The Deacon's Bench

Strange but true. Details:

Three years ago, just before Easter, then-Archbishop Raymond Burke attended a Passover seder with about 25 people to commemorate God’s liberation of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt.

Guests wore yarmulkes–Burke brought his own fuchsia zucchetto worn by bishops–as a symbol of God’s presence, and enjoyed traditional seder fare: matzo, horseradish, apples and wine.

But this was not a traditional Passover seder.

“It was a seder celebrated in the light of Christ,” said David Moss, the seder’s host and president of the St. Louis-based Association of Hebrew Catholics.

Despite the risk of creating a rift with the local Jewish community, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has given the group its encouragement and support since 2006, when Burke (now a Vatican judge) welcomed it into the archdiocese.

When Moss’ organization announced its first national conference scheduled for October in St. Louis, the agenda included Burke and archdiocesan leaders. And that’s worries local Jewish groups.

After centuries of often contentious relations, in the last 50 years Catholic and Jewish leaders have generally come to an understanding on the idea of Catholics proselytizing Jews: Don’t do it.

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