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Jewish-Catholic dialogue is ‘just coming of age,’ says Pope

Catholic World News - May 26, 2014

Pope Francis paid a courtesy visit to the two chief rabbis of Israel, Rabbi David Lau (Ashkenazi) and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef (Sephardi), and said that Jewish-Catholic dialogue, “in terms of the Jewish tradition of the Bar Mitzvah, it is just coming of age.”

The Pope also expressed the hope that “there will be a continued and even growing interest in knowledge of Christianity” among Jews.

“I am convinced that the progress which has been made in recent decades in the relationship between Jews and Catholics has been a genuine gift of God, one of those great works for which we are called to bless his holy name,” Pope Francis said at the meeting, which took place at Heichal Shlomo, next to the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem. “A gift of God, yes, but one which would not have come about without the efforts of so many courageous and generous people, Jews and Christians alike.”

“We need to do more than simply establish reciprocal and respectful relations on a human level: we are also called, as Christians and Jews, to reflect deeply on the spiritual significance of the bond existing between us,” the Pope continued, adding:

On the part of Catholics, there is a clear intention to reflect deeply on the significance of the Jewish roots of our own faith. I trust that, with your help, on the part of Jews too, there will be a continued and even growing interest in knowledge of Christianity, also in this holy land to which Christians trace their origins. This is especially to be hoped for among young people.

“Mutual understanding of our spiritual heritage, appreciation for what we have in common and respect in matters on which we disagree: all these can help to guide us to a closer relationship, an intention which we put in God’s hands,” Pope Francis concluded. “Together, we can make a great contribution to the cause of peace; together, we can bear witness, in this rapidly changing world, to the perennial importance of the divine plan of creation; together, we can firmly oppose every form of anti-Semitism and all other forms of discrimination.”

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