Pope Says Catholic-Jewish Dialogue Important
Pope Benedict XVI poses for a picture after a meeting with representatives of the Jewish congregation at the Reichstag, which houses the German parliament, in Berlin 22 Sept. Also pictured are Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg, head of the German bishops conference, left, and Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, far right. (photo: CNS/Wolfgang Radtke, pool via Reuters)
23 Sep 2011 by Cindy Wooden
BERLIN (CNS) — The Nazi reign of terror clearly demonstrated the depths of evil that men are capable of when they deny God and the dignity of all people he created, Pope Benedict XVI told leaders of
Germanys Jewish community.
Speaking Sept. 22 with the Jewish representatives
in a meeting room in the Reichstag, which houses the
German parliament, the pope spoke about the need to
continue remembering the horror of the Shoah, the
importance of continuing Catholic-Jewish dialogue and
the need for all believers in God to work together to bring
moral values to society.
The Reichstag is a place of appalling
remembrance, the pope said, because it was in the
parliament building that the Shoah, the annihilation of
our Jewish fellow citizens in Europe, was planned and
The number of Jews in Germany today is
estimated at about 105,000, most of whom immigrated
from the former Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War.
The activity of Germanys 108 Jewish
communities is coordinated by the Central Council of
Jews in Germany, which was founded in 1950 — a time
when the countrys Jewish community numbered only
about 15,000 members.
According to the council, there were between
500,000 and 600,000 Jews in Germany in the early 1930s.
As the Nazis enacted progressively more restrictive laws,
thousands of Jews fled. The Nazis killed an estimated 6
million Jews from Germany and surrounding countries
before the end of World War II.
Pope Benedict said, The Nazi reign of terror was
based on a racist myth, part of which was the rejection of
the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Jesus
Christ and all who believe in him.
The supposedly ‘almighty’ Adolf Hitler was a
pagan idol, who wanted to take the place of the biblical
God, the creator and father of all men, the pope said.
The result of the Nazi attempt to replace God was
horrific, he said.
Refusal to heed this one God always makes
people heedless of human dignity as well, the pope said.
He said the terrible images from the concentration camps
at the end of the war showed what man is capable of
when he rejects God and what the face of a people can
look like when it denies this God.
Tags: Pope Benedict XVI Jews Germany Catholic-Jewish Dialogue