VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis greeted an international group dedicated to Jewish-Catholic dialogue Wednesday, calling dialogue “the way better to understand one another.”
“I offer you my encouragement, for dialogue is the way … to work together in building a climate not only of tolerance but also of respect between religions,” the pope said May 15 in St. Peter’s Square while greeting the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee, which is holding its 24th meeting.
“From the promulgation of Nostra aetate until now, Jewish-Catholic dialogue has borne good fruit” Francis maintained.
He said that “we share a rich spiritual patrimony that can and must be ever more esteemed and appreciated as we grow in mutual understanding, fraternity and shared commitment on behalf of others.”
The pope urged the committee to discuss “timely issues such as our approach to refugees and how best to help them, the fight against the troubling regrowth of anti-Semitism, and concern for the persecution of Christians in various parts of the world.”
“Our strength is the gentle strength of encounter, not of the extremism emerging in certain quarters today, which leads only to conflict,” he reflected. “One never errs in seeking dialogue.”
Francis quoted from Proverbs: “deceit is in the mind of those who plan evil, but those who counsel peace have joy”, and concluded: “I pray that your gathering may be an encounter in peace and for peace. May the blessing of the Most High be with you, grant you the tenacity of gentleness and the courage of patience. Shalom!”