November 26, 2013 – New York -- AJC expressed warm appreciation for the affirmation by Pope Francis of the unique Catholic-Jewish relationship, in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”). The 224-page document, his first Apostolic Exhortation, covers a number of issues, including interreligious dialogue.
“His emphasis on the ongoing Divine Presence in the life of the Jewish People and on the importance of the ‘values of Judaism’ for Christians, is particularly significant in further advancing the historic transformation in the Catholic Church's approach towards the Jewish people," said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC's International Director of Interreligious Affairs, who has met with Pope Francis four times since he became pontiff.
The Pope praised the current state of Catholic-Jewish relations, while bemoaning the treatment of Jews in the past. ““The friendship which has grown between us makes us bitterly and sincerely regret the terrible persecutions which they have endured, and continue to endure, especially those that have involved Christians,” Pope Francis wrote.
Rosen also praised “the Pope’s emphasis on the importance of interreligious dialogue to promote peace in the world and as a means to ‘learn to accept others and their differen(ces),’ as powerful encouragement for greater respect and harmony in our world.”