When in Rome: Chief to meet Pope

Lord Sacks

Lord Sacks

After welcoming him on behalf of the British interfaith community last year, the Chief Rabbi is to take part in a private meeting with the Pope in Vatican City.

Lord Sacks has been invited to meet Pope Benedict XVI for the second time in December, when he visits Rome for two days to give a lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

He will address students on the subject of interfaith relations at the Cardinal Bea Centre for Judaic Studies.

The pair met previously when the Pope made a state visit to Britain last September. Lord Sacks was asked to give an address on behalf of all non-Christian denominations.

His comments were described as "the most beautifully expressed statement about the relationship between faiths" by Lord Patten, who organised the state visit.

But it was a meeting that almost did not happen, after the Pope was scheduled to address parliamentarians in Westminster immediately before Yom Kippur. The talk was later moved back an hour to accommodate Jewish peers and MPs.

In March, relations between the Jewish and Catholic communities were given a boost when the Pope published a book featuring a "biblical and theological" explanation, exonerating Jews for the death of Jesus.

Last updated: 11:21am, September 16 2011