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5/21/2009 12:30 AM
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World Jewish Congress praises
Pope Benedict's trip to Israel

ROME, May 20 (dpa) - The World Jewish Congress on Wednesday praised last week trip by Pope Benedict XVI to Israel, calling the visit a "milestone" for understanding between Christians and Jews.

The umbrella organization for Jewish communities around the world made the statement after talks in Rome with the Vatican's Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone on the state of Catholic-Jewish relations.

In January of this year, Benedict came in for fierce criticism for his decision to rescind the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop, Richard Williamson.

The Vatican later said Williamson, who was not excommunicated for Holocaust denial, could not be accepted back [as a bishop] into the mainstream Catholic Church unless he renounced his views on the subject.

Cardinal Bertone confirmed this stance Wednesday, saying that there was no place in the Church for Holocaust deniers. [Not in the Church hierarchy, at any rate, because how can it keep out Catholics who take fringe positions on anything, any more than it can keep out dissenters and non-observant Catholics for their liberal views ?]

The Pope in a visit to the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial Centre in Jerusalem, issued a clear denunciation of Holocaust denial.

Headquartered in New York City, the WJC represents Jewish communities and organizations in 92 countries.

Bravo for the WJC, and three cheers and more for the Holy Father!

Most of the MSM were skeptical before the trip not only whether it would be a 'success' but whether the Pope would be able to avoid exacerbating tensions with Muslims and Arabs over well-publicized 'controversies' in the past, in fact, if he could 'avoid setting off a war', in John Allen's unkind and uncalled-for hyperbole.

This skepticism colored their reporting while the Pope was in the Holy Land and the initial instant analyses of the visit. The verdict of the World Jewish Congress insofar as mainstream Jewry is concerned is a most welcome validation of how Benedict XVI, against all odds and bets stacked against him, actually scored an unusual diplomatic triple play.

An anslysis in Le Monde on May 16 and quite a few that have since come out in the Italian media are in the same more than positive vein. Will translate as soon as I can.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 5/21/2009 12:40 AM]
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