The Vatican

Can Pope Benedict soothe pain over Pius beatification?

By Simon Rocker, September 2, 2010

The proposed beatification of controversial wartime Pope Pius XII has shadowed Catholic-Jewish relations for more than 40 years.

Critics of Pius, who died in 1958, accuse him of having failed to use his influence to speak out on behalf of Europe's Jews as the Nazis closed in.


Analysis: It's been a bumpy road, but this Pope wants to be our ally

By Ed Kessler, September 2, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI started his papacy in 2005, expressing a desire to follow in the footsteps of John Paul II, for whom reconciliation with Jews and Judaism was a high priority. Since then, Catholic-Jewish relations have not received as much Vatican attention although they continue to face significant challenges.


Minister calms fears over Equality Bill

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2010

Mike Foster, the Equalities Minister, moved to reassure the Board of Deputies this week after the Pope attacked Britain’s anti-discrimination laws for threatening religious freedom.

Jon Benjamin, the Board’s chief executive, said that the minister had called him to reiterate the government’s belief that the Equality Bill, currently under debate in the Lords, would do no more than consolidate existing legislation.


Analysis: The Pope had no chance of keeping everyone happy

By Uri Dromi, May 14, 2009

When Pope Benedict XVI left the Holy Land, he probably felt like that woman who applied for a new job. “I see you were last employed by a psychiatrist,” said the employer to the applicant. “Why did you leave?” “Well,” she replied, “I just couldn’t win. If I was late to work, I was hostile. If I was early, I had an anxiety complex. If I was on time, I was compulsive.”


Pope will achieve nothing, say Israelis

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 7, 2009

Israel will see little benefit from Pope Benedict XVI’s visit next week, say senior Israeli officials.

The Pope will land in Tel Aviv on Monday for a five-day “pilgrimage” to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The much heralded visit has become a political, financial and security nightmare for many of those involved in organising it.


Pope meets Chief Rabbinate

March 26, 2009

Holocaust studies may become a required subject in Catholic schools following a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and representatives of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel at the Vatican. The Jewish delegation said the move could help stamp out antisemitism in the future.


Pope: I should have Googled rogue bishop

March 19, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI has expanded on his controversial decision to lift the 1988 excommunication of four bishops, including Holocaust-denier Richard Williamson.

“The discreet gesture of mercy towards four bishops...suddenly appeared as something completely different: as the repudiation of reconciliation between Christians and Jews,” the Pope wrote in a letter to bishops.

He admits that “consulting the information available on the internet” would have helped “perceive the problem early on” and pledged to use the internet more in the future.


Rabbis to heal rift with Pope

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 12, 2009

A visit to Rome by members of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate this weekend is intended to heal the rift between the Vatican and the Jewish world.

The eighth annual meeting of the Bilateral Commission of the Vatican and the Chief Rabbinate had been cancelled by the Israelis after Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of a group of renegade bishops, including Richard Williamson, a Holocaust denier.

Jewish organisations have accused the Vatican establishment and the Pope himself of turning a blind eye to Bishop Williamson’s statements.


Wartime pope’s secret heroism

By Simon Caldwell, February 26, 2009

Documents that show the wartime pope saved tens of thousands of European Jews from the Nazis have been discovered in the Vatican’s

The 300 pages reveal that Pope Pius XII directly ordered convents, monasteries and Catholic churches to hide Jews from the Gestapo.

He also helped Jews to escape to safe countries, requesting the Brazilian government to receive 3,000 “non-Aryans” and persuading the Dominican Republic to grant visas for a further 11,000 people.


Board outraged at Vatican

By Bernard Josephs, February 19, 2009

The reinstatement by the Pope of a Holocaust-denying bishop has been condemned as an “outrage” by the Board of Deputies.

A resolution passed at Sunday’s meeting reflected communal anger at the lifting of the excommunication of the British-born ultra-traditionalist Bishop Richard Williamson. The clergyman contends that the Holocaust was a Jewish invention and that “only” up to 300,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis.

The motion was proposed by former board president Lionel Kopelowitz, who said that a text of the resolution would be sent to the Vatican.