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Tuesday, January 17, 2012


VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Today in Italy marks the Day for Dialogue between Catholics and Jews, an initiative launched by the Italian Episcopal Conference in 1990 with the aim of increasing mutual understanding among the members of the two religions.

  In an interview with Vatican Radio Rabbi Giuseppe Laras, president emeritus of the Italian Rabbinic Assembly, explained that the aim of the Day "is to simplify and intensify Jewish-Christian dialogue. To this end, Jews and Catholics meet to reflect especially on those themes we can confront together, such as the search for peace and mutual understanding after two thousand years of misinterpretation and distressing events. Thus, both the Catholic and Jewish worlds await this Day with high expectations, because the more dialogue is consolidated the more the risk of anti-Semitism diminishes".

  Some years ago the Italian Episcopal Conference and the Italian Rabbinic Assembly agreed to dedicate the Days to the Ten Commandments, and the theme for 2012 is "Thou shalt not kill". Rabi Laras commented: "The command not to kill is vital for men and women, irrespective of their membership of one religion or the other. It is vital to respect and honour human life in all its sacredness and uniqueness. This is an important theme for our own times, in which throughout the world respect for human life is often ignored and violated".

  For his part, Fr. Gino Battaglia, director of the National Office for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Dialogue, observed that "the rich Jewish tradition, developed through millennia of studying the Law, makes a fundamental contribution. Yet the validity of this Commandment is evident, and not only in the literal sense of murder being a crime. I am thinking, for example, of the battle to abolish the death penalty, the problem of widespread violence, ... and of respect for life. In this sense, Jesus-Christian dialogue takes concrete form in its commitment to society and to the world".
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