Catholics and Jews Renew Dialogue on Pius XII

Affirm Solidarity With Benedict XVI

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By Jesús Colina

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 29, 2010 ( Catholic and Jewish representatives have re-launched a dialogue, interrupted in 2001, on the figure of Pope Pius XII and his relationship with the people of Israel, particularly during the Holocaust.

At the end of Wednesday’s general audience Benedict XVI greeted representatives who are in Rome for a meeting organized by the Pave the Way Foundation.

The founder of this organization, New York Jew Gary Krupp, explained to ZENIT that the audience with the Pope was attended by rabbis and representatives of Jewish communities from the United States, Israel, Australia and Switzerland «who wished to stand in solidarity shoulder to shoulder with the Catholic Church and the Holy Father» during «the attacks against the Church and His Holiness by an over-zealous media.»

The meeting, which continued with the questions that the International Catholic-Jewish Historical intended to address in 2001, had an academic character with the participation of several rabbis, but was not an official representation.

The commission was originally appointed in 1999 by the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, and consisted of three Jewish and three Catholic scholars. 

They reviewed the Vatican documents concerning Pope Pius XII and submitted a report in 2000 with 47 questions regarding the Holy See’s response to the Holocaust.

However, due to disagreement and conflicting viewpoints, the group was disbanded in 2001.

Now, in a two-day debate session that began April 23, answers were given to those 47 questions posed in 2000.

Those who responded to the questions were Jesuit Father Peter Gumpel, historian and relator to the cause  of beatification of Pius XII; Matteo Napolitano, professor of the history of international relations (University of Molise, Italy); Andrea Tornielli, Vatican expert from the daily «Il Giornale;» Ronald Rychlak, law professor at Mississippi State University; and Michael Hesemann, German historian and writer.

All the answers were fully recorded by H2O News and will be given to the Yad Vashem Commission, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, and will be available on the Pave the Way Foundation Web site.


Krupp reported to ZENIT: «We also discussed the Holy See endorsing a family-based initiative of dedicating Friday night dinner with the family. Here two hours will be dedicated to the children. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Pave the Way Foundation are promoting this initiative dedicated to the family.»

At the Papal audience David Victor, the chairman of AIPAC, an American Israeli organization, spoke to the Holy Father and asked him to issue remarks condemning the Iranian regime’s denial of the Holocaust and its efforts to develop an atomic bomb. The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, declared, during a 2005 speech, that Israel must be «wiped off the map.» 

The representatives also met with Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, which oversees the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.

In that meeting, Krupp spoke about the loud and dedicated condemnation of Adolf Hitler and National Socialism by Pope Pius XII from the very beginning, noting that it should serve as an example of how the Holy See can respond to a modern day Hitler.

Krupp concluded, «This was a very important day in Rome for our group.»

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