Bumpy Start for New Liaison to Jews

The new head of the Vatican agency responsible for relations with Jews, Cardinal Kurt Koch, told an audience gathered at Seton Hall University in New Jersey on Oct. 30 that many Jews approve of the potential canonization of Pope Pius XII; that the long-demanded opening of the Vatican’s Holocaust-era archives would not shed more light on Pius’s Nazi-era actions; and that Jews can look upon the cross as “the definitive Yom Kippur.” The statements were met with either blank expressions or grumbling from the audience of about 60 rabbis, priests, theologians and specialists in interfaith dialogue. Rabbi Eric Greenberg, director of interfaith affairs for the Anti-Defamation League, said the cardinal’s opinions raised issues that demonstrate “the continuing challenges facing Catholic-Jewish relations.”

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