During the course of his long papacy, John Paul II turned out to be the worthy heir to pontiff John XXIII, as the driving force of revolutionary changes within the Church in its relation with the Jews. Many are the different initiatives of Peter’s successor that allowed him to establish the conditions for the construction of a harmonic atmosphere to foster the reconciliation between Catholics and Jews. The visit he paid to the Synagogue of Rome, his pilgrimage to the Holy Land and his asking for forgiveness on March 12th. 2002, in a declaration which states: ”We are deeply sorry for the behavior of those who, along the course of history, had made your sons suffer and, on asking for your forgiveness, we commit ourselves to exercising fraternal and authentic relations with the Jewish people”. That spirit of understanding and respect for differences has been one of the most outstanding virtues of John Paul II during his twenty six years at the service of the Catholic Church.
Father Horacio Moreno
José I. García Hamilton
International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation
April 6, 2005