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Prelate Marks Rosh Hashana With “Elder Brothers”

Cardinal Bergolgio Celebrates Jewish New Year

BUENOS AIRES, SEPT. 11, 2007 ( In the Benei Tikvá Slijot Synagogue to celebrate the Jewish new year, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio recalled that God invites us to ask forgiveness for sin.

The archbishop of Buenos Aires participated in the Rosh Hashana celebration Saturday, saying that he was there to examine his heart, “like a pilgrim, together with you, my elder brothers.”

“Today, here in this synagogue, we are made newly aware of the fact that we are a people on a journey and we place ourselves in God’s presence,” the cardinal said. “We must look at him and let him look at us, to examine our heart in his presence and to ask ourselves if we are walking blamelessly.”

Cardinal Bergoglio recalled that the Lord “forgives and is patient.” But he admitted that “today we will surely find things to reprimand ourselves for and situations in which we have not walked in his presence.”

“We are asked to be loyal in recognizing those things, to accept that it is so,” he continued. “But in the end we are asked not to hide these, our errors, this meanness, this sin in its totality […] but to place them in front of God’s eyes — that Lord who forgives and is patient.

“And we must do this with courage and trust, knowing that his faithfulness involves infinite tenderness, aware that it is he who invites us to draw near to spread that faithfulness-tenderness in abundant mercy. Even if your sins are scarlet, they will become white as snow, he promises us; even if they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.”

Rabbi Abraham Skorka explained the meaning of the work “teshuva” — contrition, return to God. He said Maimonides, the 12th-century Jewish philosopher and physician, interpreted it in this way: “Where you have erred, if a similar situation presents itself, try to not commit the same error.”

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