Pope's Holocaust speech offered no empathy: rabbi

Tue May 12, 2009 5:00am EDT
 
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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's Holocaust memorial chairman expressed disappointment at a speech by Pope Benedict on Monday in which he strove to repair relations between Jews and the Catholic Church, damaged by a Holocaust-denying bishop.

"There certainly was no apology expressed here," Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, chairman of the Yad Vashem council, told Israeli television on the first day of the papal visit.

The German-born pope made a moving speech, he said, but added: "Something was missing. There was no mention of the Germans or the Nazis who participated in the butchery, nor a word of regret."

Nor was there an "expression of empathy with the sorrow."

Lau also criticized the pope for not specifically saying six million Jews were killed -- though Pope Benedict did use this figure earlier in the day during another speech.

(For a graphic on the Pope's trip see here)

(For more on faith and ethics, see the Reuters religion blog FaithWorld at blogs.reuters.com/faithworld)