Vatican: Pope Francis appreciated by Jews in Rome, Jerusalem

Pontiff, dialogue now. On the 19th inauguration of pontificate

15 March, 11:15

(ANSAmed) - ROME, MARCH 15 - Pope Francis is well liked by Jews in Rome as well as in Jerusalem. Well wishes and appreciation for the new pontiff have poured from both the Italian capital and the holy city. The new pope has chosen to present himself to the Jewish community in Rome with a letter to Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni. 'In the day of my election as Bishop of Rome and universal pastor of the Catholic church, I send you my warm greetings, announcing that the solemn inauguration of my pontificate will take place on Tuesday, March 19'. In a brief but significant letter, the pope said: 'Confiding in the protection of the Almighty, I sincerely hope to be able to contribute to progress in relations between Jews and Catholics made since the Second Vatican Council'.

Di Segni welcomed the words and replied to thank the pontiff, renewing his 'well wishes for this election which will require a huge dose of strength and wisdom'. The rabbi told ANSA he was 'pleased' with the letter. 'I see that the line traced by Benedict XVI is continuing', he told ANSA. 'The Second Vatican Council has set the base for all progress made by the Catholic Church in the past few years. I imagine and hope this will be an indication not to renounce to these principles'.

Francis also invited Di Segni at the papal inaugural ceremony on March 19, when some 200 delegations of heads of state and government from around the world are expected. The Rabbinate of Jerusalem, Sefardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger also wished the pope well and called for continuity with the two previous pontificates. 'In the last 12 years, a rich and fruitful dialogue was conducted between the Rabbinate of Israel and the Vatican on issues of great significance like a ban on invoking God to justify terror actions: the sanctity of life: the sanctity of the family unit, and so on', they said in a statement. We have reached significant success in this dialogue', also thanks to the encouragement of the two previous popes. 'The Rabbinate is sure that Pope Francis, whose good relations with Jews are well known, will move forward with the same spirit'. (ANSAmed)

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