual knowledge, and create a space for dialogue and interaction.
Characteristics: Resources for teaching, research, and relations in loco
The faculty includes not only Catholic lecturers, but also, to a significant extent, Jewish scholars, and part of the teaching is done in tandem.
Use is made of the resources of the Pontifical Gregorian University (PUG) and the Pontifical Biblical Institute (PIB), in particular the SIDIC Library Fund (Service International de Documentation Judéo-Chrétienne, founded in 1965 and donated in 2002 by the Sisters of Zion to PUG). Thanks to this, today, the Library of PUG has a patrimony considered amongst the most important in the area of Jewish-Christian relations.
The location of the Cardinal Bea Centre in Rome, in close contact with the Holy See, facilitates collaboration with authoritative exponents of Jewish-Catholic dialogue in the world.
The closeness with the Jewish community of Rome, one of the oldest in the West, offers ideal conditions for experiencing dialogue, through encounters, debates, and participation in moments of prayer and liturgy in the synagogues, activities that are considered part of the formation process.