Ed Koch: Jews need stronger ties to Catholic Church

From the In My Backyard Desk…

One of New York City’s more colorful mayors — who had a close friendship and collaboration with Cardinal John O’Connor — offered some advice the other day:

Jews need to form stronger ties to the Catholic Church to ensure their survival, according to former Mayor Ed Koch.

“We’re 13 million Jews in the whole world — less than one-tenth of 1 percent,” said Koch, while being honored by the Beit Morasha of Jerusalem public- policy organization in Manhattan Wednesday night.

“And we need allies. The best ally we can have is the Catholic Church. Oh, you can go back in history when they were not great allies. But they proved to be. It started with Pope John XXIII and Pope [John] Paul II. We have to reach out to them.”

The former mayor didn’t stop there.

He criticized Orthodox Jews for refusing to step foot in a Catholic church.

“It’s ridiculous, ridculous,” Koch declared. “What we have to do is reach out in friendship.”

Koch was a friend of the late John Cardinal O’Connor, and has stayed friendly with his successors.


  1. Deacon Norb says:

    For many years, the neighborhoods in the immediate vicinity of John Carroll University — a traditionally Jesuit university in the Cleveland suburb of University Heights — had a very unique demographic: 45% Jewish; 45% Roman Catholic ; and 10% everything else.

    The Church of the Gesu, the Roman Catholic “town” parish, right across the street from the University, always had cooperative programs between the two religious traditions. The local Reform Temple and the local Orthodox and Conservative Synagogues always had similar programs — where Theology Professors at John Carroll were presenters as well.

    Things may have changed in recent years. Like I mentioned in an earlier posting, the couples whose families were a part of the parish in the 50-70′s have now died off or are in nursing homes. Their children have started their own families many miles away.

    Jewish/Roman Catholic cooperation is really nothing new. In fact, I studied under one of the greatest scholars attached to Hebrew Union, Jewish School of Theology in Cincinnati. That scholar was certainly an image of the awesome all-knowing Lord High God.

  2. Mayor Koch is right of course, but I would add the need for stronger ties with our Jewish friends goes both ways. We need them as our friends and allies as well.

  3. Well, you can’t get stronger ties between a Catholic and a Jew in my household. My wife is Jewish! I think the Mayor is right. I think there is a strong bond developing between our faiths.

  4. They are our elder brethren and from them come the Scriptures and the Law. But with the great tragedy for them Jesus is neither Christ, nor Savior, nor Lord nor God.


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