World
John XXIII the 'best pope for Jewish people'
Publish Date: Apr 26, 2014
John XXIII the 'best pope for Jewish people'
Pilgrims arrive on St Peters square on April 26, 2014 at the Vatican a day before the canonisation of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will join the roster of saints at a historic Vatican ceremony on Sunday seen as an attempt to unite conservatives and reformists, with some 800,000 pilgrims expected in Rome. AFP PHOTO
  • mail
  • img
newvision

NEW YORK - Pope John XXIII, who will be canonized on Sunday, was "the best pope in history for the Jewish people," says one of the founders of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.
 
John XXIII, who will be made a saint along with John Paul II at the Vatican, is credited with saving thousands of Jews during the Holocaust and opening the door to Judeo-Christian dialogue, Baruch Tenembaum told AFP in an interview at the Foundation's New York headquarters.
 
The Italian-born John XXIII, whose given name was Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, "did such extraordinary things. I'm delighted that he is becoming a saint, even if -- as a Jew -- beatification doesn't affect me."
 
"He couldn't have done more than he did," explained Tenembaum, a 80-year-old Argentine known for his efforts to improve inter-faith dialogue. In 2009, his name was placed in the running for the Nobel peace prize.
 
As the Vatican's envoy to Turkey from 1935, John XXIII helped save the lives of thousands of Eastern European Jews facing persecution from the Nazis, including by giving Hungarian Jews baptismal certificates.
 
"At the time, having identity papers labeling you a Catholic was enough to save your life," Tenembaum said.
 
A document on file at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel cites the future pope as being "among the most sensitive to the Jewish tragedy and most vigorous in rescue efforts".
 
Tenembaum has asked that Yad Vashem add John XXIII to its list of "Righteous Among the Nations" -- a title honoring non-Jews who showed courage to protect Jews during the Holocaust.
 
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation honors the legacy of a Swedish diplomat, posted to Nazi-occupied Budapest in July 1944, who is believed to have saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews in the final months of the Holocaust by providing them with protective passports.
 
The foundation works to preserve his legacy and that of others who saved numerous lives, and not only during the Shoah.
 
Tenembaum has worked hard to publicize John XXIII's work during his time in Turkey, about which there are few official records.
 
 
Champion of inter-faith dialogue 
 
The scholar also praised John XXIII -- nicknamed "Good Pope John" -- for helping open up the Roman Catholic Church to dialogue with other faiths during his 1958-1963 papacy.
 
Less than three months after being elected pope, John XXIII announced preparations for the Second Vatican Council, a global gathering of Catholic bishops, which opened in October 1962 and proved to be revolutionary, in that it finally acquitted Jews of Christ-killing.
 
He was the first to put a stop to the use of the word "perfidious" to describe Jews in Good Friday prayers, Tenenbaum said.
 
During his time as a Vatican envoy to France, the soon-to-be-saint played a key role in plans for the partition of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel.
 
According to diplomats involved in the negotiations, he helped persuade Pope Pius XII to remain silent, effectively allowing mainly Catholic countries to vote on the partition plan free of Church influence.
 
"Roncalli's attitude definitely had something with do with the creation of the state of Israel. If the Vatican had given the order to vote against it, they would have voted against it," Tenembaum said.
 
Tenembaum says he current Pope Francis, a fellow Argentine, seems to be following in the path of John XXIII.
 
"Since the time of Pope John XXIII, I think the pope that most resembles Roncalli is Francis, at least from what we've seen so far," Tenembaum said.
 
AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Islamic State
The Islamic State poses a greater danger than a conventional "terrorist group" and is pursuing a vision that could radically alter the face of the Middle East, US defense leaders say....
Malaysia in mourning as MH17 remains return home
Malaysia will drape itself in black for a national day of mourning Friday as it welcomes home the remains of 20 citizens killed on downed Flight MH17....
Pope calls family of slain US journalist
Pope Francis called the family of slain US journalist James Foley on Thursday to offer his condolences, a Catholic priest close to the family said....
Executed US journalist
Journalist James Foley's jihadist captors sent his family a taunting and rambling email threatening to kill him, just a week before making public a video of his execution....
Hyundai Motor workers to go on strike
Workers at South Korea''s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. will launch a limited strike Friday to press their demands for wage hikes....
Two Americans beat Ebola, leave hospital
Two American missionaries who fell ill with the dangerous Ebola virus while working in Liberia have recovered and have been released from an Atlanta hospital, doctors said Thursday....
Will strict traffic laws reduce road accidents?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter