Pope Francis gestures as he visits the main synagogue in Rome Jan. 17.

CNS PHOTO | PAUL HARING

Pope Francis gestures as he visits the main synagogue in Rome Jan. 17.

January 25, 2016
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

ROME - While the Catholic Church affirms that salvation comes through Jesus, it also recognizes that God is faithful and has not revoked his covenant with the Jewish people, Pope Francis said.

Interrupted repeatedly with applause at Rome's main synagogue Jan. 17, the pope said the Church "recognizes the irrevocability of the Old Covenant and the constant and faithful love of God for Israel."

The statement, which he already had made in his 2013 exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, was repeated in a recent document by the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.

Pope Francis received the warmest of welcomes at the synagogue.

Members of the Jewish community greeted the pope on their feet applauding; he stood and applauded with the congregation when honour was paid to the handful of survivors of the Nazi Holocaust who were present for the event.

"Their sufferings, anguish and tears must never be forgotten," the pope said.

Pope Francis was the third pope to visit the Rome synagogue.