Jewish delegation meets Vatican officials in Rome


ROME (JTA) — "Delicate issues" including the role of Pope Pius XII in World War II are at the heart of talks in Rome between an international Jewish delegation and senior Vatican officials.

The two days of meetings between the International Jewish Committee for Inter-Religious Consultations, a Jewish interfaith umbrella body, and Vatican officials began Tuesday, according to a statement.

The focus of the talks, it said, "will be some delicate issues, such as the archives, the beatification of Pope Pius XII, the fight against anti-Semitism, and commitment to dialogue in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council."

Pope Benedict XVI angered many Jews in December when he green-lighted Pius XII’s advance to beatification and sainthood. Critics say Pius turned a blind eye to Jewish suffering in the Holocaust.

Many scholars have called on the Vatican to open its secret archives to clarify the issue before moving forward with the sainthood process.

The IJCIC delegation is headed by the organization’s chair, Rabbi Richard Marker, and includes Maram Stern, secretary general of the World Jewish Congress. They are meeting with Vatican officials including Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, and Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, president of the Papal Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

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