WJC praises the Pope

September 2, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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The World Jewish Congress has praised Pope Francis for co-organizing an international soccer match whose aim is to promote peace around the world and to raise funds for children in need.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

The ‘Inter-Religious Match for Peace’ at Rome’s Olympic Stadium on Monday will feature around 50 international stars and players with a Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist background, including Brazil’s Neymar, Israel’s Yossi Benayoun and France’s former international player Zinedine Zidane.

Claudio Epelman, the WJC official in charge of dialogue with the Vatican, said: “By lending his backing to this initiative, Pope Francis has proved once again that he is open to unconventional and refreshing ideas on how to bring people together to unite for a common aim: peace. The Pope deserves our wholehearted support in this endeavor, and we hope he will succeed in bringing people from different religions closer together.”

The Inter-Religious Match for Peace is the brainchild of retired Argentine captain Javier Zanetti and is being organized by the Scholas Occurrentes initiative, an Argentine project that aims to educate poorer people in different countries around the world, and Italy’s Fundazione PUPI, which works to unite people of different faiths.

The World Jewish Congress and its Latin American branch, the Latin American Jewish Congress (LAJC), have long been active in fostering better relations between different faith leaders. In February, the LAJC organized a goodwill trip of a delegation of Argentine Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders to the Middle East. At the end of their trip, the delegation was received in audience by Pope Francis. In May, Francis traveled to the Holy Land accompanied by a rabbi and a Muslim leader from his native Argentina.



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