Pope calls on Catholics to atone during millennium

ROME, Nov. 29 (JTA) – Pope John Paul II has issued an edict declaring the year 2000 a Holy Year during which both individual Catholics and the Roman Catholic Church itself should ask forgiveness for their past failings. The pope wants the church to enter the next millennium with a clear conscience. During the Holy Year celebrations, the church is expected to ask forgiveness for specific past errors, including the Inquisition and its treatment of the Jews. Holy Year begins on Christmas Eve 1999 and lasts until Jan. 6, 2001. Sunday’s edict, known as a Papal Bull, called on Catholics to make a “humble recognition of our faults.” During Holy Year, the edict said, the church should “kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters.” It said the church had to acknowledge that history “records events which constitute a counter-testimony to Christianity.” The Papal Bull also called for Jerusalem to be a center of interreligious peace. “May the Jubilee serve to advance mutual dialogue until the day when all of us together – Jews, Christians and Muslims – will exchange the greeting of peace in Jerusalem,” it said.

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