Pope John Paul IIís moral inspiration and leadership were a shining light to the world.
Throughout his lifetime, the late Pontiff defended the Jewish people, both as a priest in his native Poland and for all the years of his Pontificate. Pope John Paul II denounced anti-Semitism as a "sin against God and humanity,Ē normalized relations with the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel, and paid homage to the victims of the Holocaust in the Vatican and at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel.
Pope John Paulís pilgrimage to the great synagogue of Rome was the first by a pope since the time of Peter, and his address there breached centuries of pain and mistrust.
In 1994, the Pope established formal diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel, acknowledging its centrality in Jewish life and faith.
John Paul II called on the worldwide Catholic community to reckon with its 2,000 years of history and to look toward a more meaningful understanding of Judaism and the Jewish people in God's design.
As Pope, John Paul II recognized the special relationship between Christianity and the Jewish people, a central theme of Nostra Aetate, and a major theme of his own reflections on that historic document.
In his exceptional writings and pronouncements, Pope John Paul II shared his understanding of Judaism as a living heritage, of the permanent validity of God's covenant with the Jewish people and of the abhorrent sin that is anti-Semitism.
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