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5/26/2009 2:00 AM
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A World Jewish Ccngress news release on an event reported by the wire agencies a few days ago, praising the Pope's Israel trip, has more interesting details not reported earlier, particularly the one that has to do with Pius XII.

World Jewish Congress grateful
for the Pope's visit to Israel;
Cardinal Bertone invites them
to start studying open Pius XII archives

25 May 2009

During a meeting with Vatican cardinal-secretary of state, Tarcisio Bertone, in Rome, World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder has expressed gratitude for Pope Benedict’s visit to the Holy Land last week.

He said that despite being a complicated trip, its outcome had been positive and was a milestone for strengthening mutual understanding between Christians and Jews.

Lauder added that any decision or statement touching upon the sensitive issue of the Holocaust had to be made with great care. Responding to the Jewish leaders, Cardinal Bertone said the Church recognized the unique nature of the Holocaust.

Bertone also made it clear that there was no place in the institutions of the church for Holocaust deniers such as Bishop Williamson.

The cardinal-secretary of state invited the World Jewish Congress leaders and Jewish scholars to cooperate in the examination of the private archives of Pope Pius XII for the period prior to 1939, and said that the Vatican was making progress in working to have everything in place to make available Pius’s papers of the crucial period 1939 to 1945 to historians.

Ronald Lauder was accompanied by other members of the WJC Executive, including Governing Board chairman Eduardo Elsztain, treasurer Cobi Benatoff, secretary-general Michael Schneider, European Congress president Moshe Kantor, Euro-Asian Jewish Congress president Alexander Machkevitch, Latin American Jewish Congress president Jack Terpins, and WJC Israel chairman Shai Hermesh.

Cardinal Bertone said the Vatican was looking forward to further strengthening ties between Judaism and the Church. The Jewish leaders reiterated that the challenges of the future could only be tackled if inter-faith dialogue is reinforced and its benefits are well communicated to the wider world.

“We must strive together to ensure that freedom of religion is respected everywhere in the world and religion not used to justify extremism and terror,” Lauder stated.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 5/26/2009 2:14 PM]
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