The Pope’s Interfaith Outreach Symbolic, Personal

April 11, 2005

Source: Houston Chronicle

On April 11, 2005 the Houston Chronicle reported, "The symbols of cooperation left to the world by Pope John Paul II transformed interfaith relations. He was the Polish pope who came of age under Nazi occupation and prayed at one of Judaism's most holy sites, Jerusalem's Western Wall. The leader of more than 1 billion Catholics, he shed his shoes to enter a mosque and urged repentance for the offenses of Christians and Muslims. A successor to St. Peter, he sought forgiveness for historical instances of Catholic intolerance at the start of a new millennium. But supporting the symbols was an interfaith commitment based in theology and the political necessities of a global church, scholars say. It is a legacy that extends back to the Second Vatican Council of the mid-1960s and the writings of Pope Paul VI. And few doubt that is a history weighing on the minds of the 115 cardinals who will elect the next pope in a conclave set to begin next week."