Timeline – Ups and downs in recent Catholic-Jewish relations
Senior officials from the Roman Catholic Church and international Jewish groups met on Monday in Paris to review relations after 40 years of sometimes difficult dialogue.
Following is a timeline of the ups and downs in Catholic-Jewish relations since the first papal visit to Israel.
1964 – Pope Paul VI is the first modern pope to visit the Holy Land. During the visit he avoids using the word Israel, which the Vatican did not recognise at the time.
1965 – The Second Vatican Council issues a document, “Nostra Aetate” (“In Our Times“), renouncing anti-Semitism and rejecting the idea of collective Jewish guilt for the death of Jesus.
1971 – The International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee holds the first of its biannual meetings in Paris.
1986 – Pope John Paul II visits Rome’s synagogue, becoming the first pope in nearly 2,000 years to visit a Jewish place of worship and saying Jews are “our beloved elder brothers”.
1994 – Vatican and Israel forge full diplomatic ties after almost 2,000 years of Christian-Jewish hostility.
1998 – Vatican apologises for Catholics who failed to help Jews against Nazi persecution but also defends wartime Pope Pius XII from accusations that he ignored the Holocaust. Jews welcome the document but say it fails to account adequately for the role of Catholic teachings in promoting anti-Semitism.
2000 – Pope John Paul visits Israel and its Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and prays at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.
2005 – Pope Benedict, who was enrolled by force into the Hitler Youth as a boy, visits a Cologne synagogue. Jewish leaders urge the Vatican to open all its wartime archives.
2008 – Pope Benedict approves a prayer for traditionalist Good Friday services that Jews say calls for their conversion.
2009 – Benedict lifts the excommunication of four traditionalist bishops, one of whom denies the Holocaust. This leads to an outcry and deep rift with Jews, with whom Benedict expresses his “full and unquestionable solidarity.”
— In a major trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories in May, Benedict visits Yad Vashem, prays at the Western Wall and distances himself from Holocaust deniers.
2010 – Benedict visits the Rome Synagogue in January and hears renewed criticism of Pius XII. In November, Jewish leaders react negatively to comments in the pontiff’s new book that his wartime predecessor Pius was a “great, righteous”man who “saved more Jews than anyone else”.
2011 – In February, Vatican and senior world Jewish officials meet in Paris to review 40 years of dialogue.
by David Cutler