Pope Addresses Latin American Jewish Congress

Encourages Continued Dialogue, Cooperation Between the Two Faiths

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By Junno Arocho

VATICAN CITY, MAY 10, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI received in audience a delegation from the Latin American Jewish Congress in the Vatican today. 

The delegation, led by its president, Jack Terpins, was comprised of representatives from 12 Latin American countries. The Pope remarked on the significance of the meeting being that it was the first time that a Jewish delegation from Latin America has visited the Pontiff.

"Throughout Latin America there are vibrant Jewish communities, especially in Argentina and Brazil, which live side by side with a great majority of Catholics. In the years since the Second Vatican Council, relations between Jews and Catholics have been strengthened also in your region, and various initiatives continue to deepen our mutual friendship," he noted.

Terpins noted that the relationship between Jews and Catholics in the region “is an example not only of the positive coexistence, but also of friendship and cooperation."

During the audience, the Pontiff referred to the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, which will be celebrated in October, and reaffirmed that the declaration Nostra Aetate "remains the charter and guide in our efforts to promote greater understanding, respect and cooperation between our two communities."

"The Declaration not only took up an unambiguous position against every form of anti-Semitism; it also laid the groundwork for a theological reassessment of the Church’s relationship with Judaism and it expressed confidence that an appreciation of the spiritual heritage shared by Jews and Christians would lead to ever greater mutual understanding and esteem," the Pope said. 

The Holy Father concluded his audience expressing his hope that the visit would encourage continued dialogue and cooperation between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church.

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