Interfaith Relations: Time for Healing

Recently, our pages have been filled with news accounts, editorials and numerous letters to the editor regarding the ordination ceremony of two women seeking to become Roman Catholic priests in the sanctuary of Central Reform Congregation. Good people on all sides of this issue have weighed in for and against the decision by Rabbi Susan Talve, with the unanimous approval by the CRC Board of Directors, to host the controversial ordination ceremony.

Many members of the Jewish community strongly supported CRC’s decision to host the ordination. Talve is the most senior among women rabbis in St. Louis, and is a role model for other women, Jewish and non-Jewish, who feel a calling to become rabbis, ministers, priests or other religious leaders. It was in that spirit that she and the CRC Board went forward with the decision.


Within the Jewish community, opinion was, is and will probably continue to be deeply divided over this issue. Prominent rabbis and others expressed deep concern that a synagogue would host a ceremony which the Roman Catholic Church considers religiously illegal. They argued that it was a grave insult to the Catholic community and potentially injurious to Catholic-Jewish relations.

We had hoped the rift could begin to heal, especially during this season of Hanukkah and Christmas, a time of healing, hope and peace for both communities.

But recently, Archbishop Raymond Burke objected when St. Cronan’s Catholic Church parishoners invited Talve to attend an Advent service, which she had done for the past several years. The parishioners moved the service off church grounds, so that their friend and sister could attend.

We admire the gumption of the parishioners who did not turn their back on Rabbi Talve.

We urge both Catholics and Jews to put aside their differences over this issue and return to the positive Catholic-Jewish relations that have been the norm in St. Louis.