Skip to comments.Jewish Leader Wants Honor for John XXIII - Pope Should Be Declared "Righteous Among the Nations"
Posted on 11/06/2008 11:15:55 AM PST by NYer
ROME, NOV. 4, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The founder of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation wants Pope John XXIII to receive the honorary title given to those who took extraordinary measures to save Jews from the Holocaust.
Baruch Tenembaum is proposing that the Italian Pope be given the title "Righteous Among the Nations" by the Yad Vashem.
"If we fail to declare Pope John XXIII as 'Righteous Among the Nations,' our kids will be the ones who will do that," Tenembaum said.
The Jewish leader's appeal comes as the Church has just marked the 50th anniversary of John XXIII's election to the See of Peter, on Oct. 28, 1958.
Tenembaum noted that before being elected Pope, Bishop Angelo Roncalli "interceded in favor of the Bulgarian Jews before King Boris of Bulgaria and he did the same before the government of Turkey in favor of the Jewish refuges that had escaped to their country. He also did everything possible to prevent the deportation of Jews from Greece and he became a source of information for the Vatican as far as the annihilation of millions of Jews of Poland and Eastern Europe was concerned."
"During the time he was stationed as the apostolic delegate of the Vatican in Istanbul in 1944, he organized the rescue of Jews and other people who were persecuted by the Nazis," he continued. "Thanks to his actions, thousands of people who were condemned to death had their lives saved. His deeds and historic figure is therefore close to many other diplomat rescuers from the Holocaust."
The foundation founder also lauded the advances made in Jewish-Catholic dialogue under the guidance of John XXIII: "A new era in Catholic-Jewish dialogue started when John XXIII was elected Pope."
The words of the ancient Psalm, rise from our hearts: "I have become like a broken vessel. I hear the whispering of many -- terror on every side -- as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. But I trust in you, O Lord: I say, 'you are my God."' (Psalms 31:13-15)
In this place of memories, the mind and heart and soul feel an extreme need for silence. Silence in which to remember. Silence in which to try to make some sense of the memories which come flooding back. Silence because there are no words strong enough to deplore the terrible tragedy of the Shoah.
My own personal memories are of all that happened when the Nazis occupied Poland during the war. I remember my Jewish friends and neighbors, some of whom perished, while others survived. I have come to Yad Vashem to pay homage to the millions of Jewish people who, stripped of everything, especially of human dignity, were murdered in the Holocaust. More than half a century has passed, but the memories remain.
Here, as at Auschwitz and many other places in Europe, we are overcome by the echo of the heart-rending laments of so many. Men, women and children, cry out to us from the depths of the horror that they knew. How can we fail to heed their cry? No one can forget or ignore what happened. No one can diminish its scale.
We wish to remember. But we wish to remember for a purpose, namely to ensure that never again will evil prevail, as it did for the millions of innocent victims of Nazism.
How could man have such utter contempt for man? Because he had reached the point of contempt for God. Only a godless ideology could plan and carry out the extermination of a whole people.
The honor given to the 'Just Gentiles' by the state of Israel at Yad Vashem for having acted heroically to save Jews, sometimes to the point of giving their own lives, is a recognition that not even in the darkest hour is every light extinguished. That is why the Psalms and the entire Bible, though well aware of the human capacity for evil, also proclaims that evil will not have the last word.
Out of the depths of pain and sorrow, the believer's heart cries out: "I trust in you, O Lord: 'I say, you are my God."' (Psalms 31:14)
Jews and Christians share an immense spiritual patrimony, flowing from God's self-revelation. Our religious teachings and our spiritual experience demand that we overcome evil with good. We remember, but not with any desire for vengeance or as an incentive to hatred. For us, to remember is to pray for peace and justice, and to commit ourselves to their cause. Only a world at peace, with justice for all, can avoid repeating the mistakes and terrible crimes of the past.
As bishop of Rome and successor of the Apostle Peter, I assure the Jewish people that the Catholic Church, motivated by the Gospel law of truth and love, and by no political considerations, is deeply saddened by the hatred, acts of persecution and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews by Christians at any time and in any place.
The church rejects racism in any form as a denial of the image of the Creator inherent in every human being.
In this place of solemn remembrance, I fervently pray that our sorrow for the tragedy which the Jewish people suffered in the 20th century will lead to a new relationship between Christians and Jews. Let us build a new future in which there will be no more anti-Jewish feeling among Christians or anti-Christian feeling among Jews, but rather the mutual respect required of those who adore the one Creator and Lord, and look to Abraham as our common father in faith.
The world must heed the warning that comes to us from the victims of the Holocaust, and from the testimony of the survivors. Here at Yad Vashem the memory lives on, and burns itself onto our souls. It makes us cry out: "I hear the whispering of many -- terror on every side -- but I trust in you, O Lord: I say, 'You are my God."' (Psalms 31:13-15)
Pope John Paul II - March 23, 2000
When J-23 died, Israel asked the Vatican if he could be buried in the Cemetery of the Righteous in Jerusalem. (He would have resided a few rows away from Oskar Schindler.) For sound diplomatic reasons, the Vatican demurred. But there is a tree in the Garden of the Righteous that bears Roncalli's name.
The Israelis never forget.
So if John XXIII is a "righteous Gentile," I think the person he pointed to as his authorization and inspiration is one as well.
Hopefully others will visit this thread and be equally informed. It always frustrates me when freepers are drawn to controversial topics and ignore positive threads. Perhaps that is why the new media continues to "feed them" what they want.
Wow ... I did not know that either! Given what you posted, it does seem ludicrous that the Jews officials would make such a fuss over the beatification of Pius XII. BTW - I met him! I was a very small child and he was already quite sick but I still recall standing along the road along which passed Pope Pius XII and his entourage. This was the ‘Marian Year’.
Thanks for posting this; it is something I hadn’t heard about.
I hope this will happen!