March 21, 2000
volume 11, no. 57
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Roman Rabbi Elio Toaff Comments on Papal Pilgrimage to Holy Land

    VATICAN CITY, MAR 20 (ZENIT.org).- "Very satisfied and pleased," were the feelings inspired in Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff of Rome's Synagogue, by John Paul II's pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The Rabbi's comments appear in an article in the Italian newspaper "Avvenire." The Rabbi said it is a "further and significant step in relations between the Church and the Jewish people."

    "The condemnation of any form of anti-Semitism, the sincere repentance for the faults of the past regarding the 'elder brothers,' coupled with other steps of great moral and spiritual value, like the visit to the principal temple in Rome, the first of a Pope to a synagogue, the recognition of the State of Israel, and now the visit to the Holy Land in the Jubilee Year, indelibly mark the new relation between the Church and Judaism, which this great Pontiff has emphasized, far from any expression of hatred or aversion, above all through reciprocal respect and the awareness of our great common spiritual heritage."

    The Rabbi said, however, that much remains to be done, both on the part of Christians as well as Jews of good will, and the Jewish community still hopes for much from the Church as, for example, "a condemnation, free from any ambiguity, for the culpable silences in face of the Holocaust, acknowledgement of the special religious and political value that Jews give to Jerusalem, capital of its first national State, and seat of the Shrine to which Jews all over the world have always remained spiritually united, even after its destruction."

    But Rabbi Toaff also recognized all that has been accomplished, thanks to this Pope "the Pontiff of renewed dialogue between the Church and Judaism." Because of this, he added, "I accompany him with emotion and hope on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, pronouncing over him the biblical blessing: 'Blessed is the he who comes in the name of God.' " ZE00032008


March 21, 2000
volume 11, no. 57

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