Pope Benedict XVI met today with members of the New York based Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The Holy Father told the Jewish group that the challenge of interreligious dialogue is to build relationships which go beyond tolerance to authentic respect.
The Pope welcomed the group, recalling the many meetings between the ADL and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, and affirming his own desire to continue meeting representative groups of the Jewish people.
“In our world today,” the Pope began, “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,” the Holy Father said.
“Indeed,” he continued, “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.”
Recalling the words of “Nostra Aetate,” the Church’s document on relations with non-Christian religions, Pope Benedict recalled the “Jewish roots” of the Christian faith and the need to create new bonds of friendship and collaboration between the Church and the Jewish people.
The document, he continued, “affirms in particular 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 (cf. No. 4).”
The Pontiff said the positive advances of dialogue experienced since “Nostra Aetate” was published in 1965 must continue, “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,” the Holy Father said.”
“May the Eternal One, our Father in heaven, bless every effort to eliminate from our world any misuse of religion as an excuse for hatred or violence. May He bless all of you, your families and your communities,” the Pope concluded.