Upon receiving a delegation from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Pope Benedict spoke of the importance of dialogue between the religions and expressed his hope that the groups will continue to work for peace.
Addressing the delegations in English at midday, the Holy Father first recalled the importance of the dialogue that the two groups have been engaged in since 2000, after John Paul II’s March visit to the Holy Land.
Since then, the Pope continued, “not only has the friendship between the commission and the Chief Rabbinate increased, but you have also been able to reflect on important themes which are relevant to the Jewish and Christian traditions alike."
Over the past seven meetings between the Chief Rabbinate and the Vatican commission, the two groups have discussed a wide range of mutual interests. “You have reflected on the sanctity of life, family values, social justice and ethical conduct, the importance of the Word of God expressed in Holy Scriptures for society and education, the relationship between religious and civil authority and the freedom of religion and conscience," the Pontiff pointed out.
Referring then to his own approaching pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the Pope noted his intention "to pray especially for the precious gift of unity and peace both within the region and for the world-wide human family."
Wrapping up his address, the Holy Father expressed the hope that his visit may "also help to deepen the dialogue of the Church with the Jewish people so that Jews and Christians and also Muslims may live in peace and harmony in this Holy Land."