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ADL Welcomes Election of Cardinal Ratzinger as New Pope

New York, NY, April 19, 2005 The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the election of German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the new Pope, Benedict XVI.  Under his leadership in Germany and Rome, the Catholic Church made important strides in improving Catholic-Jewish relations and atoning for the sin of anti-Semitism.  Cardinal Ratzinger has been a leader in this effort and has made important statements in the spirit of sensitivity and reconciliation with the Jewish people.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We welcome the new Papacy of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.  From the Jewish perspective, the fact that he comes from Europe is important, because he brings with him an understanding and memory of the painful history of Europe and of the 20th Century experience of European Jewry.

Having lived through World War II, Cardinal Ratzinger has great sensitivity to Jewish history and the Holocaust.  He has shown this sensitivity countless times, in meetings with Jewish leadership and in important statements condemning anti-Semitism and expressing profound sorrow for the Holocaust.  We remember with great appreciation his Christmas reflections on December 29, 2000, when he memorably expressed remorse for the anti-Jewish attitudes that persisted through history, leading to "deplorable acts of violence" and the Holocaust.  Cardinal Ratzinger said: "Even if the most recent, loathsome experience of the Shoah (Holocaust) was perpetrated in the name of an anti-Christian ideology, which tried to strike the Christian faith at its Abrahamic roots in the people of Israel, it cannot be denied that a certain insufficient resistance to this atrocity on the part of Christians can be explained by an inherited anti-Judaism present in the hearts of not a few Christians."

Though as a teenager he was a member of the Hitler Youth, all his life Cardinal Ratzinger has atoned for the fact.  In our years of working on improving Catholic-Jewish ties, ADL has had opportunities to work with Cardinal Ratzinger.  We look forward to continuing that relationship.


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.



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2005 Anti-Defamation League