What John Paul II's beatification means to the Jews

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It would be difficult to find a Jewish person who does not feel Karol Wojtyla to have been a very special, in fact, an extraordinary, human being, reports Vatican Insider.

Asked to comment on Pope Wojtyla’s beatification, Rabbi David Rosen, Director of International Interreligious Relations for the American Jewish Committee, said: “While beatification is a Catholic procedure with its own internal character, it is universally perceived as a moral statement about the person concerned and his/her record. 

 Among Blessed John Paul II’s most notable and public demonstrations, were his unique and historic contributions to Catholic/Jewish reconciliation.  It was in this light that world Jewry overwhelmingly celebrated his beatification.” 

John Paul II’s historic visit to Rome’s Main Synagogue and lifelong friendship with Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff, his calling a Summit of world religious leaders to pray for peace in Assisi, his unconventional personal intervention in the Auschwitz Carmelite Convent dispute, his decision to open diplomatic relations with Israel, his pilgrimage to the Jewish State and his poignant, unforgettable act of penance in slipping a prayer into the Western Wall requesting forgiveness for the harm done by the “sons and daughters of the Church”  to “the children of Abraham” – are but a small part of the long list of John Paul II’s deeds aimed at communicating his – and the Catholic Church’s -  commitment to reconciliation and a new relationship between Catholics and Jews and all other religions.

Vatican Insider contacted many Jewish friends in different walks of life to hear their spontaneous  reactions to John Paul II’s recent beatification.

David Gerbi, an Italian Jewish Jungian psychologist of Libyan origin, said that while for him there was no religious significance to beatification – just as there was none for him in Muslim pilgrimages to Mecca – he felt the Jewish world was deeply moved by John Paul II’s many conciliatory gestures, “especially his friendship with Rome’s former Chief Rabbi, Elio Toaff, who is one of only three people remembered by John Paul II in his Testament."

FULL STORY What does Karol Wojtyla’s Beatification mean to Jews? (Vatican Insider)

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