Yesterday's visit by the Holy Father to the Great Synagogue of Rome was a great success. The Vatican website has an English translation of his address. The Holy Father spoke sensitively about the Shoah "that tragically reached as far as Rome" and about the Bible. He highlighted the ten commandments as "a common ethical message of permanent value for Israel, for the Church, for non-believers and for all of humanity." Pope Benedict made particular reference to the family, highlighting an area of concern both to the Church and to Jews:
The "Ten Commandments" call us to preserve and to promote the sanctity of the family, in which the personal and reciprocal, faithful and definitive "Yes" of man and woman makes room for the future, for the authentic humanity of each, and makes them open, at the same time, to the gift of new life. To witness that the family continues to be the essential cell of society and the basic environment in which human virtues are learned and practised is a precious service offered in the construction of a world with a more human face.Israel's ambassador to the Holy See, Mordechay Lewy, told ZENIT:
"The press was blowing up an atmosphere of crisis, before the visit, and the media were very much disappointed that there was no crisis afterwards,"Politics Daily has a good piece by Elizabeth Lev: At Pope's Trip to Rome Synagogue, Press Misses the Story. As she says,
Despite the trite headlines about the "Pope's Controversial Visit," there was no real controversy; the chief rabbi had extended the invitation to Benedict in 2006 and the Roman Jewish community pulled out all the stops for this event.Later in the article, she points out:
The real spirit of the Benedict's visit and his encounter with the chief Rabbi was not one of recrimination but of furthering dialogue, though most major news outlets were too busy waving the red flag of WWII and Pope Pius XII to see that.For a couple of illustrative examples, see the reports from theBBC report and The Times.
Looking for pictures, I found this one and couldn't resist wondering what Pope Benedict might have been saying...
Moishe rings his Mum and says "Mum how are you?"
She answers "I'm just fine."
So Moishe says "Sorry, I must have dialled the wrong number."
(There are some good photos at daylife.)