10/12/2006, 00.00
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Not just tolerance but real respect between Jews, Christians and Muslims, says Pope

In receiving a delegation from the Anti-Defamation League, Benedict XVI said that humanitarian and social engagement provides believers from the three monotheistic religions many fields in which they "can and must" cooperate. The Church condemns anti-Semitism.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The need to further deepen mutual understanding among religions to build "relationships not just of tolerance but of authentic respect" and the conviction that humanitarian and social engagement provides Jews, Christians and Muslims many fields in which they "can and must" cooperate are views which Pope Benedict XVI mentioned in a brief address he made to a delegation from the Anti-Defamation League he received in audience today.

Speaking to the representatives of the Jewish group, the Pope reiterated the Church's opposition to any and all forms of anti-Semitism. "In our world today," he noted, "religious, political, academic and economic leaders are being seriously challenged to improve the level of dialogue between peoples and between cultures. To do this effectively requires a deepening of our mutual understanding and a shared dedication to building a society of ever greater justice and peace. We need to know each other better and, on the strength of that mutual discovery, to build relationships not just of tolerance but of authentic respect. Indeed, Jews, Christians and Muslims share many common convictions, and there are numerous areas of humanitarian and social engagement in which we can and must cooperate."

Referring to the Second Vatican Council's Declaration Nostra Aetate Benedict XVI said that "the Jewish roots of Christianity oblige us to overcome the conflicts of the past and to create new bonds of friendship and collaboration" and that "the Church deplores all forms of hatred or persecution directed against the Jews and all displays of anti-Semitism at any time and from any source."

The four decades since the Declaration, the Pope said, "have brought many positive advances, and they have also witnessed some early steps, perhaps still too tentative, towards a more open conversation on religious themes. It is precisely at this level of frank exchange and dialogue that we will find the basis and the motivation for a solid and fruitful relationship."

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