JERUSALEM, MAY 12, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Jews and Christians share a common concern about the spread of moral relativism and the “offences it spawns against the dignity of the human person,” says Benedict XVI.
The Pope reflected with Jewish leaders about Judaism’s common ground with Christianity when he met today with the two chief rabbis of Israel and the Chief Rabbinate.
The Holy Father arrived Monday in Israel for the second leg of his weeklong Holy Land pilgrimage. A visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial was among his first stops.
In an address that repeatedly reiterated the growing ties of friendship between Judaism and the Church, the Bishop of Rome also declared: “Today I have the opportunity to repeat that the Catholic Church is irrevocably committed to the path chosen at the Second Vatican Council for a genuine and lasting reconciliation between Christians and Jews.”
Benedict XVI mentioned the ongoing dialogue between the Delegation of the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s Delegation for Relations with the Catholic Church, thanking them for their work.
He pointed to various issues that the two faiths have in common: “Jews and Christians alike are concerned to ensure respect for the sacredness of human life, the centrality of the family, a sound education for the young, and the freedom of religion and conscience for a healthy society.”
And the Pope said that potential is seen in “shared concern in the face of moral relativism and the offences it spawns against the dignity of the human person.”
Again appealing to human reason as a tool to build unity, he continued: “In approaching the most urgent ethical questions of our day, our two communities are challenged to engage people of good will at the level of reason, while simultaneously pointing to the religious foundations which best sustain lasting moral values.”
Prayer to God
Benedict XVI’s address to the rabbinate came after a visit to the Wailing Wall, the 50-foot fragment of the wall that originally supported the western side of the esplanade of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Like Pope John Paul II did in 2000, the German Pontiff paused for a few moments in silence and left a prayer written on a piece of paper in one of the cracks of the wall.
In the prayer, he beseeched the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: “[S]end your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East, upon the entire human family.”
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