The death today of the Rev. Edward H. Flannery at the age of 86 robs the world of one of this century's spiritual giants. During Father Flannery's long and distinguished career, he helped build human bridges of mutual respect and understanding between Roman Catholics and Jews.
His path-breaking work, "The Anguish of the Jews," published in 1966, shattered negative caricatures and stereotypes that had existed for centuries. Father Flannery was an unrelenting foe of all forms of anti-Semitism and was a strong supporter of the State of Israel.
During his decade of service (1967-1977) as the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' first Director of Catholic-Jewish Relations, Father Flannery permanently put into place the sturdy foundations of a new and positive relationship between these two ancient faith communities.
The American Jewish Committee especially mourns Father Flannery's death. The AJC and he worked closely together for over thirty years on a host of projects. His advice and guidance were always treasured and his articulate voice and writings stirred both Catholics and Jews. The AJC has lost a beloved colleague and friend.
Father Flannery was a major force in the development of constructive Catholic-Jewish relations during the past thirty years. He was truly an original and he will be sorely missed. May his memory always be for a blessing.
Rabbi A. James Rudin
National Interreligious Affairs Director
The American Jewish Committee