Sep 13, 2008 23:43 Updated Sep 14, 2008 1:42
Pope slams anti-Semitism in meeting with French Jews
By HAVIV RETTIG
Pope Benedict XVI slammed anti-Semitism as theologically unjustifiable and tantamount to being "anti-Christian" in a meeting with French-Jewish leaders in Paris on Friday.
The meeting came on the first day of a four-day trip to France, the pontiff's 10th trip out of Italy since his election in April 2005.
"The Church is opposed to every form of anti-Semitism, which can never be theologically justified," he said, quoting French theologian Henri de Lubac as saying he had understood that "to be anti-Semitic also signifies being anti-Christian."
Benedict lamented the victims of anti-Semitism, saying: "Once again I feel the duty to pay heartfelt recognition to those who have died unjustly, and to those that have dedicated themselves to assure that the names of these victims may always be remembered. God does not forget."
He called for greater Christian-Jewish understanding, noting that the two religions' "fraternal bonds constitute a continual invitation to know and to respect one another better."
Rabbi Joseph Sitruk, a former chief rabbi of France, said after the meeting that it had been a "historic rapprochement between Judaism and the Church."
Benedict also met with French cultural leaders and leaders of the country's Muslim community.
More than a quarter million turned out in Paris for Benedict's outdoor Mass on Saturday morning.