|New York - February 12, 2009 - AJC welcomed Pope Benedict XVI's clear and|
unambiguous denunication of Holocaust denial during a major meeting with
American Jewish leaders at the Vatican.
The meeting, convened by the Conference of Presidents of Major American
Jewish Organizations, followed the controversy over statements denying the
Holocaust by Richard Williamson, a conservative Bishop who was
excommunicated by the late Pope John Paul II.
"The Pope's condemnation of Holocaust denial and deniers was absolutely
unequivocal," said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC's International Director of
Interreligious Affairs, who attended the meeting. "Pope Benedict made it
clear that there is no place for Holocaust deniers in the Catholic Church."
Rabbi Rosen noted: "What was especially significant was that Pope Benedict,
at our meeting, read out the text of repentance composed by Pope John Paul
II for sins committed against the Jews down the ages. He then stated, 'I
make this prayer my own.'"
The Pope's remarks today follow his statement of February 4 demanding that
Bishop Williamson renounce his advocacy of Holocaust denial before being
invited back into the Catholic Church.
"What we heard today was an important reaffirmation of the Holy See's
commitment to advancing Catholic-Jewish relations on the historic
foundations laid by Pope Benedict's predecessors," Rabbi Rosen concluded.