Rome’s Jews confirm Pope visit


ROME (JTA) — Italian Jews issued a statement confirming that Pope Benedict XVI will visit the main Rome synagogue despite tensions over his decision to move Pope Pius XII closer to sainthood.

The statement, issued Wednesday by the leadership of Rome’s Jewish community after a meeting with national Jewish institutions, rabbis and Holocaust survivors, stressed the importance of interreligious dialogue and said the pope’s Jan. 17 visit will be a "key step" in this process.

Italian Jews, said the statement, had "high expectations" for the visit but it "should not be construed as an endorsement of the historic dispute over Pope Pius XII’s choice of silence" in the face of Jewish persecution during the Holocaust.

It called on the Vatican to open its archives to enable historians to determine the truth.

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