Jewish-Catholic relationship gets rocky
A leading Italian rabbi has pulled out of an annual Vatican celebration of Judaism, according to the U.K. Times. In a strongly worded article in an Italian Jesuit publication, the chief rabbi of Venice, Elia Enrico Richetti, cited a more robust Vatican insistence on the superiority of Christian faith and the restoration of prayers for the conversion of the Jews in the newly restored Latin liturgy as the cause of the boycott: "The interruption of cooperation between Italian Judaism and the Church is the logical consequence of the position of the Church as expressed by its highest authorities," he wrote.
It is terribly unfortunate that one of the greatest legacies of Pope John Paul II, his commitment to interreligious dialogue, especially with Judaism, is being diminished by the current Vatican regime. Pope Benedict has made some major missteps from the beginning of his pontificate on this matter, first by dissolving (though eventually restoring) the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, then with an infelicitous reference to Islam in a speech in Germany, and last year with an unnecessary defense of the World War II pope, Pius XII. (You can read my February 2009 The Examined Life column on that controversy here.)
Let us hope for a new, more positive overture from Rome.