ADL Leaders Reaffirm Catholic-Jewish Ties in First Jewish Meeting with Pope Benedict XVI
New York, NY, June 9, 2005 … A delegation of interfaith leaders from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) held a "warm and friendly" audience at the Vatican with Pope Benedict XVI in his first meeting with world Jewish community leaders. Present at the meeting were Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs, Alessandro Ruben, ADL's Chairman in Italy, and Rabbi Leon Klenicki, ADL Interfaith Affairs Director Emeritus.
The ADL leaders described the meeting with the new Pontiff as a warm encounter with "a friend" who, in his former roles at the Vatican, has long championed the importance of maintaining close contacts with the Jewish faith and people.
"This was an important meeting in that it was an affirmation of his expressed intentions to continue the great work of Pope John Paul II. It was a warm and friendly meeting," said Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor. "The Pope looked out on a room filled with friends. Many of us had relationships with him from when he was Cardinal Ratzinger. So we looked upon this Pope as a friend who didn't have to prove himself."
The Vatican audience was held with members of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), the umbrella organization for interfaith dialogue that represents world Jewry to the Catholic Church.
In private words with the Pontiff, Rabbis Bretton-Granatoor and Klenicki expressed their conviction that Jewish relations with the Vatican have matured to a point where Jews and Catholics feel comfortable discussing areas where they agree, and areas where they disagree.
"This is a Pope who finds holy affirmation in learning from the past in order to build a better future," said Rabbi Bretton-Granatoor. "We should not be afraid to enter into a theological dialogue necessary to really discover each other."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.