Statement on the death of Sir Sigmund Sternberg

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Archbishop Kevin McDonald, Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Catholic-Jewish Relations issued the following statement on the death of Sir Sigmund Sternberg:

The death of Sir Sigmund Sternberg constitutes a great loss to the cause of interfaith relations and to Catholic-Jewish relations in particular.

Sir Sigmund had a clear understanding of the significance of the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate for interfaith relations, for the role of the Catholic Church in the modern world and for peace among the nations. He was involved in key moments in Catholic-Jewish relations such as Pope John Paul’s historic visit to the Rome Synagogue and the controversy over the Carmelite Convent at Auschwitz. His commitment was acknowledged by his being awarded a Knighthood of St Gregory by Pope John Paul.

He also saw clearly the importance of seeing Christian, Jewish and Muslim relations as intimately connected. He co-founded the Three Faiths Forum to take that vision forward.

In his relations with the Catholic Church he was sympathetic, straightforward and sincere. I personally appreciated getting to know him when he asked me to give the 2006 Sir Sigmund Sternberg Lecture at Leicester University and he will be remembered by many in the Catholic Church with great respect and admiration.