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Rev. John F. Hotchkin

Deceased: 2001-06-24

Diocese: CHICAGO

Seminary Graduation Year: 1960




The Rev. John F. Hotchkin, widely considered a guiding spirit in the Roman Catholic Church's ecumenical efforts in the United States, died on June 24 at his home in Washington. He was 66.

He had severe bronchitis, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops said in announcing his death.

Father Hotchkin was the executive director of the conference's Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs from 1971 until his death. He had been associate director from 1967 to 1971.

Much of his work in those posts was behind the scenes, but he was also a major force in the church's relations with Jewish, Lutheran and other religious traditions.

Rabbi A. James Rudin, senior interreligious adviser for the American Jewish Committee, said Father Hotchkin ''was an enormously gifted religious leader who helped change Catholic-Jewish history,'' adding that ''his deep commitment to building a new relationship with Jews and Judaism spanned five decades.''

Father Hotchkin was involved in the dialogue between American Catholics and American Lutherans, and he also played a role in the European contacts that preceded the signing in 1999 in Augsburg, Germany, of a Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification by officials of the Lutheran World Federation and a Roman Catholic cardinal, with the blessing of Pope John Paul II.