Pope Benedict Visits Rome Synagogue

Laying a wreath at a memorial to Roman Jews rounded up by the Nazis in 1943 and joining in a standing ovation to a dwindling group of still living Holocaust survivors, Pope Benedict XVI broke the ice with Rome’s Jewish community even before he began to speak. The pope made his first visit to Rome’s main synagogue Jan. 17, strongly affirming the Catholic Church’s commitment to improving Catholic-Jewish relations, its respect and appreciation for Jewish faith, its condemnation of anti-Semitism and his own hope that Catholics and Jews can work together to bring biblical values back to society. Pope Benedict began by telling 1,500 people packed into the synagogue that he came to “confirm and deepen” the dialogue and to demonstrate “the esteem and the affection which the bishop and the church of Rome, as well as the entire Catholic Church, have towards this community and all Jewish communities around the world.” But he also responded to a widespread impression within the Jewish community, especially the community in Rome, that Pope Pius XII did not do enough to speak out against the Holocaust.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

How unfortunate that the arts are caught in the cross-hairs of a ruptured and increasingly misguided political system.
Mark Bosco, S.J. March 28, 2017
The education plan for deportees represents one of the first attempts by the Mexican government to pushback against the policies of the new occupant of the White House.
Jan-Albert HootsenMarch 28, 2017
Me wanting a gang member to have a different life would never be the same as that gang member wanting to have one.
Greg Boyle, S.J.March 28, 2017
President Donald J. Trump’s executive order to repeal key policies meant to curb global warming is a direct contradiction of Catholic social teaching on caring for the environment.
Wyatt MasseyMarch 28, 2017