Detroit Stories Episode 57: 'An Ancient Olive Branch' (PODCAST)

Scholar discusses journey from Messianic Judaism to Catholicism, and how Catholics and Jews can bridge an ancient divide

(0:04) The narrator sets the scene with André Villeneuve, Ph.D., in Jerusalem with a group of seminarians visiting the tomb of the Old Testament king David. The Catholic group encounters hostility from a local Jew, who demanded they leave, citing religious reasons.

(3:21) André discusses his conversion to Catholicism, which took him on a path from agnosticism as a young man to messianic Judaism. He discusses pivotal influences, including serving war refugees during the civil war in Bosnia and Croatia.

(6:13) After a conversion to Christ through an evangelical church, André decided to pursue biblical studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and while there, he ended up getting involved in the Messianic Judaism movement, a belief system that combines Jewish and Christian traditions.

(9:28) Frustrated by the “doctrinal anarchy” he found in the Messianic Jewish movement, André found himself drawn to the Catholic Church.

(12:52) After his conversion in 2002, André found himself in a unique position to reach both Catholics and Jews to give each a better understanding of the other faith. André discusses what the Catholic Church has received from Judaism, as well as the wounds many Jews still feel from centuries of hostility and discrimination.

(16:27) André discusses how he feels the Church can better welcome Jews and evangelize while remaining mindful of the deep roots of division that still exist. He talks about his work studying, teaching and leading pilgrimages to the Holy Land, all in an effort to bridge an ancient divide.

Reporting by Gabriella Patti; narration by Fr. Craig Giera; script by Casey McCorry; production by Ron Pangborn

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Listen to ‘Detroit Stories’ on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify. Podcasts also will be posted biweekly on DetroitCatholic.com.



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