Invite au synode reuni a Rome, le grand rabbin de Haifa
revient sur l'attitude de l'Eglise pendant la Shoah
L'intervention, historique, du rabbin israelien Shear Yashuv
Cohen devant le synode des eveques reuni a Rome, lundi 6
octobre, favorisera-t-elle un dialogue apaise entre juifs et
Prenant la parole, lundi 6 octobre, le grand rabbin de Haifa a
evoque "l'histoire faite de sang et de larmes (entre les juifs) et
les responsables et les fideles de l'Eglise catholique". Sortant
de son discours ecrit et dans une allusion au pape Pie XII,
il a denonce le silence des responsables religieux sur le sort
des juifs durant la Shoah. "Nous ne pouvons pas oublier le
fait douloureux que de grands leaders religieux ne se soient
pas eleves pour sauver nos freres et qu'ils aient choisi de
garder le silence. Nous ne pouvons pas pardonner et oublier
cela et j'espere que vous comprenez notre peine", a-t-il
declare devant les eveques reunis autour de "la parole de
Dieu". M. Cohen a toutefois estime que sa presence etait
"un signal d'espoir et un message d'amour".
Le 18 septembre, Benoit XVI avait rendu hommage a
Pie XII, estimant que ce pape controverse "n'avait pas
epargne ses efforts pour intervenir en faveur (des juifs)".
Son proces en beatification est en cours au Vatican et, le 9
octobre, jour du 50e anniversaire de sa mort, le synode
devrait assister a une messe en sa memoire. A la sortie du
synode, le rabbin, qui copreside la commission pour le
dialogue entre Israֳ«l et le Vatican, s'est declare "contre la
beatification de Pie XII".
Ce nouveau differend intervient quelques mois apres les
tensions qui ont marque les relations entre l'Eglise catholique
et la communaute juive. En liberalisant, en juillet 2007,
le rite ancien de l'Eglise, qui comprend, outre la messe en
latin, une priere pour la "conversion des juifs", Benoit XVI
avait suscite la desapprobation de religieux juifs et de
specialistes du dialogue judeo-chretien. Le pape avait alors
modifie les termes de la priere en fevrier 2008 ; mais il y est
toujours demande que "Dieu eclaire le coeur des juifs, afin
qu'ils connaissent Jesus-Christ".
Dans un entretien a La Repubblica, lundi, M. Cohen a estime
que le dialogue entre juifs et chretiens repose sur "le respect
reciproque", esperant que "le soupcon que l'on veuille nous
convertir n'a plus de raison d'etre". Pour le rapporteur du
synode, le cardinal Marc Ouellet, "compte tenu de l'histoire
tragique des relations entre (le peuple juif) et l'Eglise, celle-ci
est invitee a reparer l'injustice commise a l'egard des juifs
mais aussi a un nouveau respect pour l'interpretation juive de
Lundi, le rabbin Cohen a par ailleurs aborde un terrain
politique. Demandant aux eveques "d'elever la voix pour
qu'ensemble, avec l'aide du monde libre, nous defendions et
sauvions Israֳ«l des mains de nos ennemis", dans une
allusion au president iranien Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Stephanie Le Bars
Article paru dans l'edition du 08.10.08
Haifa chief rabbi addresses the Vatican
Oct. 7, 2008
MATTHEW WAGNER and news agencies , THE
Haifa Chief Rabbi She'ar Yishuv Cohen expressed his
opposition to the beatification of Holocaust-era Pope Pius XII
Monday during an unprecedented address before the Vatican's
Synod of Bishops.
In the first appearance by a Jew before the supreme
representative body of the Catholic Church, Cohen, who was
invited to speak about the significance of the Torah for the
Jewish people, expressed Jewish disappointment with Pius.
"We feel that the late pope [Pius] should have spoken up
much more strongly than he did [against the Holocaust],"
Cohen told reporters before his address at the Vatican.
"He may have helped in secrecy many of the victims and
many of the refugees but the question is could he have raised
his voice and would it have helped or not?
"We, as the victims, feel [the answer is] yes, [and] I am not
empowered by the families of the millions of deceased to say
we forget, we forgive," said Cohen, who is a member of the
Chief Rabbinate's Commission for Relations with the Vatican.
Last month Pope Benedict defended Pius, saying he "spared
no effort" on the part of the Jews.
Benedict's comments fueled speculation that Pius would be
awarded the status of saint as the Vatican celebrated the 50th
anniversary of Pius's death.
There were even rumors that Cohen's precedent-setting
invitation to address the synod was aimed at balancing out the
expected Jewish opposition to the decision to beatify Pius.
Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Interreligious
Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, said that the
synod's main focus was to formulate the Church's stand on
how to present the Old Testament to Catholics.
"The Catholic Church's theological position on the Jewish
people is a work in progress," said Rosen.
"There are differing approaches today within the Church
regarding the Jewish people. There are those who say that
Catholics should pray, if not work, for the eventual conversion
of Jews as a condition for their salvation.
"Others argue that the Jews, unlike other religious faiths,
have a unique position. They say that the Church needs to
affirm the integrity of the Jewish people as a vehicle for God's
plan of redemption for humanity and [that] Jews have an
ongoing vitality and purpose in God's design.
"If this more accommodating approach is adopted by the
Church, that could have a tremendous impact on Church
teachings. Rabbi She'ar Yishuv's participation in the synod
could help foster a more positive approach."
Meanwhile, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Shmuel Riccardo Di
Segni, said in a telephone conversation with The Jerusalem
Post that there were members of the local Jewish community
who were opposed to Cohen's participation in the synod.
"Many people here, including myself, think that Rabbi Cohen
should have consulted with the local community to understand
the complex relations with the Church before agreeing to take
part in the synod."
Di Segni said that in interviews with the local Italian press,
Cohen had labeled as "extremists" individuals in the Italian
Jewish community who opposed his addressing the synod.
"These people are not extremists by any means. They are
simply people who are aware of the delicate relationship
between the Church and the Jews," he said.
Haifa Chief Rabbi at Vatican: Wartime Pope let Jews down
w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
The first Jew to address a Vatican synod on Monday told the
gathering that Jews "cannot forgive and forget" that some
major religious leaders during World War Two did not speak
out against the Holocaust.
Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen's words, spoken in the presence of
Pope Benedict, were a clear reference to wartime Pope Pius
XII, who many Jews say did not do enough to help them.
Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen told Reuters earlier Monday that
wartime Pope Pius XII should have done more to help Jews
during the Holocaust.
Cohen he might have stayed away if he had known the major
Church gathering coincided with ceremonies to honor Pius on
the 50th anniversary of his death.
"We feel that the late pope [Pius] should have spoken up
much more strongly than he did," said Cohen, 80, in an
interview hours before he was due to address the gathering of
Catholic bishops from around the world.
Cohen said that in his speech he planned to make an indirect
reference to Jewish disappointment about Pius as well as an
appeal to all religious leaders to denounce Iranian President
Last month Pope Benedict forcefully defended Pius, saying he
"spared no effort" on behalf of Jews during World War II.
Some Jews maintain Pius did not do enough to save Jews
while the Vatican says he worked behind the scenes to help
because more direct intervention would have worsened the
"He may have helped in secrecy many of the victims and
many of the refugees but the question is 'could he have raised
his voice and would it have helped or not?'" Cohen said.
"We, as the victims, feel yes. I am not empowered by the
families of the millions of deceased to say 'we forget, we
forgive,'" said Cohen, who is chief rabbi of Haifa in Israel.
Pius is one of the most difficult issues in Catholic-Jewish
relations. On Thursday the Vatican marks the 50th
anniversary of his death, Benedict celebrates a Mass in his
memory and there will be a conference and photo show on his
papacy next month.
"I did not know [the anniversary commemorations] happened
during the same meeting. If I had known ... I might have
refrained from coming because we feel that the pain is still
here," Cohen said.
"I have to make it very clear that we, the rabbis, the
leadership of the Jewish people, cannot as long as the
survivors still feel painful agree that this leader of the Church
in a time of crisis should be honored now. It is not our
decision. It pains us. We are sorry it is being done," he said.
Cohen said only God knows if Pius spoke out enough against
the Holocaust: "God is the judge ... he knows the truth".
Urged by historians to open up all its archives from World
War II, the Vatican says some are closed for organizational
reasons but that most of the significant documentation
regarding Pius is already open to scholars.
Last year, the Vatican's saint-making department voted in
favor of a decree recognizing Pius' "heroic virtues", a major
hurdle in a long process toward possible sainthood that began
in 1967. But Pope Benedict has so far not approved the decree.
Some Jewish groups say the Vatican should freeze the process
of beatification but others say it is an internal Church matter.
Cohen said he would also appeal to the synod to denounce
Ahmadinejad, who made another virulent anti-Israel speech
last month at the United Nations. He said he would "appeal to
the leaders of religion not to keep quiet, not to stand aside".
"He says that he wants to annihilate Israel and destroy it. The
problem in the days of the Second World War was that people
didn't believe that what Adolf Hitler was saying, he really
meant to fulfill".
"Unfortunately we had the Holocaust and I am sure that if we
have a painful memory it is because we don't feel that enough
was done by the leadership of the religions in the world and
other powerful leaders to stop it at that time. We expect them
to do it today," he said.
En parallele, la television Italienne retransmet un
marathon de lecture de la Bible, nuit et jour
In parallel, Italian TV shows a marathon of reading
of the Bible, day and night
Le grand rabbin de Haifa Shear Yashuv Cohen , le premier Juif qui s'adresse a un
synode au Vatican
"un signal d'espoir et un message d'amour"
Haifa Chief Rabbi Shear Yishuv Cohen, the first Jew to address a synod of Catholic
"signal of hope for generations to come " after a history of "blood and tears"
between Christians and Jews.
Wartime pope overshadows Catholic-Jewish talks
Posted by bmeyer October 06, 2008 00:15AM
AP, FilePius XII in 1943
VATICAN CITY -- This Thursday, Oct. 9, Pope Benedict XVI
will celebrate a special Mass in St. Peter's Basilica to mark the
50th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XII.
The fact that Oct. 9 this year coincides with Yom Kippur, the
Jewish Day of Atonement, is ironic, since debate over Pius'
record is one of the most divisive issues in the relationship
between Jews and the Catholic Church.
As the Vatican's Secretary of State during Hitler's rise to power,
and then as pope during World War II, Pius guided his church's
response to the Nazis' persecution and genocide of the Jews.
Pius' critics say that he failed to do or say all he could to stop
the atrocities. The late pope's defenders counter that he
heroically condemned anti-Semitism throughout Hitler's reign,
and both directly and indirectly saved thousands of Jewish lives
during the Holocaust, especially during the 1943-44 German
occupation of Rome.
Many students of the debate trace its origin to Rolf Hochhuth's
play "The Deputy" (1963), which portrays the wartime pontiff
as prompt to abandon the Jews for the sake of the Vatican's
financial and geopolitical interests. The subject has since
spawned a vast array of literature, including John Cornwell's
controversial 1999 bestseller, "Hitler's Pope."
More recently, the debate has turned even more intense, as the
church inches closer to making Pius a saint. Advocates for his
canonization cite accomplishments that include major reforms
of liturgy and canon law, as well as his help to the Jews.
The cardinals and archbishops who sit on the Vatican's
Congregation for the Causes of Saints voted unanimously last
May to recognize the late pope's "heroic virtue" and declare him
"venerable," thus bringing him one step closer to sainthood.
However, instead of approving the congregation's decision,
Benedict took the extraordinary step of appointing a commission
to reconsider Pius' record, with special attention to Jewish
Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, the congregation's head, told
reporters last February that evaluation of Pius' sanctity had "not
been delayed, much less stalled," and that commemorative
events linked to the 50th anniversary would contribute to the
Before Pius could be canonized, he would first need to be
beatified and credited with a miracle due to his intercession. A
second miracle would be needed in order for him to be named a
Within the next few weeks, the Vatican will sponsor a
photographic exhibition on Pius and an academic conference
devoted to his contributions to Catholic doctrine.
A symposium in Rome last month, organized by the U.S.-based
Pave the Way Foundation, was not held under Vatican auspices
but received a high-level endorsement when Benedict received
participants at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.
The "vast quantity of documented material" presented at the
conference, Benedict said, showed that Pius had "spared no
effort in intervening" on behalf of the Jews, though in many
cases "secretly and silently, precisely because ... only in this way
was it possible to avoid the worst and save the greatest number
According to Michael Phayer, a professor emeritus of history at
Marquette University who has written about Pius and the
Holocaust, a 200-page book of documentation published by the
conference contains no new evidence. Phayer called for the
Vatican to open its archives for the World War II period, which
are still largely inaccessible to scholars.
That call was echoed by Abraham Foxman, national director of
the Anti-Defamation League, who said that any new proof of
Pius' behind-the-scenes assistance to Jews would help ease
Catholic-Jewish tensions -- even though it would not satisfy
those who have deemed Pius' public actions inadequate.
Foxman, who survived the Holocaust in German-occupied
Lithuania thanks to his Catholic nanny and a sympathetic priest,
said Pius' reputation would be especially enhanced by evidence
that such individual Catholics came to the aid of Jews with the
support and encouragement of their pope.
"It would be nice if I could stand up and say that I bear
testimony not only to the compassion and love of my nanny and
priest but to that of the church," Foxman said. "Then the
Vatican could take credit."
Cette page est dediee a la memoire du Cardinal Saliege, archeveque de Toulouse,
bien connu pour ses prises de position sous le regime de Vichy
This page is dedicated to the memory of Cardinal Saliege, archbishop of Toulouse,
well known for his clear opinions during the Vichy regime