Pope Benedict 16 retires

The International Council of Christians and Jews would like to extend its good wishes and respects to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI upon the announcement of his retirement from the Chair of Peter. Throughout his pontificate he has been a strong promoter of interreligious understanding, particularly between Jews and Christians, as called for by the Second Vatican Council declaration Nostra Aetate.

Pope Benedict's commitment to friendship between 'the people of God of the Old and New Testament' is expressed through his understanding of tradition as a living engagement between continuity with the community's legacy and the continuous need for reform in the present. He grounds his theological vision of the familial relationship between Jews and Christians as intrinsic to the very essence of Christianity itself.

His teachings which include the affirmation of Jewish covenantal life rooted in Torah and of Jewish traditions of biblical interpretation, together with a rejection of antisemitism and church efforts to convert Jews, are thus presented as the restoration of the Christian biblical witness that was so tragically distorted over the centuries. This approach assures that the modern rapprochement between Jews and Christians will continue to grow in the future.

We wish for abundant divine blessings upon him in the coming years.