Pope Francis addresses the crowd during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on November 18, 2015. (AFP/Andreas Solaro)
JTA – When Pope Francis crosses the Tiber River to visit to Rome’s Great Synagogue on , he’ll become the third pontiff in history to do so. But his 1.5-mile journey to the towering Tempio Maggiore shows that what was once unthinkable is now the norm.
“Our meeting,” Rome Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni told the Catholic newspaper L’Avvenire, “aims to convey a very topical, important and urgent message — that belonging to a faith, a religion, should not be a cause of hostility, hatred and violence, but that it is possible to build a peaceful coexistence, based on respect and cooperation.”