ADL Mourns the Loss of Pope John Paul II
New York, NY, April 2, 2005 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) mourns the passing of Pope John Paul II, whose compassion, leadership and understanding forever changed the history of the Catholic Church's relations with the Jewish people.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
Pope John Paul II's moral inspiration and leadership was a shining light to the world. Throughout his lifetime the Pontiff defended the Jewish people, both as a priest in his native Poland and for all the years of his Pontificate. In word and deed, John Paul II worked tirelessly to repair the Church's painful 2,000 year history with the Jewish people.
Pope John Paul II revolutionized Catholic-Jewish relations. He denounced anti-Semitism as a "sin against God and humanity." He was the first Pope in history to visit the central synagogue in Rome, where he recognized Jews as elder brothers, announcing to the Chief Rabbi of Rome and Jews around the world: "I am Joseph, your brother." He normalized relations with the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel, and then made his historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where he visited Yad Vashem and prayed at the Western Wall.
In his exceptional teachings, writings and pronouncements, John Paul II has denounced the evils that led to the Holocaust and questioned whether the Church's attitudes provided an environment for the deadly anti-Semitism in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.
Most importantly, the Pope rejected the destructive concept of supersessionism and has recognized the special relationship between Christianity and the Jewish people, while sharing his understanding of Judaism as a living heritage, of the permanent validity of God's covenant with the Jewish people. He was a man of God in every sense and a true friend whose visionary leadership will be sorely missed.
Editors Note: Mr. Foxman, who has had eight audiences with the Pontiff, most recently in December 2004, was saved from the Holocaust by his Polish nanny who had him baptized and raised as a Catholic until his parents reclaimed him at the end of the war. To arrange an interview, contact ADL Media Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.