Rabbi Abraham Skorka Honored at Academic Convocation

From left are President John J. Petillo, Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Trustee James T. Morley during a special convocation in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.

News Story: November 11, 2013

Rabbi Abraham Skorka, author, teacher and biophysicist, was honored at a special academic convocation at Sacred Heart University on Wednesday, October 30. During the ceremonies, Skorka was presented with an honorary doctorate of theology, honoris causa. Father Anthony J. Ciorra, assistant vice president of Mission & Catholic Identity at the University, read the citation.

Ciorra shared the story of Pope Francis telephoning his good friend the night before his ordination. “They trapped me here in Rome, and they won’t let me come home,” the Pope-elect told his good friend.

Skorka serves as rector of the Seminario Rabínico Lationamericano (Latin American Rabbinical Seminary) in Buenos Aires and also as rabbi of the Benei Tikva Community there. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), as well as honorary doctorates from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Argentina and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Skorka established the Jewish law programs at UBA and the Universidad del Salvador, a Jesuit institution in Buenos Aires. He is also the author of several books and many articles on religious themes as well as biophysics. The first English edition of one of his more recent books, On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century, was co-authored with then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, and published in April 2013.

In welcoming Skorka to Sacred Heart, President John J. Petillo said, “you are our brother upon this journey of faith. Your presence and your words are teaching moments for us. We welcome you with open arms and embrace you gladly.”

Skorka expressed gratitude to the University community for honoring him and for giving him the opportunity to participate in Sacred Heart’s 50th Anniversary celebration. In addressing the congregation, he spoke about the importance of dialogue—in particular, the kind of interfaith dialogue that he regularly shares with the Pope. “I have felt the obligation to be the witness that it’s possible to do something relevant, to give fresh blood and new life to interfaith dialogue on the basis of affection and love,” he said of their interactions.

He added, “I disable all my formal structures when I speak with him. The message is beyond words…it is something so deep, so special for us—him and me—but which we try to share through acts. Bergolio speaks more through his acts than with words.”

To watch video of the convocation, click here. To read an article by Rabbi Skorka, "Faith and Reason," click here.


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