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Pope meets with Jewish leaders to affirm dialogue


In his first major meeting with world Jewish leaders, Pope Benedict XVI affirmed his commitment to Jewish-Catholic dialogue, fighting anti-Semitism and promoting continued Catholic reflection on the Holocaust.

"It is my intention to continue on this path" begun by the Second Vatican Council to improve Catholic-Jewish relations, the pope told members of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations.

Catholic News Service reports that the committee, which met the pope yesterday, is made up of leaders of the world's major Jewish organisations - including the World Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, B'nai B'rith International, the Orthodox Union, the Rabbinical Council of America, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel - as well as representatives from Italy, Latin America and throughout Europe.

Since 1970, the international committee has been an official dialogue partner of the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews.

Pope Benedict said the Second Vatican Council's 1965 declaration, "Nostra Aetate," which included a special section on the Catholic Church's relationship with the Jewish people, affirmed the Catholic belief that "the beginnings of her faith are already to be found in Abraham, Moses and the prophets."

"On the basis of this spiritual patrimony and the teaching of the Gospel, it called for greater mutual understanding and esteem between Christians and Jews and deplored all manifestations of hatred, persecution and anti-Semitism," he said.

"At the very beginning of my pontificate, I wish to assure you that the church remains firmly committed, in her catechesis and in every aspect of her life, to implementing this decisive teaching," the pope said.

Pope Benedict told the 25 rabbis and other leaders that he knows the history of relations between Christians and Jews "has been complex and often painful, yet I am convinced that the 'spiritual patrimony' treasured by Christians and Jews is itself the source of the wisdom and inspiration capable of guiding us toward a future of hope in accordance with the divine plan."


SOURCE
Pope meets with world Jewish leaders, affirms commitment to dialogue (Catholic News Service 9/6/05)

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10 Jun 2005