European Jews call on pope to prevent Iran "catastrophe"

Austrian and European Jewish leaders asked Pope Benedict to use his moral authority to prevent Iran from developing the capacity to produce nuclear weapons.

The plea was included in a letter the pope received during a recent three-day visit to the Alpine republic. The visit began with a highly symbolic stop at Vienna's Jewish Square.

Vienna Jewish community head Ariel Muzicant said the letter was written in consultation with other Jewish communities in Europe.

The letter said that Jews are greatly concerned that Iran is "officially threatening the state of Israel with 'destruction and obliteration.'"

It refers to the Pope as one of the world's "most important moral authorities". It then goes on to ask him to do everything in his power to prevent a "possible catastrophe for all of humanity".

Muzicant declined to specify what he'd like the pope to do but said time is running out.

Austria: Jews ask pope to prevent 'catastrophe for all of humanity' (International Herald Tribune, 12/9/07)
Benedict recalls his visit to Austria (Vatican Information Service, 12/9/07)

Volunteering challenges cost culture: Benedict (CathNews, 11/9/07)
Vatican partners with Israel on tourism (CathNews, 29/9/07)
Benedict laments "child-poor" Europe (CathNews, 10/9/07)

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