Reuters: The Vatican of Pope Benedict XVI v. Jewish People

A short timeline issued by Reuters paints a high-level picture of the negative direction that Pope Benedict XVI has led the Catholic church vis a vis the Jews.
  • He refused to open the Vatican's WW II archives.
  • He proposed to make Pius XII into a saint.
  • He restored antisemitic prayers to the Good Friday liturgy.
  • His Cardinal accused Israel of making Gaza into a "concentration camp."
  • He lifted the excommunication of a Holocaust denying bishop, then appeared to backpedal.
It boggles our imagination that we Jews are still on square one with this Pope. We have no expectation that he will move forward in the right direction. He is firmly stuck in reverse gear in all respects. From Reuters:
2005 - New Pope Benedict XVI visits the Cologne synagogue. The appeal by the head of the Jewish community there to open all Vatican archives concerning World War Two shows that Pius XII remains an obstacle on the road to reconciliation. Pope John Paul had put Pius on the road to sainthood.

December 2007 - Moves to make Pius a saint are delayed as Benedict has said he wants to review older documents from World War Two and study new ones that have come to light.

February 2008 - Pope Benedict orders changes to a Latin prayer used by traditionalist Catholics for Jews at Good Friday services. Jews criticized the new version because it still says they should recognize Jesus Christ as the savior of all men and it keeps an underlying call to conversion.

November 2008 - Benedict pays tribute to Pius XII. Benedict has so far not approved a decree making him a saint, opting instead for what the Vatican has called a period of reflection.

January 2009 - Israel criticizes Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace, after he criticized Israel over its offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip, calling it a "big concentration camp".

-- Elia Enrico Richetti, chief rabbi of Venice, announces a boycott of the Church's annual celebration of Judaism, saying decisions by Benedict are negating years of interfaith progress.

-- The pope lifts the excommunication of four traditionalist bishops, thrown out of the Church in 1988 for being ordained without Vatican permission. The four bishops lead the ultra-conservative Society of Saint Pius X, which has rejected modernization of Roman Catholic worship and doctrine.

-- One of the four bishops, British-born Richard Williamson, has made several statements denying the extent of the Holocaust.

-- In late January Pope Benedict tried to heal the rift by expressing his "full and unquestionable solidarity" with Jews.

February 2009 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel calls on Bavarian-born Pope Benedict to make clear he did not tolerate any denial of the Holocaust in unusually strong words, which draws a sharp response from the Vatican.

-- The Vatican orders Williamson to publicly recant his views if he wants to serve as a prelate in the Church.

-- World Jewish leaders tell Vatican officials that denying the Holocaust was "not an opinion but a crime" when they meet to discuss Williamson and his views.

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