German Jews praise Pope but warn on Pius XII and Holocaust

Tom Heneghan, Reuters, Sep.21, www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/22/us-pope-germany-jews-idUSTRE78L50L20110922

Germany’s small Jewish community praised Pope Benedict on Thursday for stressing the common roots of Christianity and Judaism but warned him it would be hurt if he honors wartime Pope Pius XII, who it said was silent during the Holocaust.

Dieter Graumann, secretary general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, also said Jews were hurt by his support for an ultra-traditionalist Catholic group they consider bigoted against Jews, Muslims, gays, women and Protestants.

The close friendship that has developed between Christians and Jews “must put up with others saying things that hurt,” he told Reuters after he and other Jewish leaders met the pope and Catholic prelates for about 25 minutes.

“A possible beatification of Pius XII would hurt us,” said Graumann, referring to efforts to put the late pope on the path to sainthood. “For us he is the pope who kept his silence too coldly and loudly during the Holocaust.”

Despite these differences, the Jewish leader stressed that the closed-door meeting was friendly and moving for him.

“This is an impulse for new closeness, for a deeper and even better relationship,” he said.

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