Canadian interfaith leaders to receive recognition

 — May 22, 201222 mai 2012

Two of Canada’s leading voices in interfaith relations will be honoured by Pope Benedict XVI — Dr. Victor Goldbloom and the Rev. Irénée Beaubien.

Goldbloom, a pioneer in Catholic-Jewish dialogue in Quebec, will receive the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Sylvester Pope and Martyr at a 4 September ceremony in Montreal.

A physician and former Quebec cabinet minister, Goldbloom, who is Jewish, has for decades been at the forefront of promoting understanding and calming occasional tensions between Quebec’s mostly English-speaking Jews and francophone Catholics.

Established in 1905, the award is one of five Orders of Knighthood awarded directly by the pope. Past recipients have included Holocaust hero Oskar Schindler and the Aga Khan.

Goldbloom, 88, is among a handful of Canadians, and the first non-Christian in the history of the Archdiocese of Montreal and Quebec, to receive the honour.

Beaubien, a Montreal Jesuit and leader in Quebec’s ecumenical movement, on the same day will receive the pontifical medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, created by Pope Leo XIII in 1888 for extraordinary service to the Roman Catholic Church and papacy.

In 1963, Beaubien, now 96, founded the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism, which promotes interfaith and inter-church relations, and initiated one of Canada’s first formal Christian-Jewish dialogues. The Centre recommended both men for the honours.

The recipients “are two Quebecers, two Canadians, two men of faith, who helped shape the open and tolerant society we too often take for granted today,” the Centre said in a statement. “Every generation that follows owes a debt of gratitude to them for their courage in the face of early opposition and unwavering commitment to dialogue as the only true path to peace and reconciliation.”

The Ven. David Oliver, Anglican board chair of the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism, noted the historical significance of the September event: It will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council, which radically transformed the Catholic Church’s relations with other religions.

The award ceremony will be attended by Canada’s senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte.

Posted: May 22, 2012 • Permanent link:
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