Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) In his meeting with Shlomo Moshe Amar and Yona Metzger, respectively Israel's Chief Sephardic and Ashkenazi Rabbis, Pope Benedict XVI said that their visit was a "further step towards the process of building deeper religious relations between Christians and Jews". Both were welcomed with an open heart at the Pontiff's residence of a Castel Gandolfo.
The meeting was part of the commemorations marking the 40th anniversary of a landmark Vatican document called Nostra Aetate (In Our Times) on relations between the Church and non Christian religions, in particular Judaism.
The meeting, which both Jewish religious leaders described as very cordial, gave them the opportunity to renew a standing invitation for the Pope to visit Israel made by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in July.
For his part, Benedict XVI also turned his thoughts to the fate of Christians in the Holy Land.
The rabbis also asked the Pope to have the Church set aside one day of the year to preach the teachings of Nostra Aetate on relations with Jews that repudiated all forms of anti-Semitism.
October 28, the day in which this landmark document was signed, could be selected for that purpose.