Archbishop Conti sent greetings to the Jewish community in Scotland for the festival of Passover. This year the first day of Passover falls on Good Friday.
This year the celebration of the great religious festivals of Pesach and Easter coincide with one another. In the past this was often accompanied with tension and even violence. Thank God those days are now over and we have good relations between our communities, recognising our fraternal relationship and common spiritual roots. This good relationship has been one of the consequences of the Vatican II document, Nostra Aetate, whose fiftieth anniversary we celebrate later this year.
We live in a world in which religious freedom is being challenged on all sides and our communities know the realities of persecution and suffering as we have been refused the right to be who we are. Earlier this year Pope Francis was in Sri Lanka and spoke of religious freedom as a fundamental human right. He said,
“Each individual must be free, alone or in association with others, to seek the truth, and to openly express his or her religious convictions, free from intimidation and external compulsion………. genuine worship of God bears fruit not in discrimination, hatred and violence, but in respect for the sacredness of life, respect for the dignity and freedom of others, and loving commitment to the welfare of all”
Let us pray, as we worship God during our great foundational festivals, that we grow in our respect for the dignity and freedom of one another and live out our loving commitment to each other’s welfare by continuing to dialogue with one another and work for a society in which our voices are respected and honoured.
On my own behalf and on behalf of the Scottish Bishops as well as the Committee for Interreligious Dialogue I am delighted to send you and the whole Jewish community in Scotland greetings for a happy Pesach.