New York, NY, April 27, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today congratulated the Catholic Church and Pope Francis on the canonization of his predecessors Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, two deeply pious men of faith who through their words and deeds transformed the Catholic Church’s 2,000-year history of anti-Semitism and set a new tone for positive relations with the Jewish people.
Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
Sunday was a historic and celebratory day for the Catholic Church with the canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. For the Jewish people, Popes John Paul II and John XXIII have already been saints for a long time.
For Catholics as well as Jews, this occasion marks a day of gratification and commendation. These two newly canonized popes transformed relations between Catholics and Jews. They reversed a tragic history that for centuries was characterized by enmity, by denigration of Jews, and by anti-Semitism, and set the tone for a new relationship built on mutual trust, friendship and understanding.
John XXIII’s convening of Vatican II and the passage of Nostra Aetate, the declaration that ended the devastating deicide charge against the Jews, was the qualitive conceptual leap after the Holocaust that opened up a new era in relations. And John Paul II, with his visit to the synagogue in Rome, his declarations on anti-Semitism, and his visit and opening up relations with Israel, turned the concept of a new relationship into a reality.
Catholics and Jews have much to be thankful for in expressing their gratitude to these two singular spiritual leaders.