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Pope Benedict XVI visits synagogue, warns of rising anti-Semitism and xenophobia
Sioux City ^ | August 20, 2005

Posted on 08/20/2005 10:52:43 AM PDT by NYer

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) -- German-born Pope Benedict XVI on Friday became the second pope to visit a synagogue, entering to the haunting tones of a ram's horn, praying before a Holocaust memorial and lamenting a rise in anti-Semitism.

"We need to show respect for one another and to love one another," Benedict said, pressing a theme of interfaith understanding that has marked his first foreign trip as pope.

The hourlong stop, for which Cologne's Jews stood and applauded, was filled with significance for the 78-year-old Benedict, who grew up in Nazi Germany. He called those times "the darkest period of German and European history."

He made no mention of his own trials, when he was enrolled in the Hitler Youth as a teenager and later deserted from the German army near the end of the war.

But his spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, called the stop at the blue-domed Roonstrasse Synagogue "an event of historic significance -- a German pope, who was on his first official trip, himself took the initiative for the visit."

Rabbi Netanel Teitlebaum held up his right hand, extending it as the "hand of Jewish friendship," and the pope warmly grasped it.

Speaking in a synagogue rebuilt after being destroyed by the Nazis, Benedict said that "today, sadly, we are witnessing the rise of new signs of anti-Semitism and various forms of a general hostility toward foreigners."

He did not elaborate, but Europe especially has witnessed increasing hate crimes in recent years.

Benedict began the visit by standing quietly with his hands clasped during a Hebrew prayer before a memorial to the 6 million Jews killed by Nazi Germany during World War II -- 11,000 of them from Cologne.

Then he strode into the main hall as the choir sang, "shalom alechem," or "peace be with you." A shofar, or ram's horn, sounded as the pope sat down at the front. He listened intently as the cantor sang.

The pope underlined his commitment to the interfaith goals of his predecessor, John Paul II, who made the first papal visit to a synagogue in Rome in 1986, worked to improve relations between Catholics and Jews and established diplomatic ties with Israel.

"Today I, too, wish to reaffirm that I intend to continue on the path toward improved relations and friendship with the Jewish people, following the decisive lead given by John Paul II," said Benedict, who did much of the theological groundwork for John Paul's outreach while serving as a Vatican official in charge of doctrine.

Outreach to Jews and Muslims is one of the themes of Benedict's first foreign trip as pope in conjunction with World Youth Day, a Roman Catholic festival that has drawn more than 400,000 young people from 197 countries to Cologne. He planned to meet with Muslim leaders Saturday.

He met with Protestant leaders Friday evening, repeating his commitment in the land where the Reformation began to make Christian unity a priority of his pontificate.

But Benedict added that there are differences in ethical positions that undermine expectations for a common response from Christians. He did not go into any details.

Repeating a point from his synagague visit, the pope said that "there can be no dialogue at the expense of truth." He said efforts for closer relations must be pursued "in fidelity to the dictates of one's conscience."

Progress has been made between peoples, but "much more remains to be done," Benedict said at the synagogue. "We must come to know one another much more and much better."

The visit did bring out some of the troubled history between Catholics and Jews.

In welcoming the pope, synagogue president Abraham Lehrer urged Benedict to fully open the Vatican's World War II archives -- a period during which some Jews claim Pope Pius XII did not do enough to stave off the Holocaust. The Vatican denies that and has begun releasing some documents.

But Benedict's visit also appeared to have helped smooth over a dispute between the Vatican and Israel that arose after the Israeli government faulted Benedict for not mentioning attacks on Israelis in a recent condemnation of terrorism. The Vatican responded with a terse statement asking the Israelis not to tell the pope what to say.

Abraham Lehrer, a member of the synagogue board, said the controversy "did not cast any shadow over the synagogue visit."

He noted the presence in the front row of Israel's ambassador to Germany, Shimon Stein, calling that "a sign that the controversy has been overcome." Stein was introduced to the pope.

Benedict's remarks focused on the horror of the Holocaust, the common heritage of Christians and Jews, and the need for better relations to prevent such atrocities from ever happening again.

"In the 20th Century, in the darkest period of German and European history, an insane racist ideology, born of neo-paganism, gave rise to the attempt, planned and systematically carried out by the regime, to exterminate European Jewry," he said. "The result has passed into history as the Shoah," he said, using the Hebrew term for the Holocaust.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Germany; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: antisemitism; b16; benedictxvi; cologne; pope; shoah; synagogue; vatican

Pope Benedict is welcomed on the steps of the Cologne synagogue by local rabbi Netanel Teitelbaum (R) August 19, 2005. Pope Benedict on Friday entered the Cologne synagogue, that was destroyed by the Nazis during the anti-Jewish Crystal Night riots in 1938 and rebuilt in 1959, becoming only the second pontiff since the early days of the Roman Catholic Church some 2,000 years go to visit a Jewish temple. (Federico Gambarini/Pool/Reuters)

The oldest member of the Jewish congregation in Cologne, Ernst Simon (92), front center, is introduced to Pope Benedict XVI in a synagogue in Cologne, Germany, Friday, Aug 19, 2005. Pope Benedict XVI on Friday became the second Pope to visit a synagogue, stopping to pray and remember Holocaust victims with Cologne's Jewish community. (AP Photo/Oliver Berg, pool)


1 posted on 08/20/2005 10:52:44 AM PDT by NYer
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...

Pope Benedict holds a shofar he received from members of the Jewish community as he visits a synagogue in Cologne August 19, 2005. Pope Benedict, making a historic visit on Friday to a synagogue once destroyed by the Nazis, said Christians and Jews must join forces so the 'insane racist ideology' that led to the Holocaust never resurfaces. (GERMANY OUT) REUTERS/KNA/Wolfgang Radtke

Catholic Ping
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list

2 posted on 08/20/2005 10:54:49 AM PDT by NYer ("Each person is meant to exist. Each person is God's own idea." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: NYer

Third pope. I think St. Peter was in one or two synagogues.

3 posted on 08/20/2005 11:21:17 AM PDT by GAB-1955 (Proudly confusing editors and readers since 1981!)
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To: NYer; Alouette; SJackson

thank you"NYer"

4 posted on 08/20/2005 12:24:21 PM PDT by anonymoussierra (Nie bądź pochopny w duchu do gniewu, bo gniew przebywa w piersi głupców)
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To: GAB-1955

But it's been awhile . . .

5 posted on 08/20/2005 12:42:34 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: NYer
Speaking in a synagogue rebuilt after being destroyed by the Nazis, Benedict said that "today, sadly, we are witnessing the rise of new signs of anti-Semitism and various forms of a general hostility toward foreigners."

The thing's mainly "foreigners" who are the disseminators of anti-Semitism in Europe these days. Not always, of course, but mostly. So, much of the hostility isn't necessarily towards foreigners in the abstract, but towards the anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, misogynistic, and frankly misanthropic, culture said foreigners are importing from various Muslim-majority areas.

6 posted on 08/20/2005 3:31:06 PM PDT by B Knotts
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To: Claud

In the first photo, Cardinal Kasper is grinning behind Pope Benedict XVI.

7 posted on 08/20/2005 5:49:15 PM PDT by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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To: NYer

"If you reach out to Muslims your hand will be bitten"
Ancient Chinese Proverb.
Maybe the pope should consider some chain-mail gloves!

8 posted on 08/20/2005 5:54:46 PM PDT by claptrap (optional tagline under re-consideration)
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To: NYer

Very nice. Thanks for the link as well.

9 posted on 08/20/2005 5:55:52 PM PDT by Victoria Delsoul
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