Pope to meet with Jewish leaders

In an important and I would thinknecessary step toward healing the Catholic-Jewish rift over the papal outreach to the SSPX, Benedict XVI is reportedly to meet next Thursday with leaders of the major Jewish organizations. A meeting with the Chief Rabbinate in Israel, which had broken off relations over the disputed gesture toanti-Semitic schismatics, is also set for later this month or next in Rome. From the Vatican, Phil Pullella at Reuters has the story:

Next Thursday, the pope will hold a meeting with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO) and make an address about the Holocaust and the dangers of Holocaust denial, the source said.It will be the first between the pope and Jewish leaders since the start of the controversy, which many have said has undermined nearly half a century of Catholic-Jewish dialogue.The Thursday meeting is particularly significant because of the influence and scope of the CPMAJO, an umbrella group that includes 51 organisations, including the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League.

The Reuters piece also recounts comments by Bishop Richard Williamson to Der Spiegel that he "must review historical evidence on the Holocaust before considering an apology to Jews."

"I ask everyone to believe me that I did not deliberately say something false. I was, on the basis of my research in the 1980s, convinced of the accuracy of my comments. Now I must examine everything again and look at the evidence," he said.Williamson has apologised to the pope "for the unnecessary distress" he caused him but has not apologised to Jews.

Sounds to me like pieces are falling into place for an "understanding" of sorts, on the SSPX and the Holocaust and perhaps related issues. But of course that would leave the really hard stuff, like Vatican II.

David Gibson is the director of Fordham’s Center on Religion & Culture.

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