After weeks of controversy which jeopardized Catholic-Jewish relations, Benedict XVI met with a group of American Jews.
Without mentioning the uproar over the comments of Lefebvrist bishop Richard Williamson, the Pope spoke out strongly against the Holocaust and the people who deny it happened.
Benedict XVI The hatred and contempt for men, women and children that was manifested in the Shoah was a crime against God and against humanity. This should be clear to everyone, especially to those standing in the tradition of the Holy Scriptures, according to which every human being is created in the image and likeness of God. It is beyond question that any denial or minimization of this terrible crime is intolerable and altogether unacceptable.
The Pope also expressed solidarity and sorrow for victims of the Holocaust, drawing from his own experience visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp early in his papacy. He also said it is necessary to learn from the lessons of history.
Benedict XVI To remember is to do everything in our power to prevent any recurrence of such a catastrophe within the human family by building bridges of lasting friendship. It is my fervent prayer that the memory of this appalling crime will strengthen our determination to heal the wounds that for too long have sullied relations between Christians and Jews.
Benedict XVI also tackled another issue set off by the Williamson controversy: the relationship between Jews and Catholics as defined in the Second Vatican Council. He reaffirmed that Nostra Aetate was still the definitive document on Catholic-Jewish relations, one which was not recognized by the Lefebvrists.