American magazine Forward has included Pope Francis in its list of top 50 Jewish figures, in the 'PLUS' category, highlighting his contribution to the Catholic Church’s relations with the Jews, reports Vatican Insider.
But part of the reason he was included was to launch a strong attack on Benedict XVI.
As he is not Jewish, Francis has been added to the magazine’s 'PLUS' list. The accompanying note included in the Pope’s profile explains the reason why he was chosen: 'After eight months as head of the world’s 1 billion Roman Catholics (not to mention 10 million Twitter followers), the new pontiff — the first from outside Europe — has made improving relations with the Jewish world a key goal.'
The magazine adds that 'the only book he has penned is an extraordinary dialogue with a rabbi who had become fast friends with then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in their native Argentina.'
But amidst all this praise, Forward 50 adds that 'it wouldn’t be tough to improve on the tone set by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who refused all access to the Holocaust archives and fast-tracked sainthood for the controversial Pope Pius XII, who many accuse of staying silent in the face of Hitler’s slaughter.'
In doing so, the magazine fuels the stereotypical contrast drawn between Pope Francis and Benedict XVI, with this statement on Ratzinger’s relationship with Judaism, which seems discredited by the obvious prejudice shown. The usual reference to Pius XII’s controversial beatification is not missing either.