Aide: Pope's Visit to Rome Synagogue "Memorable"

Says It Lays Foundation for Progress in Dialogue

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 25, 2010 ( Benedict XVI’s visit to Rome’s Synagogue on earlier this month laid the foundation for further development in relations between Jews and Christians, says a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuity Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See’s press office, called the Jan. 17 visit «memorable» during the most recent edition of the weekly Vatican Television program «Octava Dies.»

The priest said that the presence of the Bishop of Rome in the synagogue was «a further step on the ‘irrevocable’ path of dialogue, fraternity and friendship between Jews and the Church that was opened by the Second Vatican Council.»

In particular he noted the points that the Pope touched on with respect «more to the future than to the past.»

The Holy Father, Father Lombardi said, explained that «the world is created by God and entrusted to man’s care; the 10 Commandments — the Decalogue — are light to distinguish between good and evil, the true from the false, the just from the unjust, consistently with the well-formed conscience of every human person.»

«[They are] words that are both very ancient and very contemporary,» the Jesuit noted «A man created by God must be a man who is responsible for creation before God; a man who is helped to know the difference between good and evil can find the way even in the confusion of a pluralism that tends to lose every point of reference.»

«The wise people of Judaism know this well and certainly must have been glad to hear such a clear invitation back to so firm a common foundation,» he added.

«We will continue to discuss the past too and to confront the difficulties along the way to a mutual understanding,» said Father Lombardi, «but what we have in common from the beginning is as great and stable as the heavens, and our common task of service to creation and the human family must see us in agreement.»

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