Dialogika

Pope Benedict XVI

Birthday greetings to Emeritus Rabbi Elio Toaff

Benedict XVI sent a message of congratulations to Rabbi Elio Toaff, retired rabbi of Rome, for his ninety-fifth birthday.  The message was read aloud by Msgr. Georg Gaenswein, personal secretary of the Pope, during the inaugural ceremony of the Elio Toaff Foundation for Jewish Culture.

On the happy occasion of your 95th birthday, I wish to join the many people who rejoice with you for the gifts of a long and productive life that the mercy of the Most High has lavished on you.

I think, using the words of the Psalm, of how the Lord restored your soul, leading you along the right path, even through the darkest valley, at the time of the persecution and extermination of the Jewish People. The Lord, in His mysterious designs, wished you to have a unique experience of His salvation, becoming a sign of hope for the rebirth of many of your brothers and sisters.

I am particularly happy to recall your commitment to promoting fraternal relations between Catholics and Jews, and the sincere friendship that bound you to my venerated predecessor Pope John Paul II.

My hope is that the concluding words of the same Psalm are fulfilled for you: "Goodness and faithfulness will accompany me all of the days of my life, I will dwell forever in the house of the Lord."  Shalom!

From the Vatican, 3 May 2010