Friday, May 15, 2009

the Pope in the Middle East

Citing Auschwitz, Pope Assails Hatred

NY Times — Recalling a visit to the Auschwitz death camp, Pope Benedict XVI wound up a sometimes fraught and often politically charged trip to Israel and the West Bank on Friday with a call for peace and a plea that the Holocaust — “that appalling chapter in history” — must “never be forgotten or denied.”
But, as he has since he arrived from Jordan on Monday on his first trip to the Holy Land as pope, he avoided evoking his German nationality and his personal history in Nazi Germany as some Israelis had demanded. Rather, he blamed the Holocaust on “a godless regime.”
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Pope’s Wartime Activities Resurface on Israeli Trip

NY Times — The Vatican sought on Tuesday to defend Pope Benedict XVI against criticism of his speech at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial the day before.
But as has become familiar in Benedict’s four years as pope, the attempt at media relations stumbled, in a particularly awkward way for a trip to Israel: the German pope’s spokesman first said that Benedict “never, never, never” had belonged to the Hitler Youth but later had to issue a retraction.
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Pope, leaving Israel, slams Holocaust denial

Reuters — Pope Benedict said on Friday as he left Israel that the Holocaust "must never be denied", using language that may go some way to addressing Jewish disappointment over his remarks earlier in his tour.
He recalled as "one of the most solemn moments of my stay in Israel" his visit to Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, where some Israelis had said his speech lacked the personal note they wanted to hear from a German of his generation.
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