ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER
26 March 1998
With pleasure I welcome the members of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee as you gather in Rome for your sixteenth meeting. Your Committee has contributed much to improving relations between our two communities by fostering theological reflection and dialogue on significant religious and social issues. The Joint Declaration issued as a result of your last session noted important convergences in Catholic and Jewish understandings of the family, the foundation of society. You have explored the biblical vision of God's creation, with its consequences for an appreciation of the dignity of the human person and of our responsibility for the natural environment.
The progress which you have already made shows the immense promise held out by continuing dialogue between Jews and Catholics. But your work is also an impressive sign of hope to a world marked by conflict and division, all too often fomented in the name of economic or political gain. A commitment to authentic dialogue, rooted in a sincere love of truth and an openness to all the members of the human family, remains the first and indispensable path to the reconciliation and peace which the world needs. When believers look at events in the conviction that all things are ultimately governed by Divine Providence, they will surely grow closer in that blessed harmony which the Psalmist likens to the precious oil poured out on the head of Aaron, or the dew which falls on the mountains of Zion (cf. Ps 133).
Dear friends, may your present meeting discover ever more effective ways to make known and appreciated by Catholics and Jews alike the significant advances in mutual understanding and cooperation which have taken place between our two communities. Upon you and your important work I cordially invoke abundant divine blessings.
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