Home > Archives > 01 - 2010 > “The Lord has gathered us here in his Hèsed, his merciful love”
THE POPE IN THE SYNAGOGUE...
from issue no. 01 - 2010

The meeting in the Great Synagogue of the Jews of Rome, 17 January 2010

“The Lord has gathered us here in his Hèsed, his merciful love”


Some passages from the speech of Pope Benedict XVI


by Pope Benedict XVI


Benedict XVI with the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni [© Alessandra Benedetti/Corbis]

Benedict XVI with the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni [© Alessandra Benedetti/Corbis]

“At the beginning of this encounter in the Great Synagogue of the Jews of Rome, the Psalms which we have heard suggest to us the right spiritual attitude in which to experience this particular and happy moment of grace: the praise of the Lord, who has worked marvels for us and has gathered us here in his Hèsed, his merciful love; and thanksgiving to him for granting us this opportunity to come together to strengthen the bonds which unite us and to continue to travel together along the path of reconciliation and fraternity”





“Here in this place, how could we not remember the Roman Jews who were snatched from their homes, before these very walls, and who with tremendous brutality were killed at Auschwitz? How could one ever forget their faces, their names, their tears, the desperation of these men, women and children? The extermination of the people of the Covenant of Moses, at first announced, then systematically programmed and put into practice in Europe under the Nazi regime, on that day tragically reached as far as Rome. Unfortunately, many remained indifferent, but many, including Italian Catholics, sustained by their faith and by Christian teaching, reacted with courage, often at risk of their lives, opening their arms to assist the Jewish fugitives who were being hunted down, and earning perennial gratitude. The Apostolic See itself provided assistance, often in a hidden and discreet way”





“As Moses taught in the Shemà (cf. Dt 6, 5; Lev 19, 34) and as Jesus reaffirms in the Gospel (cf. Mk 12, 29-31), all of the Commandments are summed up in the love of God and loving-kindness towards one’s neighbour. This Rule urges Jews and Christians to exercise, in our time, a special generosity towards the poor, towards women and children, foreigners, the sick, the weak and the needy. In the Jewish tradition there is a wonderful saying of the Fathers of Israel: “Simon the Just often said: The world is founded on three things: the Torah, worship, and acts of mercy” (Avoth 1, 2). In exercising justice and mercy, Jews and Christians are called to announce and to bear witness to the coming Kingdom of the Most High, for which we pray and work in hope each day”


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