In a private audience with Pope Francis on Oct. 24, Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), urged the leader of the Catholic Church to confront the evil that exists in the world, even while praying and working for peace.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday welcomed Pope Francis' recent remarks that the Catholic Church must shake off an obsession with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuals, saying the pontiff was showing incredible humility.
The Vatican rejected comments by the head of a breakaway traditionalist group calling Jews “enemies of the church” and reiterated that it was committed to dialogue with the Jewish world.
I take it as a given that every reader of this journal believes that murder is wrong. (By murder, I mean the immoral taking of a human life — not killing in defense of self or others; not a just war of defense; and not taking animal life.)
Don Israel speaks no English, and I speak almost no Spanish. But I understood him well enough to realize that, as I began to plant one of the mango trees that would be placed in his field that day, he obviously thought I was doing it wrong.
How would most American Jews react to the following historical assessment by a noted Yiddish scholar, professor Gennady Estraikh of New York University?
What were the Jews doing becoming so involved in a debate over contraception? It was a question that more than Jewish official asked themselves over recent months as tensions between the Obama administration and leaders of the Catholic Church rose to the boiling point over the issue of contraceptive coverage.
The announcement piqued the immediate interest of independent, Seattle-based filmmaker David Rabinovitch, and he started the long, torturous road of recreating the history of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, from its beginning in the early 13th century to its final gasps in the late 19th century. The result is the four-hour miniseries, "Secret Files of the Inquisition," which PBS stations will air May 9 and 16, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
"A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair" by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. (Knopf, 2002). $25
After provoking a furious debate over the role of ordinary Germans in the Holocaust with his book, "Hitler's Willing Executioners" (Vintage, 1995) Daniel Goldhagen tackles an even more explosive subject, the role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust, in his new book, "A Moral Reckoning." The power of the book is neither in the answers it gives nor the evidence it marshals, but in the questions it poses. None is more central than the one that frames the book: "What must a religion of love and goodness do to confront its history of hatred and harm, to make amends with its victims and to right itself so that it is no longer the source of a hatred and harm that, whatever its past, it would no longer endorse?" Goldhagen approaches the question in three parts: Clarifying the Conduct, Judging the Culpability and Repairing the Harm.