Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Holy Father's Visit to Rome Synagogue: Update and DVD details

First, the promised DVD details:
It's available in English with the title : "Pius XII and the Holocaust: the Secret History of the Great Rescue". The supplier is HDF Communications who advertise on Vatican Radio's site as Vatican DVDs and Books. You can arrange to receive their newsletter by email which is how I learned of this DVD. If you have any difficulty, I have a contact number to ring. They're actually in Milan, were very friendly and helpful and have English speaking staff. I made a pre-Christmas order and paid by giving them my credit card number over the phone. Will try to find it later and post it for you here.

Zenit has several items today about the Pope's visit to the Synagogue and its aftermath. All highly encouraging and recommended reading. As to the aftermath, two things stand out. First is the Media disappointment that the anxiety and near-crisis atmosphere they had been stirring up was proved to be completely unfounded. Second, it seems I was right to highlight the Grand Rabbi's repeated calls for the Vatican Archives to be opened. There has now been the same call from the Israeli ambassador to the Holy See. I really do believe that they are not making these calls in order to create more difficulty, but because they feel that information released from that source would help to reduce, even further, the tensions in Jewish-Catholic relations. Both the Grand Rabbi and the ambassador are to be applauded. Of course there are people from both communities and in the Media who use this Vatican archive thing as a way of stirring up trouble for the Vatican and for Pope Benedict. They are to be deplored.

Fr. Lombardi has responded with the usual explanation that there are still some years of work to do in cataloguing the vast documentation. Mmm. Is there really no way of hastening the process? If there is one, I trust Pope Benedict, if he deems it wise, will ensure that it is followed. In the meantime, it appears that there is great trust and respect between the Bishop and the Grand Rabbi of Rome. After the warmth and cordiality of the public meeting, they went into a side-chambe for a private talk. kto cut its trnsmission at this point and I haven't read any details of how long they spent together. Clearly each felt there were things they still wanted and needed to say to each other.

There's been a bit of confusion about where to find the text of the Holy Father's address to the Synagogue assembly. Earlier today, I checked vatican.va, that is the official site of the Holy See, and they still have not moved out of 2009! You can however find an 'unofficial' English translation at Vatican radio. Here's the link. Or to go direct to the English translation click the link to Vatican's YouTube channel at bottom of sidebar here, click Vat Radio and scroll the items on the right hand until you come to the translation. Even more highly recommended reading!

To end on a lighter note, Fr. Tim at 'The Hermeneutic of Continuity" has a good post with a photo of Pope Benedict and the Grand Rabbi. The Holy Father appears to have whispered a joke into the Rabbi's ear. I think he may be explaining the difficulty of getting things moving in the Vatican.
"Did you know," he has just said to the Rabbi, "The Vatican Post Office only yesterday reached the bottom of its backlog. They found a letter addresed to 'The Romans' from a man called Paul!"'

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