Friday, April 08, 2005

The Pope

Today Pope John Paul II was laid to rest. The Pope is definitely not a person that orthodox Jews talk about often, and in some circles, even the simple acknowledgement of his death might be considered taboo.

Truth be told, being that I am only 4 years older than the 26 he spent leading the Catholic church, I have no one to compare him to, but I have to say that he has definitely been a positive force in building bridges beween Jews and Catholics. Yes this is the man beatified Pious XII - who turned a blind eye to the Holocaust, but this is also the same pope who recognized Israel, and on his first (and I think Only) official visit, he went to Yad Vashem - the Holocaust memorial museum.

There is a concept in Judaism of the Chasidei Umot Haolam - the righteous gentiles. I am sure that many would debate the Pope's Status in that regard, and despite how his gestures were received by the Jewish community, the greater testimony to his legacy is that those gestures were made.

My sympathies go out to the cCatholic world on the loss of their dynamic leader, and I can only hope that his successor too will continue to build bridges between Catholics, Jews, and other faiths.

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