Pope vows to keep improving relations with Jews

9th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 June 2005, VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI welcomed at the Vatican on Thursday a delegation of international Jewish leaders and vowed to continue improving relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the world's Jews.

9 June 2005

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI welcomed at the Vatican on Thursday a delegation of international Jewish leaders and vowed to continue improving relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the world's Jews.

Addressing the delegation, the 78-year-old pontiff noted that the meeting was taking place 40 years after a declaration in which the church called for greater mutual understanding and esteem between Christians and Jews and deplored "all manifestations of hatred, persecution and anti-Semitism".

"At the very beginning of my pontificate, I wish to assure you that the church remains firmly committed, in her catechesis and in every aspect of her life, to implementing this decisive teaching," Pope Benedict said.

Benedict recalled the steps taken by his predecessors Pope Paul VI and "in a particular way", Pope John Paul II, towards improving relations with the Jewish people.

"It is my intention to continue on this path," Benedict said.

John Paul II in 1986 became the first pope ever to visit a synagogue, that of Rome.

Church sources have said German-born Benedict may follow in his example and visit the synagogue of Cologne during his trip to Germany in August for a Catholic World Youth Day.

The Cologne synagogue is highly symbolic as it was rebuilt after having been destroyed by the Nazis in 1938.

Addressing his visitors on Thursday, Benedict recalled the "complex and often painful" history of relations between the Catholic and Jewish communities.

He said remembering the Holocaust was "a moral imperative and a source of purification" towards reconciliation, justice, respect for human dignity and peace.

Thursday's audience at the Vatican was attended by, among others, World Jewish Congress president Edgar Bronfman and Rabbi Israel Singer, head of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations.

DPA

Subject: German news

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