SGR. SARAGAT DEFENDS PIUS XII
POPE PAUL gave new impetus at the weekend to joint efforts by Catholics and Jews to establish a firm foundation of friendship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish communities of the world. While defending the wartime record of Pope Pius X11, he has " strongly deplored the horrible ordeals " suffered by Jews at that time.
The unprecedented move by Italy's foreign minister, Signor Saragat, to defend Pope Pius has touched off a wave of political comment. Left-wing groups are asking whether the minister had the backing of the government. Christian Democrats ask whether the statement went far enough.
Further details are emerging about Pope Pius's activities on behalf of the Jews in Rome, and his approaches to the German authorities.
Meanwhile. Arab propagandists sent to America to persuade Catholic bishops to oppose reinterpretation of Jewisii responsibility for the Crucifixion have been firmly coldshouldered. This is corroborated by Mr. Arnold Forster, of the U.S. B'nai Writh Anti-Defamation League.
Racial, political and religious aspects of Jewish-Catholic relations were discussed by the Pope in a special audience on Saturday granted to leaders of the American Jewish Committee, led by their president, Mr. Morris Abram.
In a separate address to the Italian Association of Former Concentration Camp internees, the Pope praised Pius XII for his tireless, sleepless fight against evil in the last war.
Pope Paul told Mr. Abram and his colleagues that he hoped the racial question would never be the cause, for the Jews or any other ethnic group, of "any diminution in your human rights", which every civilisation worthy of the name must protect.
He added, however. that the religious aspect of Jewish-Catholic relations "motivates our particular consideration for the Jewish religious tradition". Christianity's intimate link with Judaism were the basis of "hope for a relationship of trust and a happy future".
The events of last Saturday give further assurance that the Council will take action, when it meets in September, on the draft project against anti-semitism presented at the second session.
Italy's Foreign Minister Giuseppe Saragat, who heads the Social Democrat element in the coalition government, issued a statement last week protesting against the "campaign of calumnywhich has been raging against the late Pope Pius XII.
He said that these attacks against Pope Pius's memory were "warmly deplored by the Italian goverument, which is made up of men who are the living witnesses to the paternal solicitude of the lamented Pontiff, because of his defence of the values of humanity and of civilisation".
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