It was 50 years ago, back in 1965 that the Catholic Church broke ground by starting a new chapter in its approach to non-Christian religions.
The declaration titled 'Nostra Aetate' was issued by the Second Vatican Council, to re-direct the Church's attitude towards Judaism.
RABBI DAVID ROSEN
American Jewish Congress
"Nostra Aetate is a document that emerged out of the concern of St. John XXIII to transform the relationship with the Jewish people. That was its primary motivation. To address the relationship with the Church and the Jewish people.”
To mark the anniversary, representatives from several religions attended the Pope's weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square. Even though the original purpose of the document was to improve the relationship with the Jewish people, a domino effect quickly followed.
"So we are privileged to see the document which was originally a new approach, transformation for Judaism, extended to Muslims and also Eastern religions.”
From that document, the Vatican's inter-religous meetings in Assisi, gave rise. Led by the Pope, leaders from different religions meet under one same roof.
To mark the anniversary, the Vatican also launched an International Congress in Rome.
"What we learn from books, videos or the internet, it’s nothing actually. When we sit together with the leaders of other religions to hear directly from Rabbis, representatives of Islam, Jainism and others, it's way above learning from other media.”
Big improvements have been made since the document was issued. But the Pope reiterated that much more still needs to be done to foster mutual collaboration and respect.