ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS
Thursday, 16 March 2006
Distinguished members of the American Jewish Committee,
I gladly welcome you to the Vatican, and I trust that this meeting will further encourage your efforts to increase friendship between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church.
The recent celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Declaration of the Second Vatican Council Nostra Aetate has increased our shared desire to know each other better and to develop a dialogue characterised by mutual respect and love. Indeed, Jews and Christians have a rich common patrimony. In many ways this distinguishes our relationship as unique among the religions of the world. The Church can never forget that chosen people with whom God entered into a holy covenant (cf. Nostra Aetate, 4).
Judaism, Christianity and Islam believe in the one God, Creator of heaven and earth. It follows, therefore, that all three monotheistic religions are called to cooperate with one another for the common good of humanity, serving the cause of justice and peace in the world. This is especially important today when particular attention must be given to teaching respect for God, for religions and their symbols, and for holy sites and places of worship. Religious leaders have a responsibility to work for reconciliation through genuine dialogue and acts of human solidarity.
Dear friends, I pray that your visit today may confirm you in your endeavours to build bridges of understanding across all barriers. Upon all of you I invoke the divine gifts of strength and comfort.
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