Pope joins with Jewish leaders in condemning racism and anti-Semitism

Jewish leaders have supported another call by Pope Benedict for the elimination of the misuse of religion to justify faith and violence during a meeting with an American Jewish group that fights racism and anti-Semitism.

"May the Eternal One, our Father in heaven, bless every effort to eliminate from our world any misuse of religion as an excuse for hatred or violence," Benedict told a delegation of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the International Herald Tribune reports.

Pope Benedict told the delegation that while Catholic-Jewish relations have greatly improved over recent years, initial steps "toward a more open conversation on religious themes" have so far been too tentative.

"It is precisely at this level of frank exchange and dialogue that we will find the basis and the motivation for a solid and fruitful relationship," he said.

The aim of such dialogue, he said earlier in the speech, is "to build relationships not just of tolerance but of authentic respect."

Abraham Foxman, national director of the ADL, said his group supports Benedict's desire for honest interfaith dialogue, particularly when it comes to relations with Muslims.

"If we really feel our faith is the only one that is right, how can we still have dialogue? The answer is that we must believe we have a truth not the truth. As long as we believe that we can respect other truths," Foxman told The Associated Press in a telephone interview after the meeting. "This is the dialogue we need to have, both Jews and Christians, with the Muslims."

In his speech Thursday, the pope also reiterated his condemnation of anti-Semitism, saying that "the Church deplores all forms of hatred or persecution directed against the Jews and all displays of anti-Semitism at any time and from any source."

Foxman said he had asked Benedict to be "a strong, constant voice against anti-Semitism," adding that the pope responded privately: "I will always be available for you as a voice against anti-Semitism."

Pope condemns use of religion as an excuse for hatred and violence (International Herald Tribune (12/10/06)
Anti-Defamation League (Media Release, 12/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Anti-Defamation League

Pope meets with Jewish leaders to affirm dialogue (CathNews, 10/6/05)
Gibson says The Passion is not about blame for Crucifixion (CathNews, 19/2/04)

13 Oct 2006