December 28, 2009.
In March, Benedict XVI met with a group of Jewish leaders from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. During the meeting, the pope reaffirmed the Church’s declaration “Nostra Aetate” published by the Second Vatican Council which outlines dialogue between Catholics and Jews. Benedict XVI
"The Church recognizes that the beginnings of her faith are found
in the historical divine intervention in the life of the Jewish people."
Also, scholars from the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and scholars from
the Vatican met in Israel to evaluate research on Pope Pius XII’s role
during World War II and the Holocaust.
Archbishop Antonio Franco
Nuncio to the Holy Land
"For the Shoah, for the memory, to keep the memory, and to learn from
the memory, the Catholic Church, I think, is the best partner, the best
ally, of Yad Vashem.
But one of the highlights of March was the pope’s first trip to Africa. Benedict XVI visited Cameroon and Angola.
In Cameroon he visited a hospital. The pope said he prays for the
victims of violence, wars, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, the most
life-threatening issues plaguing the African continent.
Later, he called on tens of thousands of people at the soccer stadium
in Yaounde to reject the tyranny of materialism and recognize the True
Author of Life.
Benedict XVI "Brothers and sisters in Cameroon and throughout Africa, you who
have received from God so many human virtues, take care of your souls!
Do not let yourselves be captivated by selfish illusions and false
Then he travelled to Angola where he celebrated mass with more than one million people.
The pope spoke against violence produced by the belief in witchcraft
and urged Christians to live in peace with those who practice it but
help convert them as well.
He also reflected on the scars left by constant wars in Africa and the
many victims claimed in Angola, one of the continent’s most land mined
"We think of the evil of war, the murderous fruits of tribalism and
ethnic rivalry, the greed which corrupts men’s hearts, enslaves the
poor, and robs future generations of the resources they need to create
a more equitable and just society."
With his visit, the pope celebrated with Angolans 500 years of Christianity in their country.