Pope Commits to Advancing Catholic-Jewish Dialogue

Commemorates 40th Anniversary of “Nostra Aetate”

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 28, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI appealed for greater friendship and collaboration between Jews and Christians, and committed his pontificate to work toward that goal.

The appeal is at the heart of a letter sent to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, on the 40th anniversary of the publication of the Second Vatican Council declaration “Nostra Aetate.”

That document on the Church’s relations with non-Christian religions “opened up a new era of relations with the Jewish People and offered the basis for a sincere theological dialogue,” wrote the Pope.

The Holy Father thanked “all those who, despite a complex and often painful history, and especially after the tragic experience of the Shoah, which was inspired by a neo-pagan racist ideology, worked courageously to foster reconciliation and improved understanding between Christians and Jews.”

The Pope committed himself personally to further mutual understanding: “As we look back over four decades of fruitful contacts between the Church and the Jewish People, we need to renew our commitment to the work that yet remains to be done.

“In this regard, from the first days of my Pontificate and in a particular way during my recent visit to the Synagogue in Cologne, I have expressed my own firm determination to walk in the footsteps traced by my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II.”

Future hopes

“The Jewish-Christian dialogue must continue to enrich and deepen the bonds of friendship which have developed, while preaching and catechesis must be committed to ensuring that our mutual relations are presented in the light of the principles set forth by the council,” wrote the Pope.

“As we look to the future, I express my hope that both in theological dialogue and in everyday contacts and collaboration, Christians and Jews will offer an ever more compelling shared witness to the one God and his commandments, the sanctity of life, the promotion of human dignity, the rights of the family and the need to build a world of justice, reconciliation and peace for future generations,” he said.

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