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Thursday, May 12, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 12 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received a delegation from B'nai B'rith International, ("Sons of the Covenant" in Hebrew), the oldest Jewish service organization in the world. It was initially founded in New York City in 1843.

  The Pope expressed his appreciation for B'nai B'rith's "active participation" in the meeting of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee, held in Paris at the end of February on this 40th anniversary of dialogue between the two religions. " What has happened in these forty years must be seen as a great gift from the Lord and a reason for heartfelt gratitude towards the One who guides our steps with his infinite and eternal wisdom".

  "The Paris meeting affirmed the desire of Catholics and Jews to stand together in meeting the immense challenges facing our communities in a rapidly changing world and, significantly, our shared religious duty to combat poverty, injustice, discrimination and the denial of universal human rights".

  The Holy Father emphasized that "one of the most important things that we can do together is bear common witness to our deeply-held belief that every man and woman is created in the divine image and thus possessed of inviolable dignity. This conviction remains the most secure basis for every effort to defend and promote the inalienable rights of each human being".

  Recalling a recent conversation between delegations of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Benedict XVI stated that, on that occasion, "stress was laid on the need to promote a sound understanding of the role of religion in the life of our present-day societies as a corrective to a purely horizontal, and consequently truncated, vision of the human person and social coexistence".

  "The life and work of all believers", he concluded, "should bear constant witness to the transcendent, point to the invisible realities which lie beyond us, and embody the conviction that a loving, compassionate Providence guides the final outcome of history, no matter how difficult and threatening the journey along the way may sometimes appear".
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