WASHINGTON (June 1, 2006)—Bishop Richard Sklba, Chairman of the Catholic Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (BCEIA), paid tribute to the life and work of Sister Rose Thering, O.P. She was "one of the great pioneers of Catholic-Jewish relations even before the Second Vatican Council," Bishop Sklba said.
"Sister Rose served as a member of the Advisory Committee on Catholic-Jewish Relations to the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for twenty years, from 1967 to 1987, giving invaluable advice and scholarship to us, as she did informally since then," the Bishop said.
Sister Rose, a Dominican nun, died of kidney failure at the order's Siena Center in Racine, Wisconsin, May 6. She was 85.
The text of Bishop Sklba's statement is below.
"Sister Rose Thering, a Racine, Wisconsin, Dominican, was one of the great pioneers of Catholic-Jewish relations even before the Second Vatican Council. Her meticulous content analysis of the treatment of Jews and Judaism in the U. S. Catholic teaching materials of the late 1950's was an important part of the documentation used by Cardinal Bea and the Pontifical Commission for Christian Unity, to understand the negative aspects of Christian teaching over the centuries and to develop the Council's historic declaration, Nostra Aetate ("In Our Time"). Updates of her doctoral dissertation for St. Louis University were done, also as doctoral dissertations, in 1976 by Dr. Eugene Fisher for New York University and in 1992 by Dr. Philip
Cunningham for Boston College. These established objective data showing the increase in understanding of Judaism in Catholic textbooks and in the Church's much more positive assessment of it and of the Jews as Chosen People of God.
Sister Rose served as a member of the Advisory Committee on Catholic-Jewish Relations to the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations for twenty years, from 1967 to 1987, giving invaluable advice and scholarship to us, as she did informally since then.
Sr. Rose worked tirelessly to bring about the reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people. She continued to keep track of Catholic teaching materials, as well as liturgical issues, for areas of improvement. She lead numerous joint groups of Jews and Catholics to Israel, and was a mainstay in the cause of Soviet Jewry. Her pioneering work in Holocaust education, both in Catholic schools and for the State of New Jersey, provided guidance and resources that were used across the nation.
Sr. Rose will be missed by all her friends and those she has so profoundly influenced over the years. She was one of a kind, a woman for our time and for all time. May God gather her up into eternal Shalom. And may her name be for a blessing."