VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI greeted some 50 Jewish representatives who participated in the first International Judeo-Christian Symposium, organized by the Focolare Movement.
The Pope greeted and spoke with the group, which included rabbis, at the end of today’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
The Jewish representatives participated in the symposium, held in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.
The more than 100 participants in the symposium, held on the theme “Love of God, Love of Neighbor, in the Jewish and Christian Traditions,” came from a number of countries, including Israel and the United States.
Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, addressed the symposium Tuesday to review the “amazing” developments in recent years in Judeo-Christian dialogue.
After recalling the steps taken by Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Kasper said: “I have known Pope Ratzinger for over 40 years. He has written many essays on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. He has made important theological contributions. He carries this dialogue in his heart.”
The cardinal pointed out challenges for the future of the dialogue.
“We must do everything possible to get to know one another,” he said. Both sides must also deepen reciprocal theological research, and cooperate in helping others, particularly those afflicted by poverty, and promote the values of life and the family, the cardinal said.
Among the Jewish participants in the symposium were Rabbi Jack Bemporad, director of the Center for Interreligious Understanding, and Rabbi David Rosen, international director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee.