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Israel wants to delay plans to beatify controversial pope

ROME, Nov. 4 (JTA) – Israel’s ambassador to the Vatican wants to delay plans to beatify Pope Pius XII. Calling for a 50-year moratorium on plans to beatify the wartime pope, Aharon Lopez told reporters Tuesday that haste in setting Pius XII on the road to sainthood would constitute “a very destabilizing element” in relations between Israel and the Vatican. Critics accuse Pius XII of remaining silent in the face of the Holocaust. The beatification process is the last step before someone is made a saint. Lopez called on the Vatican to open its classified archives to let historians find out the full truth about Pius XII’s wartime actions. Such archives, he noted, are usually kept secret for 70 years. Lopez noted that “beatifications are the absolute prerogative of the church” and said he did not intend to pass judgement on Pius XII. But, calling Pius a “controversial” figure, he added, “I think there should be a moratorium of about 50 years” on the beatification process in order to “dispel any doubts about Pius XII.” He also noted that “feelings are still high and wounds are still open from the tragedy of the Shoah.” In response to Lopez’s remarks, a Vatican spokesman said that the beatification process “would take its due course” and the Israeli position would have no effect.

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