The Pontiff’s Legacy Includes Advances in Interfaith Dialogue

April 2, 2005

Source: Chicago Tribune,1,973041.story?coll=chi-news-hed

On April 2, 2005 the Chicago Tribune reported, " When John Paul II stepped across the threshold of the Great Synagogue of Rome on April 13, 1986, it marked a milestone analogous to Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon. If not quite 'a giant leap for mankind,' it certainly was for the two faiths involved. For almost 2,000 years, the popes and the heart of Rome's Jewish community literally had been neighbors. Only a short distance separates Vatican City and Temple Israeletico. Yet until then, no pope had ever entered the synagogue... Just as remarkable as John Paul II's visit were his words on that historic occasion. 'The Jewish religion is not 'extrinsic' to us, but in a certain way is 'intrinsic' to our own religion,' the pope said. 'With Judaism, therefore, we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion.' In this ecumenical age, and especially in a pluralistic society like America's, that idea might seem unremarkable. But given past relations between Catholics and Jews, the pope's pronouncement was revolutionary."