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July 31, 1992 - Image 38

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-07-31

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FRIDAY. JULY 31. 1992



Jews, Catholics Issue
Abortion Statement

New York (JTA) — In an
unusual public statement,
Jews and Catholics in
Chicago have together ad-
dressed the topic of abortion,
one of the most divisive
issues debated in political
and religious circles today.
The 21 Jewish and
Catholic religious leaders
who signed a joint statement
about abortion treaded
carefully around the con-
tradictory positions held by
Judaism and Catholicism,
which differ fundamentally
on the point at which
"human life" begins and
whether abortion is always
Instead, their statement
addressed the often-
vociferous tone of public
debate on abortion.
They expressed concern
about the way in which "the
public debate on abortion
has harmfully polarized our
society," in their statement.
"Many parties to the
public debate on abortion
question the integrity and
intent of their opponents,"
the statement read. "Not
only is this behavior
counterproductive but it is
also profoundly unjust.
"We condemn the
stereotyping of religious
traditions and attacks upon
the integrity of those who
hold different views. Such
vilification creates
divisiveness between groups
and makes it more difficult
for our society to resolve this
complex ethical dilemma.
"Moreover, it can easily
lead to a cold, unthinking
lack of compassion for the
women who must grapple
with this dilemma most im-
mediately and inescapably.
We call upon all to proceed
with sensitivity and dignity
in their public discourse and
action on this subject," the
statement said.
The Jews and Catholics
who signed the statement
agreed that "neither tradi-
tion considers the voluntary
termination of a pregnancy
to be good but our traditions
differ on whether that choice
is always morally wrong."
They acknowledged that
"the range of appropriate
options and acceptable re-
sponses to real life dilemma
is quite different in our two
And they urged "the
public and private sectors of
our society to implement
programs which address the
basic health care needs of
women and children at risk.
The debate over abortion

should not interfere with
this objective."
The statement's creation
grew out of a dialogue which
has been conducted by
leaders of the two faith
communities since the early c)
1980s, when it was founded
by Cardinal Joseph Bernar-
din of Chicago.
The Catholic-Jewish
Scholars Dialogue, as it is
known, is co-sponsored by
the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Chicago, the
Chicago Board of Rabbis and
the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Every two months, dia- °
logue participants gather for
scheduled meetings at the 11-
federation, which coor-
dinates the effort, to discuss
issues of mutual concern.
It is rare that they issue a
statement. There have been <1
only two others — on the
Carmelite convent at
Auschwitz, in 1989, and on
the proposed beatification of
Spain's Queen Isabella, in
The statement on abortion
was written after the topic
was discussed at the group's
spring meeting and two fur-
ther sessions.
The group decided to issue
a statement on this topic be-
cause the first meeting "was
a profound session, and peo-
ple were moved by the depth
of the discussion," said
Michael Kotzin, associate (-2 <
executive director and direc-
tor of communications for
the federation.



Sabin Funds
Solar Research

Tel Aviv (JTA) — In a
welcome reprise of a gift he
gave last year, American
Nobel laureate Albert Sabin
has again bequeathed a
large sum to the Weizmann
Institute of Science in
Rehovot for solar energy
research. Mr. Sabin, a
former president of the in-
stitute and renowned for de-
veloping the oral polio vac-
cine, donated $120,000,
which represents the pro-
ceeds of awards he recently
received from Italian
sources: the Abano Terme
Quality of Life Prize and the
Sanremo Laboratoria Far-
maceutico CT Prize.
Last October, Mr. Sabin, a
doctor, virologist and
microbiologist, surprised
Weizmann officials at their
annual dinner in New York
by presenting the institute
with $500,000 for solar
energy research.


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