Pope Benedict XVI
Photo: AP
Photo: Visual Photos
Rome's main synagogue
Photo: Visual Photos

Rome's Jews protest Pope's synagogue visit

Many Jewish leaders in Italy angered by Pope Benedict XVI's moves to beatify WWII's Pope Pius

Some Jewish leaders are protesting Pope Benedict XVI's planned visit to Rome's main synagogue, angered by Vatican moves to make World War II Pope Pius XII a saint.


A top rabbi and at least one other prominent community member have announced they will not attend the Sunday event.


It will be the German-born Benedict's third visit to a synagogue as pope after ones in Cologne, Germany, and New York.


Rome's chief rabbi Riccardo Di Segni says the visit will be "an example of how to coexist even if we have differences."


But Rabbi Giuseppe Laras, president of the Assembly of Rabbis of Italy, told Corriere della Sera that he would not attend the pope's visit because he believes it is "an unfriendly gesture".


Some Jews and historians have argued that Pius was largely silent on the Holocaust. The Vatican insists Pius used quiet diplomacy to try to save Jews and that speaking out more forcefully would have resulted in more deaths.


Pietro Tereccina, a Holocaust survivor, announced that he, too, would be boycotting the visit. "I am convinced that if Pius had come out with a message, or had made a single gesture, Rome's Jews would not have been sent out," he said.


Cardinal Walter Casper, who chairs the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, made a pacifying statement on the issue.


"There will be problems and difficulties until the final day of history, but this visit will focus on what we have in common," he said.


On Pius' beatification he added, "This is an internal matter of the church, which deals with the pope's spiritual judgment, not his role in history."


פרסום ראשון: 01.16.10, 08:57
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