WASHINGTON (September 28, 2001) -- The Catholic Church's 50-year journey toward reconciliation with the Jewish people, as highlighted in Pope John Paul II's personal pilgrimage to the Holy Land in March 2000, is the subject of I Am Joseph, Your Brother, a new hour-long documentary which will be seen on ABC-TV stations across the country this fall.
"I Am Joseph Your Brother is the revolutionary story of estranged brothers and sisters beginning to speak with one another, leading to deeper understanding and genuine mutual respect," says the documentary's producer, Rabbi Ron Kronish of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI).
Through the prism of the pope's Holy Land pilgrimage, I Am Joseph, Your Brother explores the history of the relationship between the Catholic and Jewish faiths since World War II and the Holocaust. Among the authorities on Catholic-Jewish relations who appear in the documentary are Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore; Cardinal Edward Cassidy, former President of the Vatican Commission on Religious Relations with the Jews; Rabbi David Rosen of the American Jewish Committee; Rev. Christopher Leighton of the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies in Baltimore; and Dr. Eugene Fisher of the USCCB Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
"After 2,000 years, we in this generation right now have an incredible opportunity to turn around something that it took 2,000 years to mess up," says the USCCB's Fisher. "The clean-up has begun, and we can now structure the future so that the next certainly 2,000 years will be much more productive."
Although the documentary opens with a look at Pope John Paul II's efforts to advance Jewish-Catholic dialogue, it owes its title to Pope John XXIII. Greeting a delegation of American Jews visiting on the eve of the Second Vatican Council in 1962, Pope John XXIII used the words "I am Joseph, your brother." With this greeting, he not only drew on the biblical story of Joseph as a metaphor, but also referred to his own given name Giuseppe — Joseph in Italian. For many, this was a significant turning point in the relationship between Catholics and Jews.
I Am Joseph, Your Brother is a production of the ICCI, made possible by a grant from the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). It will be distributed to ABC-TV affiliates nationwide on Sunday, October 7, at 12:30 p.m. ET, as part of the "Vision & Values" series produced for ABC by the USCCB and the other members of the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission. Many ABC stations plan to air the program on October 7 or on subsequent Sundays in October.
For a listing of local broadcast dates and times please visit the CCC web site, www.usccb.org/ccc. Click on the link to the CCC press/diocesan communications information center for photos and other media materials. The information on the web site will be updated as additional stations announce broadcast dates.
Home video copies of I Am Joseph, Your Brother will be available from the USCCB Publishing Office (1-800-235-8722) after the ABC broadcasts and the program will be available to diocesan television ministries in January 2002.
Founded in January 1991, on the eve of the Gulf War, the ICCI is Israel's national umbrella organization -- comprised of 71 institutions representing thousands of individuals throughout Israel -- which seek to promote interreligious and intercultural understanding within Israeli society among the members of the major faith communities in Israel -- Jews, Christians and Muslims.
The USCCB is the national organization of the Catholic Bishops in the United States, and supports them in exercising their leadership within the Church and in society. Through its Catholic Communication Campaign, the USCCB produces and distributes a variety of media projects including a weekly radio program, television documentaries that examine spiritual themes, Christmas and Easter specials, and public service campaigns about issues of national importance.