April 19, 2005 - Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, released the following statement on the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the 265th pope, Benedict XVI.
On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, I wish to extend a warm welcome to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, upon his election to the papacy. Cardinal Ratzinger has been instrumental in forging several of the Churchs landmark efforts toward better relations between Catholics and Jews, including the recognition of the State of Israel and the affirmation of the ongoing Jewish covenant with God. In light of these accomplishments, we are confident that Pope Benedict XVI will continue John Paul IIs pioneering legacy of healing and reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community.
At this historic moment in Catholic and indeed in world history, we wish Benedict XVI the strength and wisdom to lead. We know we will agree on some matters of religious and political significance and disagree on others, but we look forward to building on the breakthroughs of the past generation by continuing the thoughtful, constructive and gracious dialogue begun by Pope John Paul II. In so doing, we will remain, in his words, a blessing to one another and to the world."
The Union for Reform Judaism (formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations) is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues. Union services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, DC.