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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 June, 2005, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Pope vows to improve Jewish ties
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict has denounced the crimes of the Nazis
Pope Benedict XVI has met Jewish leaders for the first time since his election, saying he wants to continue improving relations between the faiths.

He said he wanted to follow on from the work of his predecessor John Paul II.

He spoke of what he called historical, moral and theological problems raised by the Holocaust - when millions of Jews were killed by Nazi Germany.

The German-born Pope added that the Roman Catholic Church remained committed to fighting anti-Semitism.

"At the very beginning of my Pontificate, I wish to assure you that the Church remains firmly committed, in her catechesis and in every aspect of her life, to implementing this decisive teaching," he told the 25 delegates led by an American rabbi, Israel Singer.

Pope Benedict's predecessor Pope John Paul II, who died on 2 April, was the first pope to visit a synagogue and the Nazi concentration camps.

"My predecessors Paul VI and particularly John Paul II accomplished significant steps in the development of relations with the Jewish people," the Pope said.

"I am convinced that the spiritual patrimony treasured by Christians and Jews is itself the source of the wisdom and inspiration capable of guiding us toward a future of hope, in accordance with the divine plan."


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