On March 26, 2000, Pope John Paul II came to Jerusalem, to the heart of Israel, to that city to which all Jewish hearts have turned for 2000 years.
He came to the Western Wall, adjacent to the Temple Mount. He placed a prayer in the Western Wall. It read:
God of our fathers,
You chose Abraham and his descendants
To bring Your name to the nations;
We are deeply saddened
By the behavior of those
Who in the course of history
Have caused these children of Yours to suffer
And asking Your forgiveness
We wish to commit ourselves
To genuine brotherhood
With the people of the Covenant.
Pope John Paul II will always be remembered by the Jewish people as the man who wrote this prayer and lived its words. These simple short lines express the ideas by which he transformed the relationship of the Roman Catholic Church towards Judaism and the Jewish people. With these words, he became the first Pope in 2000 years to recognize that the Jewish people remain the people of the Covenant.