10/13/2009, 00.00
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Pope to visit Rome synagogue on January 17

Benedict XVI will visit 23 years after the historic visit of John Paul II. It is not the current Pope’s first visit to a Jewish temple: in 2005 in Cologne he condemned anti-Semitism and called for dialogue between Jews and Christians to "arrive at a shared interpretation of disputed historical questions."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Benedict XVI will visit the Synagogue of Rome on the afternoon of Sunday, January 17, 2010, to "meet with the Jewish Community, on the 21st Day for the deepening and development of dialogue between Catholics and Jews, and Feast of "Moed Lead", which coincides with that date".

The announcement, released today by the Vatican, was long awaited, since in January 2006, the chief rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, extended the invitation to visit the synagogue. The wish expressed by the head of Rome's Jewish community was that the meeting could take place on the twentieth anniversary of the "longest journey" that John Paul II made on April 13, 1986, when he went to the same temple. That was a historic visit, the first by a pope to a synagogue since the apostolic times, and will remain linked to the call of "Elder brothers" that the Polish pope made to the Jews.  

For Benedict XVI it will not be his first time as pope to visit a Jewish temple. He already did so on August 19, 2005, at the World Youth Day in Cologne. On that occasion, among other things, Benedict XVI spoke of the "Jewish roots of Christianity," quoted the Nostra Aetate, where it states that the Catholic Church "decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at any time and by anyone" and added:" We need to know one another much more and much better. Consequently I would encourage sincere and trustful dialogue between Jews and Christians, for only then can we arrive at a shared interpretation of disputed historical questions, and, most importantly, make progress in the evaluation, from a theological viewpoint, of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity".


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