Christians and Jews can work together to challenge the contemporary problems of secularism and disrespect for the human person, Pope Francis told representatives of Judaism in a Vatican audience, CAN reports.
“Humanity needs our joint witness in favor of respect for the dignity of man and woman created in the image and likeness of God, and in favor of peace which is above all God’s gift,” the Bishop of Rome told members of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations on June 24.
“Friendly relations are in a way the basis for the development of a more official dialogue,” he added.
The audience with the Jewish leaders was also attended by Cardinal Kurt Koch, who is president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, as well as head of the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, and members of that office.
The Committee has held 21 meetings with Catholics so far, and Pope Francis said this has “certainly helped to reinforce mutual understanding and the links of friendship” between them. He welcomed their next meeting, which will be held in October in Madrid, which will consider challenges to faith in contemporary society.
In his first meeting as Bishop of Rome with official representatives of Judaism, he noted the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate, on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions, as the Church’s “key point of reference for relations with the Jewish people.”
“In that Council text, the Church recognizes that ‘the beginnings of its faith and election are to be found in the patriarchs, Moses and prophets,’” he stated.
Well, many would argue that the roots of Catholicism, much like all of Christianity, are in murkier waters, where myths about gods enjoying trysts with mortal women in order to issue redeemers for humanity are more common. But ,despite those minor inaccuracies, it appears that the new pope is a friend to the Jews.
For instance, at the audience, Pope Francis emphasized that “due to our common roots, a Christian cannot be antisemitic,” and pointed to the writings of Paul, who “firmly condemned hatred, persecution and all forms of antisemitism” and called the gifts and call of God “irrevocable.”
Well… That’s cherry picking Paul if I ever saw one, but, like I said, the pope appears friendly, let’s not check the dental work of gift horses…