(JNS.org) Pope Francis on Tuesday released his widely anticipated first Apostolic Exhortation, which included a strong reaffirmation of dialogue with the Jewish people and an expression of regret for past anti-Semitism.
The 224-page comprehensive document, titled Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), outlines the pope’s vision for the Catholic Church.
“We [the Catholic Church] hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked,” Pope Francis wrote in the document.
The pontiff added, “Dialogue and friendship with the children of Israel are part of the life of Jesus’ disciples. The friendship which has grown between us makes us bitterly and sincerely regret the terrible persecutions which they have endured, and continue to endure, especially those that have involved Christians.”
The American Jewish Committee expressed a “warm appreciation” for the Pope Francis’s message.
“His emphasis on the ongoing Divine Presence in the life of the Jewish People and on the importance of the ‘values of Judaism’ for Christians, is particularly significant in further advancing the historic transformation in the Catholic Church's approach towards the Jewish people,” said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s International Director of Interreligious Affairs.