Criticised Israeli ambassador backtracks on rare praise of Pope Pius XII

June 26, 2011

(Photo exhibit critical of Pius XII at at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, 15 April 2007/Yonathan Weitzman)

Jewish leaders dismayed over Pius XII comments in pope book

November 21, 2010

piusJewish leaders reacted with dismay Sunday to comments in Pope Benedict’s new book that his wartime predecessor Pius was a “great, righteous” man who “saved more Jews than anyone else.”

Selected quotes from new book by Pope Benedict

November 21, 2010

pope massHere are some quotes from the English translation of Pope Benedict’s new book, “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Sign of the Times”. The book, in question and answer format with the German Catholic journalist Peter Seewald, is due to be published on Tuesday in several languages.

Condoms, Pius XII, sex abuse and other main points in pope book

November 20, 2010

benedictPope Benedict says in a new book, Light of the World, that condoms may be used in certain limited cases to prevent the spread of AIDS. He also addressed several issues facing the Church in the book, which is based on a long interview with German Catholic journalist Peter Seewald.

Theologians, historians urge Benedict to slow Pius XII saint process

February 18, 2010
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Undated photo of Pope Pius XII from the archives of the Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano

Visiting synagogues is not getting easier for Pope Benedict

January 17, 2010
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Pope Benedict at Rome's main synagogue, 17 Jan 2010/Osservatore Romano

Visiting synagogues is not getting any easier for Pope Benedict.

Today’s meeting with Rome’s Jewish community was the third time he has entered a synagogue, which is a kind of a papal record considering that his predecessor Pope John Paul — probably the first pope to do so since Saint Peter two millennia ago — made only one such visit himself.

Pope’s synagogue visit splits Italy’s Jews over stand on Pius XII

January 16, 2010
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Rome synagogue, 7 July 2008/Jensens

Deep splits have appeared in Italy’s Jewish community just before Pope Benedict makes his first visit to Rome’s synagogue, with at least one senior rabbi and one Holocaust survivor announcing a boycott.  The row revolves around the pontiff’s decision last month to raise nearer to sainthood wartime Pope Pius XII, who many Jews say did not do enough to help Jews facing persecution by Nazi Germany, a position the Vatican rejects.

Rome’s chief rabbi says only God can judge Pius XII on Holocaust

January 14, 2010
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Pope Pius XII in an undated file photo from the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano

Who wrote the pope’s speeches for this trip?

May 13, 2009

pope-wall-speechWho wrote Pope Benedict’s speeches for this trip? Why do his speeches to Muslims hit the spot and those to Jews seem to fall short? Does he have two teams of speechwriters, one more attuned to the audience than the other?

The pope and the Holocaust: Regensburg redux?

January 27, 2009

The uproar over traditionalist Bishop Richard Williamson and his denial of the Holocaust highlights an open secret here in Rome: Vatican departments don’t talk to each much, or at least as much as they should. The pope appears to have decided to lift the 1988 excommunication of four schismatic bishops of the SSPX (including Williamson) without the wide consultation that it may have merited. The Christian Unity department, which also oversees relations with Jews, was apparently kept out of the loop. The head of the office, Cardinal Walter Kasper, told The New York Times it was the pope’s decision. Kasper’s office and the Vatican press office, headed by Father Federico Lombardi, were clearly not prepared for the media onslaught that followed the discovery of Williamson’s views denying the Holocaust.