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Pope Francis: “important” that Catholics and Jews affirm religions must not use war and coercion

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

Today it is “most important” that Catholics and Jews affirm that “religions must use moral behavior and religious education – not war, coercion or social pressure – to influence and inspire”. Pope Francis said this in his address to the representatives of the Conference of European Rabbis, the Rabbinical Council of America, and the Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel whom he received in audience at the Vatican today. The Pope in his welcome address referred to an excerpt from the Document “Between Jerusalem and Rome” which was presented to him by the Jewish representatives. “This document – he said – pays particular tribute to the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration Nostra Aetate, whose fourth chapter represents the ‘Magna Charta’ of our dialogue with the Jewish world. Indeed, the ongoing implementation of the Council’s Declaration has enabled our relations to become increasingly friendly and fraternal”. A great friend of the Jews since the time he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the Pope noted how “in recent decades, we have been able to draw closer to one another and to engage in an effective and fruitful dialogue. We have grown in mutual understanding and deepened our bonds of friendship”. The Declaration presented to Pope Francis today “does not hide, however, the theological differences that exist between our faith traditions. All the same, – the Pope stressed – it expresses a firm resolve to collaborate more closely, now and in the future”. Pope Francis reiterated the invitation made in the Document to Catholics to be “partners, close allies, friends and brothers in our mutual quest for a better world blessed with peace, social justice and security”. The Pope then expressed his “best wishes for the Jewish New Year which will begin in a few weeks”.

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