Rabbi Speaks Before Vatican Synod
It's been a while since I spoke about my beloved, Benedict XVI. Here is a small blogpost to rectify that.
One of the best things about Pope Benedict, is that he has continued the warm relationship forged by John Paul the Great towards the Jewish community. In fact, the Chief Rabbi of Haifa became the first rabbi to speak before a Vatican Synod this Monday.
Don't think he had only honeyed words for the assembled clergymen. He chastised the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Pius XIII, for their restraint in speaking out and not helping to prevent the Holocaust.
Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen was unflinching in his criticism:
Cohen said that in his speech he planned to make an indirect reference to Jewish disappointment about Pius as well as an appeal to all religious leaders to denounce Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Last month Pope Benedict forcefully defended Pius, saying he "spared no effort" on behalf of Jews during World War II.
Some Jews maintain Pius did not do enough to save Jews while the Vatican says he worked behind the scenes to help because more direct intervention would have worsened the situation.
"He may have helped in secrecy many of the victims and many of the refugees but the question is 'could he have raised his voice and would it have helped or not?'" Cohen said.
"We, as the victims, feel yes. I am not empowered by the families of the millions of deceased to say 'we forget, we forgive,'" said Cohen, who is chief rabbi of Haifa in Israel.
Pope Benedict's very religious parents were adamantly anti-Nazi, and his father even suffered as a consequence of this attitude -- one which was owed almost entirely to his strong Catholic faith.
Nevertheless, I am sure Pope Benedict understood the pain many Jews feel about this time, and as you can see, there were no hard feelings after the address.
It's good to vent amongst friends.