The chief rabbis of Israel received by Benedict XVI

Source: FSSPX News

On September 15, 2005, the pope received in audience the chief rabbis of Israel, Shlomo Moshe Amar and Yona Metzgter, at Castel Gandolfo on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the conciliar declaration Nostra Aetate. These men gave a press conference at Ciampino airport, while the Holy See refrained from making any announcement after the audience.

“We are profoundly hurt by the arson and pillaging [by the Palestinians] which took place in the synagogues [of the old Jewish colonies in the Gaza strip]. The world, and more particularly the pope, must make its voice heard in condemning every act of this sort, with regard to any holy site. Today, it’s a synagogue, tomorrow it will be a mosque or a church”.

The two chief rabbis of Israel asked of Benedict XVI that October 28, the anniversary of the proclamation Nostra Aetate, become in the Church’s calendar a day consecrated to the memory of the Jews through the study of this text. Then they renewed the invitation of Ariel Sharon to the pope to visit Israel.

“The pope told us he would attempt to respond in a positive manner to at least part of these requests”, and indicated that he would consider this visit “as a supplementary step in the process of deepening religious relations between Catholics and Jews”. He recalled, elsewhere, “the ever-new challenges” with which the Christian communities of the Holy Land have to deal. “More than ever, may the forces of evil never again be able to gain power and may future generations, with the help of God, be able to construct a more just and peaceful world, in which all peoples have equal rights and feel at home. We must continue to insist on the fact that religion and peace go together. Religious faith and its religious practice cannot be separated from the engagement to defend the image of God existing in each human being”.

In addition, Benedict XVI specified: “We remain in expectation of the completion of the Fundamental Accords on questions which are still open”. Thus recalling that the negotiations between the Holy See and Israel still have not resulted in the conclusion of a juridical-financial agreement on ecclesiastical property, fiscal exemptions for the revenue of commercial activities by Christian communities and the juridical status of the Catholic Church in Israel.