Dutch Priest, Catholic Daily Rap Vatican for Negative Statement

A Dutch priest and a Roman Catholic daily here have sharply criticized the Vatican for-the negative statement issued by its press spokesman, Frederico Allessandrini, immediately following Premier Golda Meir’s visit with Pope Paul VI last week.

Father Cornelius Rijk, editor of the Catholic magazine, “Sidic,” said that Israeli Premier Golda Meir’s meeting with the Pope was “evidence of a certain practical rapprochement between the Vatican and Israel.” But, he added, “Never before has such a hostile communique been issued after the visit of a foreign statesman.” Father Rijk, who has been active in promoting Catholic-Jewish understanding, attributed the tone of Allessandrini’s statement to the “traditional anti-Jewish training of leading Vatican theologians.”

The Catholic daily “De Tijd” described Allessandrini’s statement minimizing the importance of Mrs. Meir’s meeting with the Pope as an “almost servile appeasement of the Arabs.” The newspaper said the statement “makes a painful impression and will hardly increase the Vatican’s prestige.” It added. “One is left with the feeling that the Vatican cares more about the holy places in Jerusalem than about Middle East peace.”

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