JERUSALEM, March 12 (JTA) Following are some of the high and low points of Vatican-Jewish relations during the past century:
1904 Pope Pius X rejects Theodor Herzl’s request that he support the Zionist movement.
1919 Vatican warns of the danger of a Jewish state, just two years after the Balfour Declaration is issued, supporting the Jews’ right to a homeland in Palestine.
1940-1945 Pope Pius XII is aware of the Holocaust, but fails to speak out against it.
1949 Pope Pius XII urges that Jerusalem be internationalized.
1964 Pope Paul VI visits Israel for one day during the first papal pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
1965 Pope John XXIII convenes the Second Vatican Council, whose initiatives culminate in the Nostra Aetate decree, which repudiates the Catholic teaching that Jews were collectively responsible for Jesus’ death.
1968 Pope Paul VI drops the Vatican’s call for the internationalization of Jerusalem and instead calls for international guarantees of access to holy shrines.
1974 The Vatican establishes a commission for relations with the Jews.
1978 Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, Archbishop of Krakow in Poland, is elected pope and takes the name John Paul II.
1979 Pope John Paul II pays homage at Auschwitz to the victims of Nazism during his first trip back to Poland after his election to the papacy.
1984 The Vatican gives its first formal recognition of the significance of the State of Israel for the Jewish people.
1986 In the first ever recorded visit of a pope to a synagogue, Pope John Paul II visits the main synagogue in Rome, where he embraces Rome’s chief rabbi and refers to Jews as Christianity’s “older brothers.”
1987 Jewish opposition to Pope John Paul II’s reception of Kurt Waldheim prods the pope to promise a document dealing with the church’s persecution of the Jews and the Holocaust.
1990 Pope John Paul II calls on Christians to repent for anti-Semitism in Christian thought.
1993 The Vatican and Israel establish formal ties; Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi, Yisrael Meir Lau, meets Pope John Paul II in the Vatican, the first official encounter between a pontiff and chief rabbi from Israel.
1994 Pope John Paul II sponsors a concert at the Vatican commemorating the Holocaust.
1997 Israel and the Vatican sign an accord formally recognizing the legal status of Roman Catholic Church institutions in Israel. Pope John Paul II hosts a menorah-lighting ceremony at the Vatican to mark Chanukah.
1998 The Vatican issues “We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah,” a document assessing the Roman Catholic Church’s behavior during World War II. The document praises Pope Pius XII for saving hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives during the Holocaust, sparking criticism from Jewish groups who say the paper failed to condemn Pius’ silence in the face of the Nazi slaughter.
2000 The Vatican issues “Memory and Reconciliation: The Church and the Mistakes of the Past,” which lists several major areas where the church had failed, including the Inquisition, forced conversion and the treatment of Jews. One week before a planned trip to the Holy Land, Pope John Paul II apologizes for the church’s treatment of Jews.
(Compiled by JTA correspondent Avi Machlis in Jerusalem and Foreign Editor Mitchell Danow in New York)