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Pope John Paul II
On the Death of Pope John Paul II
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Apr 12, 2005 -- On the Death of Pope John Paul II
A Statement by the Rabbinical Council of America

April 12th 2005

Pope John Paul II’s multifaceted legacy of both policy and personality has led to a remarkable outpouring of sympathy and grief around the world. The Jewish people have particular reason to remember him with affection and admiration. Through symbolic gestures and concrete decisions, John Paul II provided substance and momentum to the historic declaration on the Jews issued by the Second Vatican Council forty years ago. He prayed for divine forgiveness for Christian sins against the Jewish people, spoke of the need for repentance, presided over a Church that no longer sponsors missionary activity directed at Jews, and established diplomatic relations with the State of Israel.

As Orthodox rabbis, we are also appreciative of his firm commitment to values that stand near the core of both our faiths. While we do not always embrace the precise contours of the Catholic position on contentious ethical or political questions, we find ourselves in broad agreement on the need to defend traditional morality in a world cast adrift from its moorings. We have lost a friend of the Jewish people, a beacon of moral principle, and exemplar of deep humanity. He will be profoundly missed.

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