When Theodor Herzl came to the Vatican in 1904 to plead with Pope Pius X (picture) to alleviate the suffering of European Jews, the pope bluntly told him that:
«The Jews have not recognized our lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people».
This is information made available in yesterdays issue of Simon Wiesenthal Centers newsletter.
Herzl countered that perhaps terror and persecution were not the right means by which to enlighten them, but the pope rebuffed him: «They had ample time to acknowledge Christ’s divinity without pressure, but they didn’t».
Pope Pius XII warned Washington
Although the Vatican had no suggestions on how to save the Jews, it did have strong opinions about keeping European Jews out of Palestine. On June 22, 1943, the Vatican sent these points to its apostolic delegation in Washington:
«If the greater part of Palestine is given to the Jewish people, this would be a severe blow to the religious attachments of Catholics to this land. To have the Jewish people in the majority would interfere with the peaceful exercise of these rights in the Holy Land already vested in Catholics».
Refused to say «Israel»
Even after Israel was founded in 1948, the Vatican’s official newspaper insisted:
«Modern Israel is not the true heir of biblical Israel. … Therefore, the Holy Land and its sacred sites belong to Christianity, the true Israel».
In 1964, during Pope Paul VI’s historic visit to Jerusalem, he refused to publicly utter the word «Israel» and even his thank-you note to then-President Zalman Shazar was mailed to Tel Aviv, lest he be accused of acknowledging Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem.
Source: Simon Wiesenthal Center:
– Catholic Church’s long road to accepting Judaism. The Vatican today is not the same institution that once fostered anti-Semitism.
Read more about the Papal views on Israel: Click here