.- In an important sign of openness toward continued dialogue between Jews and Christians, Pope Benedict XVI invited the chief rabbi of Rome to his installation Sunday. The rabbi’s spokesman, Riccardo Pacifici, said Rabbi Riccardo di Segni received the invitation Thursday. "The message that arrived brought with it surprise, pleasure and hope for the future," he said.
The Italian news agency ANSA reported that Benedict's letter read: "In announcing to you my election and my solemn inauguration of my Pontificate ... I confide in the help of the Almighty to continue the dialogue and strengthen the collaboration with the sons and daughters of the Jewish people."
However, the rabbi will not attend the ceremony, which falls on the first day of Passover. It is "obviously not as an act of impoliteness, but to fulfill Jewish practices," Pacifici said.