Pope Addresses Jewish Group

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Reaffirming the Second Vatican Council’s teaching on Christianity’s special relationship with Judaism, Pope Benedict XVI said Catholic-Jewish dialogue is “crucial for the future of our human family.”

“In a world increasingly threatened by the loss of spiritual and moral values, which are those that can guarantee respect for human dignity and lasting peace,” dialogue, friendship and collaboration can “give prophetic witness to the power of the truth of God, justice and reconciling love for the good of all mankind,” the pope said.

Meeting May 10 with a delegation from the Latin American Jewish Congress, the pope also spoke about the 50th anniversary in October of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

He said “Nostra Aetate,” the council’s declaration on the church’s relationship with non-Christian religions, “remains the basis and guide in our efforts to promote greater understanding, respect and cooperation between our two communities.”

The document, he said, “not only took a clear stand against all forms of anti-Semitism, but also laid the foundations for a new theological evaluation of the relationship between the church and Judaism and expressed confidence that the appreciation of the spiritual heritage shared by Jews and Christians would lead to greater understanding and mutual respect.”

Thanking God for improved Catholic-Jewish relations around the world, Pope Benedict said the communities must continue their commitment to dialogue because “much remains to be done in overcoming the burdens of the past, in promoting better relations between our two communities and in responding to the challenges facing more and more believers in the world today.”

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