Yad Vashem chairman asks Pope Benedict XVI not beatify Pius XII
ROME (WJC)—Israel’s former chief rabbi and current chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel Meir Lau, has said in an interview with Italian television that Pope Benedict XVI should be welcomed when he visits Rome’s main synagogue on Sunday, but that he should halt moves to beatify his controversial wartime predecessor Pius XII.
Lau, a Holocaust survivor and currently chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, said Benedict’s synagogue visit would be ”appreciated and blessed.” In an interview with Italy’s Sky TG24 television, Lau said he was ”surprised” by Benedict’s decision last month to move the controversial World War II-era pope closer to sainthood.
In December, the Catholic pontiff had signed a decree on Pius’ heroic virtues, paving the way for him to be beatified once a miracle attributed to his intercession is confirmed. Some historians have argued that Pius, who was pope from 1939 to 1958, was largely silent during the Holocaust and should have done more to assist Jews.
The Vatican has repeatedly stated that Pius used quiet diplomacy to try to save Jews and that speaking out more forcefully would have resulted in more deaths.
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress