On the eve of Pope John Paul II’s historic trip to Israel, scheduled for March 20-26, the Vatican is offering the world several apologies for sins committed by Christians over the past 2,000 years, including its treatment of Jews.
The “apologies” stem from a campaign by John Paul for a collective examination of conscience as the Church begins its third millennium.
The Pope has made repentance and reconciliation a theme of this Holy Year observance.
Prague, Czech Republic — Under gray, rainy skies, dozens of curious onlookers huddled together Wednesday to watch the unveiling of a new addition to the gleaming centuries-old crucifixion statue overlooking the historic Charles Bridge — the first in more than 300 years.
And some hope it could signal improved relations between the city’s Christians and its small, struggling Jewish community.
Polish and American Jewish leaders say last week’s “Mr. Pope” incident between Poland’s chief rabbi and Pope John Paul II has damaged Jewish-Catholic relations in Poland, and could undermine negotiations involving the controversial Auschwitz cross.
And adding to the Auschwitz cross controversy is Riverdale Rabbi Avi Weiss, who on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council in Washington for violating his First Amendment rights by barring him from speaking at this week’s biannual board meeting.
The Vatican’s top liaison to Jews has strongly criticized “Jewish agencies” for damaging Catholic-Jewish relations with “aggressive attitudes” against the Church, and has declared that the premier Jewish international interfaith umbrella group is dead.
In a defiant statement, the Vatican has rejected U.S. government appeals to open its secret World War II archives, The Jewish Week has learned. The development is expected to heighten tensions between the Holy See and world Jewish community leaders, experts said.
“It’s disgraceful,” declared Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress of the Vatican’s position, contained in a bold three-page declaration selectively distributed at a Holocaust conference in Washington last week.
Passover is a time of stories.
In the Haggadah we tell the story of the Jewish people, and at the seder table the people often tell their own stories.
More than any other time in the Jewish cycle of holidays, Passover spurs stories — of preparing for yom tov, of memories at the seder, of lessons learned at school.
Yaffa Eliach, Holocaust survivor-author-historian, first learned of a Polish priest named Karol Wojtyla some 30 years ago while working on her book "Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust." Wojtyla after World War II had refused to baptize a Jewish infant who had been put in the care of a Catholic by his parents, Holocaust victims. Wojtyla told the Catholic woman: Don't baptize him, but return the infant to his Jewish relatives.
Eliach told the story of the priest, who later became Pope John Paul II, in her book.
Following the 26-year papacy of the Church's first Polish pope, who made historic overtures to the Jewish community, the identity and background of the next pope is of particular interest to Jews. Will the 265th pope continue the pro-Jewish policies of John Paul II, reverse them, or concentrate on other theological and political areas?
A man who likes extinct languages, Mel Gibson had a chance to practice his Latin this summer — he made several mea culpas.
Following his drunken, sexist, profane, anti-Semitic tirade in Malibu in July, the actor-director apologized to the police officers who arrested him. He apologized in a general public statement for saying “despicable” things. He apologized “specifically to everyone in the Jewish community,” to “those who have been hurt and offended by those words.”
Following weeks of international Jewish-Catholic disputes over a controversial Good Friday prayer, Jewish and Catholic leaders in this country are looking for a good Friday, preceded by a good Thursday — days when Pope Benedict XVI has scheduled meetings with the Jewish community — to restore the improving tenor of interfaith dialogue.