Delegation That Visits Pope: We Are Showing Religions Can Co-existBy H. Sergio Mora
ROME, February 28, 2014 (Zenit.org) - An interreligious delegation from Argentina, made up of 15 Catholics, 15 Jews and 15 Muslims who had traveled to Jordan, Israel and Palestine, was received by Pope Francis today in the Vatican. The group is headed by Rabbi Daniel Goldman, Father Guillermo Marco, and Omar Abboud.
“The people of the area saw it as an unheard of experience and something positive. We did not come to ask for respect for peace in the Middle East, but to show that coexistence is possible,” Julio Schlosser, president of the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations (DAIA), told ZENIT.
A communique of the Vatican Press Office stated that the meeting was characterized by great cordiality and lasted approximately one hour. Also attending the meeting was Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Commission for Relations with Jews, and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious dialogue.
During the inter-confessional trip that ended in Rome “we met with the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Rami Hamdallah,” said DAIA’s president. After the meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister, trees of the Keren Kayemet LeIsrael (Jewish National Fund) were planted.
“Then some went with the Israeli President, Shimon Peres, and another delegation in which I was present went to Israel’s Parliament and spoke with a deputy,” continued Schlosser.
In Jordan, the delegation had the opportunity to see the Petra archaeological enclave. The delegation arrived in Rome yesterday, after being in the three countries that the Holy Father will visit during his apostolic journey in May.
Schlosser added that the delegation is contributing to “understanding between persons” and “showing that in our country religions can coexist and work together in peace.”
The program in Rome included “a meeting with <Argentine> Ambassador Juan Pablo Cafiero, to talk because there are always things that can be worked on,” he said.
Asked if this project was born when the future Pope was cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, DAIA’s president said yes, adding that “Father Guillermo Marco, Rabbi Daniel Goldman and Omar Abboud of the Islamic Center of the Argentine Republic, have been working for years on this, which is the inter-confessional dialogue, with the collaboration and contribution of the Latin American Jewish Congress. “We are trying to show the world that coexistence exists in Argentina, and more than that, because joint activities are held with great cordiality among all the Creeds.”
He concluded saying that “these days we have lived have been full of a total camaraderie. And in the climate that reigned we all seemed like young friends working together.”