Pope Meets with Chief Rabbi of Rome, Affirms "Mutual Esteem and Trust"
In an address on the occasion of the January 16, 2006, visit to the Vatican by Dr. Riccardo DiSegni, Chief Rabbi of Rome, and a delegation from the Jewish community, Pope Benedict XVI re-affirmed the "mutual esteem and trust" that, he said, has prevailed between Catholics and Jews especially since the Second Vatican Council. "The Catholic Church is close to you and is your friend," the Pope stated. "Yes, we love you and we cannot fail to love you." He proposed that Christians and Jews "unite our hands and hearts in concrete initiatives of solidarity, tzedek (justice) and tzedekah (charity)."
In his response, Rabbi Dr. DiSegni thanked the Pope for his "sensitivity shown in the denunciation of past and present anti-Semitism," his condemnation of terrorism, and his "attention to the State of Israel, which for the whole Jewish people is an essential and central reference." Rabbi DiSegni presented the Pope with a silver Yad, a ritualistic pointer used in Torah reading.