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Recalling major events of 2009
Benedict XVI is describing his visit in May to Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial as an “overwhelming” encounter with hatred.
The Pope stated this today in a traditional meeting with the Roman Curia and other officials for the exchange of Christmas greetings. In his address, the Holy Father recalled some of the major events of 2009, including his visit to Jordan and the Holy Land.
The Pontiff made a special mention of his closeness to the people of Israel, the victims of Nazi cruelty, and his visit to the memorial where he placed a wreath in honor of the dead and met with survivors of the Holocaust.
The visit to Yad Vashem was an “overwhelming encounter with the cruelty of human sin and the hatred of a blind ideology that, without justification, sent millions of human beings to their death,” he said.
In this, the Holy Father continued, there was an attempt “to chase God himself from the world, the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, and the God of Jesus Christ.”
“Thus,” he said, “Yad Vashem is first of all a commemorative monument against hatred, a heartfelt call for purification and forgiveness, a plea for love.”
Benedict XVI added, “This very monument against human sin lent greater significance to my visits to the places of the faith and made their unaltered relevance today even more perceptible.”
He thanked the king of Jordan for working in an “exemplary manner” for the peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims.
The Pope expressed gratitude toward the Israeli authorities for their work “to ensure my visit could take place peacefully and securely.”
He also thanked the Palestinian Authority for the opportunity to celebrate a public liturgy in Bethlehem, and to observe the “suffering and the hopes present in their territory.”