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Good Vibes, Little Substance at Pope’s Meeting with Jews

A Polish Jewish leader thought the atmosphere was good but the substance meager at a meeting Pope John Paul II held with Polish Jews in Warsaw on June 9.

“The atmosphere was warm and the pope was visibly moved,” Stanislaw Krajewski, co-chairman of the Polish Council of Christians and Jews, said in a statement from Warsaw.

Nevertheless, “I think the pope’s visit did not stress sufficiently the need to oppose anti-Semitism, and more generally to oppose Catholic fundamentalism, and to accept pluralism and foster tolerance,” he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

He said he was disturbed by the pope’s emphasis on the “pitfalls of Western liberalism, which has led to empty churches, proliferation of pornography and abortion.

“While he has every right to warn against moral problems,” Krajewski said, “it seems that the result of his approach is that fundamentalists in the Polish Church have been strengthened, those who think the Polish Church should be an example for Europe.

“They would like to see a Catholic state, or at least the Catholic principles, as integral elements of the state structures.

“The pope supported triumphalism in the church, and this is a disappointing result of the visit from the Jewish perspective and, more generally, from the point of view of all who prefer to live in a religiously neutral democratic order,” the Jewish leader said.

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