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Pope Francis

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Pope Francis

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Vatican opens exhibit on relationship between John Paul II and the Jewish community

2015-08-11

John Paul II was the first pontiff to do many things...The list includes being the first Pope to visit a synagogue back in 1986.  It was one of many moments that began to transform the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community. 

Now it's part of a Vatican exhibit titled: A Blessing to One Another

WILLIAM MADGES
Theology Professor St. Joseph's University (USA)
He took the words of Vatican II and gave it flesh, he embodied it in both powerful words and symbolic action.”

It's an exhibit to honor the ways in which the past transformed the present and how it can influence the future. It a journey that begins well before Cardinal Wojtyla was elected Pope. 

As a boy, he would play with a neighborhood friend, Jerzy Kluger, with this ball, now on display. He was Jewish. Even then, Karol Wojtyla defended him when he was being discriminated. 

There's also the moment John Paul II prayed before the Wailing Wall. 

The exhibit has been seen by over one million people in over 18 venues including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston. For the very first time, it's now in Europe. 

WILLIAM MADGES
Theology Professor St. Joseph's University (USA)
"The significance being that this is the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, and the 10th anniversary of John Paul II's death.”

RICARDO DI SEGNI
Chief Rabbi, Rome
"It's a message that's turned into something iconic. The fact that we gave this Vatican exhibit with the image of John Paul II embracing a rabbi, now seems normal, but back then it wasn't.” 

The Vatican exhibit will be on display until September 17th. Organizers hope to eventually give the exhibit to Poland, as a gift. It would be housed in the city of Krakow, where St. John Paul II served as archbishop for many years. 


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