10/30/2008, 00.00
VATICAN
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Pope: Christian-Jewish dialogue “fruitful”, now it is time to accept and respect differences

In receiving members of the International Jewish Committee on Inter-religious Consultations, Benedict XVI highlights the need for Christians and Jews to expand their understanding of what they have in common.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – For 30 years Catholics and Jews “have had regular and fruitful contacts” which now require them to expand their understanding of what they have in common but also respect their differences whilst recognising each other’s “identity” and “gifts”.

In today’s troubled world, “so frequently marked by poverty, violence and exploitation, dialogue between cultures and religions must more and more be seen as a sacred duty incumbent upon all those who are committed to building a world worthy of man.

With such words Benedict XVI reasserted the importance of meetings between different religions, adding however that the “ability to accept and respect one another, and to speak the truth in love, is essential for overcoming differences, preventing misunderstandings and avoiding needless confrontations.”

The Holy Father stressed the importance of dialogue and its foundations in a brief address to the members of the International Jewish Committee on Inter-religious Consultations whom he received in the Vatican today.

First of all, he referred to the Declaration Nostra Aetate issued during the Second Vatican Council,which firmly condemned all forms of anti-Semitism,” and represents a “significant milestone in the long history of Catholic-Jewish relations and a summons to a renewed theological understanding of the relations between the Church and the Jewish People.”

Focusing on inter-faith dialogue as such Benedict XVI said that “Christians today are increasingly conscious of the spiritual patrimony they share with the people of the Torah, the people chosen by God in his inexpressible mercy, a patrimony that calls for greater mutual appreciation, respect and love.

In turn “Jews too are challenged to discover what they have in common with all who believe in the Lord, the God of Israel, who first revealed himself through his powerful and life-giving word.

As the Psalmist reminds us,” said the Pontiff, “God’s word is a lamp and a light to our path; it keeps us alive and gives us new life. That word spurs us to bear common witness to God’s love, mercy and truth. This is a vital service in our own time, threatened by the loss of the spiritual and moral values which guarantee human dignity, solidarity, justice and peace.”

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