Pope urges interreligious conversation and condemns anti-semitism

By staff writers
October 31, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI has received a delegation of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultation with which the Holy See “for over thirty years has had regular and fruitful contacts, which have contributed to greater understanding and acceptance between Catholics and Jews”.

The meeting took place at the Vatican on Wednesday 29 October 2008.

“I gladly take this occasion,” said the Pope, “to reaffirm the Church’s commitment to implementing the principles set forth in the historic declaration 'Nostra Aetate' of the Second Vatican Council. That declaration, which firmly condemned all forms of anti-Semitism, represented both a significant milestone in the long history of Catholic-Jewish relations and a summons to a renewed theological understanding of the relations between the Church and the Jewish People”.

“Christians today,” the pontiff continued, “are increasingly conscious of the spiritual patrimony they share with the people of the Torah, the people chosen by God in his inexpressible mercy, a patrimony that calls for greater mutual appreciation, respect, and love. Jews too are challenged to discover what they have in common with all who believe in the Lord, the God of Israel, who first revealed himself through his powerful and life-giving word”.

The leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics concluded: “In our troubled world, so frequently marked by poverty, violence, and exploitation, dialogue between cultures and religions must more and more be seen as a sacred duty incumbent upon all those who are committed to building a world worthy of [humanity].

"The ability to accept and respect one another, and to speak the truth in love, is essential for overcoming differences, preventing misunderstandings, and avoiding needless confrontations. ... A sincere dialogue needs both openness and a firm sense of identity on both sides, in order for each to be enriched by the gifts of the other”.

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