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Chief Rabbi: my meeting with the Pope was an ‘epiphany’

By on Monday, 18 October 2010

Pope Benedict XVI and Lord Sacks at a meeting of religious leaders at St Mary's University, Twickenham, last month (Photo: PA)

Pope Benedict XVI and Lord Sacks at a meeting of religious leaders at St Mary's University, Twickenham, last month (Photo: PA)

Lord Sacks, Britain’s Chief Rabbi, has described his meeting with Pope Benedict XVI during his visit last month as “an epiphany”.
The Chief Rabbi met the Pope at a meeting with religious leaders and people of faith at Twickenham. The meeting involved the leaders of all the major faiths in Britain.
His account of the meeting is included in the official record of the state visit, published last week by the Catholic Truth Society.

In it, Lord Sacks said: “Soul touched soul across the boundaries of faith, and there was a blessed moment of healing”.
The Chief Rabbi added that the Pope “valued” the Catholic-Jewish relationship and that “he wanted the work to continue and deepen [it]”.
Lord Sacks, whose full title is Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, said that welcoming the Pope on behalf of non-Christians in Britain was “a moment I shall never forget”.
He added that the meeting illustrated the Vatican’s emphasis on the “importance of respect and friendship between faiths”.
The meeting was of particular significance, he said, because of the “tear-stained history of the Catholic-Jewish relationship”.
He said: “Over the centuries, the relationship between the Church and the Jews has been one of the saddest stories in the history of religion” – and one, he said, that “might have continued were it not for the darkest night of all, the Holocaust”.
He also praised mid-20th century Pope John XXIII, a  “very great Pope indeed”, for having laid the foundation for the Second Vatican Council, “one of the greatest acts of reconciliation in religious history”.

The official record of the state visit, entitled Benedict XVI and Blessed John Henry Newman, costs £14.95 and is available here.

  • Jamie Macnab

    It will doubtless be a long and rocky road to the full reconciliation of Christianity and Judaism, but one worth travelling. And we remember that both Jews and Christians have their own respective internal reconciliations to make. In these troubled times for religion, unity of purpose is rather more urgent than doctrinal agreement.

  • Thomas M.P.

    Christmas is fast approaching. England is a predominant Christian community. Are you bullied down by the atheists who are a minority? They have decided their own doom. Hasn't the recent survey shown that the non-believers who dominate the country is a pitiable minority? The Holy Father has visited you and exhorted you not to lose faith in the Lord God and His Son, the Son of Man. Whether you are Anglican or Catholic, it doesn't matter much. Hold on to your trust in the Lord Jesus. It's time for you to reassert yourself in the One and Only True God and in your faith. Even though I live in a country where the majority are Hindus, I will never let my Creator down. He is my owner and I will be His true follower come what may. What prevents you members of a Christian country to reassert your faith in the Almighty powerful God, your Creator and Father? Stand up and against the oppressors of your faith because they come from the devil himself who has vicious plans. Come out openly and celebrate Christmas and profess your faith in the Lord God. Be bold and own up your faith and the Lord will never let you down because in trying times you have stood by Him steadfastly.

  • Kathy Twomey

    What wonderful, encouraging news. May God be with them KT

  • Judewang

    We are brothers and shall continue to be so.