In a private audience with the American Jewish Institute, Pope Francis expressed his hope that Jewish and Christian communities continue to engage in fruitful dialogue that is ”marked by the awareness of our relationship with God.”
The Holy Father began his address by thanking the members of the delegation for their contribution to maintaining “dialogue and fraternity” between Jews and Catholics.
Reflecting on next year’s 50th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council declaration which refers to the Jewish people as “our elder brothers”, the Pope said the document allows for a reflection on the spiritual patrimony that unites the two faiths and the foundation of dialogue.
“This foundation is theological, and not simply an expression of our desire for reciprocal respect and esteem,” he said. “Therefore, it is important that our dialogue be always profoundly marked by the awareness of our relationship with God.”</p>
The Pope went on to say that serving the poor and those marginalized is another way in which Jews and Christians can cooperate to build a better world. Doing so is a “God given duty”, he told the delegation, adding that “it is a true religious obligation.”
A final way of collaboration between Jews and Christians, the Pope continued, is in transmitting to new generations the heritage of mutual knowledge and friendship. The Holy Father expressed his hope that the study of Judeo-Christian relations would flourish in seminaries and centers of lay Catholic formations.
“I am similarly hopeful that a desire for an understanding of Christianity may grow among young Rabbis and the Jewish community,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded his address by asking for the delegation’s prayers, particularly for his upcoming visit to Jerusalem.
“Accompany me, please, with your prayers, so that this pilgrimage may bring forth the fruits of communion, hope and peace. Shalom!” the Pope said.