New York – In First US Visit, Top Cardinal Claims Jews Want Sainthood For Nazi-Era Pope

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    FILE -Cardinal Kurt Koch.New York – The cardinal in charge of Vatican relations with Jews landed in controversy during his first U.S. visit in his new position.

    After a speech on theology and Jewish-Catholic dialogue at Seton Hall University, Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch repeated a comment he had made earlier this year in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, that the cross should be viewed as the “definitive” Yom Kippur — the Jewish Day of Atonement, The Jewish Daily Forward reported.

    Rabbi Alan Brill, a Seton Hall professor who helped organize Koch’s talk Sunday in New Jersey, told The Associated Press that Koch was responding to an audience member who had asked about the article the cardinal had authored. Koch had written that, “Since the cross of Jesus erases any desire for vengeance and calls everyone to reconciliation, it rises above us as the permanent and universal Yom Kippur.”

    Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni of Rome had complained that Koch seemed to be indicating that Jews should consider Christian beliefs definitive. Koch wrote in a clarification that he was addressing the Christian duty, because of the cross, to reconcile with other religions.

    At Seton Hall, Koch repeated the explanation but did not elaborate, Brill said.

    “We did feel a certain level of communication gap because in certain things, he did not move past what he has already said,” Brill said.

    Rabbi Eric Greenberg, associate director of interfaith affairs for the Anti-Defamation League, who attended the Seton Hall talk, called Koch’s comments “not helpful.” “We really do have a lot of further dialogue to do,” Greenberg said.

    Through an aide, Koch declined to comment Tuesday to the AP.

    In meetings with Koch that continued through Monday, Jewish leaders expressed concerns that the canonization process for Pope Pius XII was moving forward before all Vatican archives had been opened on the World War II-era pontiff, according to Rabbi Noam Marans, director of interreligious relations with the American Jewish Committee, who helped plan Koch’s meetings.

    Jews and others who oppose beatification for Pius say that the pontiff failed to speak out enough to stop the Holocaust, Koch said nothing significant would be revealed in an additional investigation of the archives and that whatever information is learned would be subject to interpretation and would therefore not settle the issue definitively, Marans said. Koch noted that even among Jewish leaders, there is disagreement over whether Pius should be canonized.

    “It was a disconcerting moment that was part of a larger positive context,” Marans said. “It was part of a larger positive conversation and needs to be understood as such.”

    Greenberg called Koch’s comments on Pius, “tired old rationales for not doing what’s right and opening the archives.” However, the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations, an information and advocacy network, issued a statement saying there was no anger at the cardinal, only some “frustration” due to language differences. The organization noted that Koch acknowledged Christian “complicity” in the Holocaust and that Jews are “participants in God’s salvation.”

    Koch was appointed about a year ago as president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the office in charge of Vatican relations with other Christians and Jews. The former bishop of Basel, he was known for his experience dealing with Orthodox and Lutheran churches. On Wednesday, Koch was scheduled to travel to Washington for more meetings and a tour of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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    14 COMMENTS

    1. On Wednesday, Koch was scheduled to travel to Washington for more meetings and a tour of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

      they should tell him to tale a hike

      • Bravo Shredready! I couldn’t have said it better myself!

        It is unconscionable to me that they would even CONSIDER nominating that monster for beautification! Unreal!

        Even the whole gentile world knows that Pope “Pious” the 12th was a HUGE nazi-sympathizer! What is going on here?!

        I wish I could say, “I don’t believe it!”…. but unfortunately, I DO believe it.

        My friends…

        You’ve got to be soooo cautious about x-tian organizations! I cannot express that enough!

        I know most of them seem very friendly to your faces, and some even raise money for Eretz Israel & etc., but trust me on this: they only want access to Jerusalem so their nonsense “Messiah” can come & put every single Jew (and anyone who didn’t accept him), in their “places”.

        Now of course… we know that’s not going to happen anytime soon. (lol)

        But that doesn’t change the fact that even the nicest x-tian to your face… still believes every single one of you & all of your precious children are headed for destruction in the fiery pits of their “Hades” for all eternity.

        Who cares what they think… right?

        I don’t… accept for when I see them using Jews to score votes or to raise $!

        Please be cautious!

        • Sherry – they are not planning to “beautify” the man. That would take weeks at a day spa and some plastic surgery. They want to “beatify” him – this ceremony is the first step toward sainthood.

          • The beatification of Pope Pius should not be our concern. Stalin asked a rhetorical question how many divisions the Vatican has and he found out. Opus Dei is a very powerful organizations and we should concern ourselve with our achdus and problems and there are many

    2. During the war I was a teenager and in concentration camp. However, after the war two Catholic Bishops one Austrian named Hudal and the other Croatian named Draganovic were instrumental in the escape of Nazi war criminals. Eichmann, Mengele and many others. The Catholic Church is a close hirarchical entity and I believe that these actions must have been known by the Curia and the Vatican State. There was nothing saintly about the antisemitism professed by both Bishops, Hudal and Draganovic or helping avoid persecution of war criminals

    3. Pius XII was a willing, even eager partner with the Nazis and Fascists. Hitler and Mussolini supported the Church and got rid of troublesome priests who believed in justice. In return, they got backing and Vatican approval. Towards the end Pius helped some of the worst of the high-ranking Nazis escape punishment for their crimes.

      And this man in a red hat and skirt has the gall to say Jews want Pius declared a Saint while genuinely good men like John XXIII are being slowly and their reforms buried? I’d sooner see Stalin canonized.

    4. #1 hits the nail on the head. Allowing this Nazi apologist access to the Holocaust Museum only validates his dangerous hate-mongering. He should be driven out of the museum with sticks. As for “inter-religious” dialogue…is should be as follows, “you leave us alone; we’ll leave you alone. Have a nice day.” End of dialogue.

    5. I don’t think Pius was an active supporter of Nazism. I remember reading that Germany was the only country to object to his election as Pope and did not send a delegation to his coronation. Pacelli was seen by the Germans as an opponent of fascism.

      I also think that, as head of the Church and responsible for his “flock”, Pius had to take the millions of German Catholics into consideration. Any strong statement from him might have put them all in danger.

      THe bottom line, I think, is that Pacelli was no Anti-Semite, but that he was no “saint” either. If the church makes him a saint, it will be sending a message that his conduct during the war was a “lechatchila”. That’s a bad message to send.

    6. On one hand, of course, what do we care who they call a saint, or holy, or whatever. For us the whole religion is naarishkeit & lies. Does anyone here have an opinion on the Wiccans saying who’s a real witch and who’s not? It’s the same thing.

      On the other hand, what chutzpa! X-tianity is one of the most powerful influential movements on Earth. First they kill us and then they say we think one of their lackeys should be called a saint?

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