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The Vatican and the Jews: Pope John XXIII

Thc Catholic Church is very sensitive to the Jewish charge that it did not do enough to save Jews from the Nazis. Thomas Cahill must have had this in his mind when he wrote his biography of Pope John XXIII. As papal nuncio to the Balkans and to Turkey, he dealt with Orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims, and established good relations with all. He was stationed in Istanbul during World War II, and by various devices, including false birth certificates, saved as many a half a million Jews. When he became Pope, he changed the prayer for the Jews. omitting any reference to their conversion. One of his first posts was as nuncio to Paris, where he was beloved for his simplicity, kindness and humor. The present Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, is a converted Jew. I wonder if it was the future John XXIII who converted him?

Ronald Hilton - 4/7/02