Pope Francis has marked the 50th anniversary of the turning point in the Catholic Church's relations with other religions by calling for greater interfaith collaboration in the face of religious extremism.

Francis devoted his usual Wednesday general audience catechism lesson to the importance of the "Nostra Aetate" declaration, which was passed during the Second Vatican Council and revolutionized the church's relations in particular with Jews. Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists were in the VIP seats in St. Peter's Square.

Francis said the rise of terrorism had fomented suspicion and condemnation about religion. He said that while no religion is immune to fundamentalists, the world must look instead at the positive values that religions promote, especially in caring for society's neediest.