Saturday, April 02, 2005

Polish Jews pray for Pope

Haaretz reports:

Poland's chief rabbi Friday praised Pope John Paul II for promoting reconciliation between Jews and Roman Catholics, and members of Warsaw's small Jewish community gathered to pray for the pope's health.

"We Jews feel a special attachment to Pope John Paul II because of everything he has done for us," Michael Schudrich, an American, told The Associated Press before the service.

"Through his teachings he created that space in the life of Poland today in which Polish Jews can try to live in Poland again."

Most of Poland's Jewish community was exterminated during Nazi Germany's occupation of Poland in World War II. Only an estimated 20,000 Jews live in the country of 38 million people today.

During the ceremony, attended by about 40 people, Schudrich recited psalms and traditional Hebrew prayers dedicated to the ill.

"We are here today to pray for the health and well-being of Pope John Paul II because this is a person who dedicated his life to teaching all of us that we have a fundamental obligation to respect one another just because we are the children of God," Schudrich said.

"Pope John Paul II has changed the soul and spirit of the church so much that we have no choice but to continue his work," Schudrich said.

John Paul worked during his long papacy to reconcile Jews and Catholics by speaking out against anti-Semitism and increasing dialogue between the two faiths.

On the other side, a commentator on the BBC's page (link below) rants that John Paul II has 'set back the human rights of women, gays and lesbians.' Your assignment for today:

  1. Compare the worldwide state of women's and gays' rights in 1978 to their worldwide state in 2005.
  2. Explain precisely how they have been 'set back.'

I guess saying 'I disagree with the Pope' just wasn't inflammatory enough.


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