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Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Pope's message on centenary of Rome synagogue
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 Yesterday afternoon, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general of Rome, read a message from the Pope to the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, during a commemorative service for the centenary of the synagogue in the Italian capital. The Holy Father was also represented in the ceremony by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism. In the message, the Holy Father sent special greetings to the former Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff, who received him during his historic visit made on April 13, 1986. "This event," he writes, "remains instilled in my memory and in my heart as a symbol of the newness that has characterized in the last few decades relations between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church, after periods which were sometimes difficult and sad." John Paul II said that despite the fact that the Catholic Church and Vatican Council II rejected "clearly and definitively anti-semitism in all its expressions, it is not enough to deplore and condemn hostility against the Jewish people; it is necessary to also foster friendship, esteem and fraternal relations with them." Recalling the victims of the Holocaust, and especially members of the Jewish community of Rome who in October of 1943 were taken to Auschwitz, he said: "May their memory lead us to work as brothers." He added: "It is necessary to recall all those Christians who acted with courage, also in the city of Rome, to help persecuted Jews, offering them their solidarity and help, sometimes even risking their own lives. We also cannot forget, along with official pronouncements, the Apostolic See's action, often hidden, which in many ways helped Jews in danger, something which has been recognized by their representatives also." The Pope indicated that the Church has deplored the mistakes of its daughters and sons and has asked for forgiveness "for their responsibility related to the plagues of anti-semitism." In addition, he recalled the homage he paid to the victims of the Shoah at Yad Vashem in March 2000. He wrote: "Unfortunately, thinking about the Holy Land causes concern and sadness in our hearts for the violence that continues in that area, for the great quantity of innocent blood shed by Israelis and Palestinians. Therefore, today we want to direct to the Eternal God a fervent prayer so that enmity gives way to clear awareness of the bonds that link them and to the responsibility that weighs on everyone's shoulders." "We still have a long way to go: the God of justice and peace, of mercy and reconciliation, calls us to collaborate without vacillating in our modern world, scarred by conflict and hostility. If we know how to unite our hearts and hands in order to respond to the divine call, the light of the Eternal One will draw close to illuminate all peoples, showing us the ways of peace, of Shalom. We would like to go along these paths with one heart." Source: VIS
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