The inscription at Yad Vashem
Photo: AFP
Pope Benedict XVI
Photo: AP

Pope snubs Israel over Yad Vashem inscription

As Vatican fights for beatification of WWII pope, cardinal announces Holy See won't visit Israel until inscription asserting Pius XII ignored Holocaust during war is removed

Jesuit Father Peter Gumpel, a Vatican cardinal, said Pope Benedict XVI would not travel to Israel so long as Yad Vashem continues to display an inscription by the image of Pope Pius XII asserting that the latter failed to raise his voice against the extermination of Europe's Jews during the Holocaust.


Gumpel's statement, which was quoted extensively by the Italian media on Saturday, has since been rejected by the Vatican.


The Rev. was referring to an invitation extended to the Holy See by Israel. A papal visit can involve several long months to arrange.


Gumpel was quoted as saying that while the Catholic Church seeks a positive relationship with Israel,

such ties can only be built on reciprocation.


Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman for domestic media, Yossi Levi, confirmed Jerusalem had issued a response following the Italian reports. "We do not interfere in the beatification of popes, but we do indeed have something to say about the historic role played by Pius XII," said Levy.


"So long as the Vatican refuses to allow historians into its archives, that painful question will remain unanswered. We want to continue the excellent dialogue we have with the Vatican, and the Pope is a welcome guest. We do not see Gumpel's statement as representative of the Holy See."


Following the Vatican's clarification the Foreign Affairs Ministry added: "Father Gumpel's words found no

audience in the Vatican, and the clarification issued by the Vatican has put this matter to rest as far as we are concerned."


On Friday however France's main Jewish organization warned that efforts to beatify Pius XII would deal "a severe blow" to relations between Catholics and Jews.


"Pope Pius XII, worried about burning his bridges with Germany, never made a clear statement denouncing the singular monstrosity of the extermination of millions of Jews. Moreover, he did not do so after the war either, which is profoundly shocking," the organization, Conseil Representatif des Institutions juives de France (CRIF), said in a statement.



פרסום ראשון: 10.18.08, 20:35
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