JERUSALEM, May 12 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI, in Israel Tuesday, praised Jews and Catholics for raising religious tolerance and understanding, pledging to strengthen the effort worldwide.
Pursuing what he called a "journey of faith", the pope visited locations holy for Muslims and Jews in Jerusalem, removing his red shoes at the Dome of the Rock and placing a prayer in a crevice before praying at the Western Wall, sacred to Jews.
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church assured his audience of "my desire to deepen mutual understanding and cooperation between the Holy See, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and Jewish people throughout the world," The Jerusalem Post reported.
"A great source of satisfaction for me since the beginning of my pontificate has been the fruit yielded by the ongoing dialogue between the Delegation of the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel's Delegation for Relations with the Catholic Church," Pope Benedict said.
The pontiff said trust and dialogue were critical to continue reconciliation between Christians and Jews.
"Jews and Christians alike are concerned to ensure respect for the sacredness of human life, the centrality of the family, a sound education for the young, and the freedom of religion and conscience for a healthy society," he said. "These themes of dialogue represent only the initial phases of what we trust will be a steady, progressive journey towards an enhanced mutual understanding."