From the Vatican Press Office, filed under the Orwellian heading "DISCOVERING TRUTH: PURPOSE OF INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE":
VATICAN CITY, 17 APR 2008 (VIS) - In the Pope John Paul II Cultural Centre in Washington D.C. at 6.30 p.m. local time today, Benedict XVI met with [and addressed] some 200 representatives of five religious communities: Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Jains ...
Having completed his discourse, the Pope moved on to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Centre's Polish National Room. There he met representatives of the Jewish community to whom he consigned a Message for the Feast of the Passover, which this year begins on Saturday 19 April.
In his Passover Message, the Pope writes: "At this time of your most solemn celebration, I feel particularly close, precisely because of what 'Nostra Aetate' calls Christians to remember always: that the Church 'received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the ancient Covenant. ... In addressing myself to you I wish to re-affirm the Second Vatican Council's teaching on Catholic- Jewish relations and reiterate the Church's commitment to the dialogue that in the past forty years has fundamentally changed our relationship for the better.
"Because of that growth in trust and friendship", the Holy Father adds in his Message, "Christians and Jews can rejoice together in the deep spiritual ethos of the Passover, a memorial of freedom and redemption. Each year, when we listen to the Passover story we return to that blessed night of liberation. This holy time of the year should be a call to both our communities to pursue justice, mercy, solidarity with the stranger in the land, with the widow and orphan, as Moses commanded".
"This bond permits us Christians to celebrate alongside you, though in our own way, the Passover of Christ's death and resurrection, which we see as inseparable from your own, for Jesus Himself said: 'salvation is from the Jews'. Our Easter and your Pesah, while distinct and different, unite us in our common hope centred on God and His mercy".
"With respect and friendship, I therefore ask the Jewish community to accept my Pesah greeting in a spirit of openness to the real possibilities of co- operation which we see before us as we contemplate the urgent needs of our world, and as we look with compassion upon the sufferings of millions of our brothers and sisters everywhere. Naturally, our shared hope for peace in the world embraces the Middle East and the Holy Land in particular. May the memory of God's mercies, which Jews and Christians celebrate at this festive time, inspire all those responsible for the future of that region - where the events surrounding God's revelation actually took place - to new efforts, and especially to new attitudes and a new purification of hearts!"