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

The new cardinals named by Pope Francis come from El Salvador, Laos, Mali, Spain and Sweden.
Gerard O'ConnellMay 21, 2017
Illinois is one of about 35 states that have “revenge laws” that prohibit anyone from publicly disseminating intimate or embarrassing content about others without their consent.
Judith ValenteMay 19, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump and Pope Francis are seen in this composite photo. The two leaders are scheduled to meet at the Vatican May 24 (CNS photos/Reuters and Paul Haring).
The pope and the president have something of a history, but do not expect fireworks.
When you replace “God” with “Dog” in a lot of Bible verses, they became startlingly apt commentary.
Emily KahmMay 19, 2017