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Rabbi of Haifa “We accept the hand the pope has extended”

2010-01-26

Shear Yashuv Cohen
Chief Rabbi of Haifa

“I was present with my colleagues of the Committee on the days during the visit to express our desire to accept the hand that is fresh out to be friendly and affection and good relationship with us.”

During his visit, the pope confirmed and reinforced the privileged dialogue his predecessors had with the Jewish community. He recalled the doctrine of the Second Vatican Council and repeated the condemnation of any anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism. The pope echoed John Paul II’s apologies for the sins committed in the past by Catholics. Gestures that the representative of the Chief Rabbinate appreciated.

Shear Yashuv Cohen
Chief Rabbi of Haifa

“I must say that there has been several steps that made it doubtful if the present leadership of the Church continues in the footsteps of his predecessors Question of the Latin prayer, the declaration of Mr Williamson that the Pope himself told us in march that it was a mistake.”

The latest episode making difficulties in the relationship between Catholics and the Jewish community, came after the pope proclaimed Pius XII “venerable”, a step before the late-pontiffs’ beatification.

Pius XII was pope during World War II. The Vatican has defended Pius XII’s discreet public role during that time as an effort to secretly save the lives of as many Jews as possible. The Vatican says Pius XII opened the doors of the Vatican, convents and religious homes to Jews fleeing persecution.

Shear Yashuv Cohen
Chief Rabbi of Haifa

“Many feel that the Archives of the Vatican that are going to be opened on 2014 should prove it before that step is taken, otherwise there will be those who feel it’s a mistake. I want to stress it’s an internal matter of the Catholic Church, we cannot interfere. But our feelings are that way.”

Either way, the rabbi insists that the Jewish and Christian communities have more things in common than they do differences. That’s why, the Bilateral Commission of the Catholic Church and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel has come together on 9 occasions to resolve the differences.

Shear Yashuv Cohen
Chief Rabbi of Haifa

“We went a long way, there’s still a long way to continue on, We have to examine ourselves, the other side should examinee its actions. I believe that there should be no prayers for ask to change, no prayers for us to change others, and we should look for common roots and bear flag of peace not only in the Holy Land but also all over the world.”

At Rome’s synagogue, the pope laid out his proposal to the Jewish community, which includes three areas of collaboration: to remind the world that God exists to protect life and promote traditional marriage-areas of collaboration that could help break down centuries of difficulties.

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