A few decades of respectful Catholic-Jewish dialogue pale in comparison to “19 centuries of Christian anti-Judaism,” Pope Francis said, so Catholics must continue to ask forgiveness and forge new bonds of respect and friendship with the Jewish community.
‘We must work with greater intensity to ask pardon and repair the damage,’ the pope said in an introduction to a new Italian book of Christian and Jewish commentaries on passages from the first five books of the Bible, which are known collectively as the Torah or Pentateuch.
Pope Francis said the volume of commentaries, The Bible of Friendship, is an important tool for helping Catholics recognise the Jewish roots of their faith and for promoting concrete Catholic-Jewish co-operation in helping others.
‘It is of vital importance for Christians to discover and foster knowledge of the Jewish tradition in order to understand themselves more authentically,’ the pope said, and studying the Bible is an essential part of that effort.
Reading the Hebrew Scriptures together, he said, helps people discover the richness of the word of God. ‘The common objective will be to witness together to the love of the Father throughout the world.’
Picture: Rabbi Abraham Skorka of Buenos Aires, centre, and Pope Francis are pictured after visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem on 26th May 2014. The pope has written the introduction to The Bible of Friendship, an Italian book of Christian and Jewish commentaries on the first five books of the Bible. Rabbi Skorka wrote one of the commentaries. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).