Commentary Magazine


Commentary of the Day

SteelyTom, on Jonathan Tobin:

This is an excellent, balanced analysis. It’s worth underlining that Benedict was the theological and intellectual architect of his predecessor’s efforts to improve Catholic-Jewish relations, and edited the current version of the Catechism which sets forth the church’s much more positive, post-Vatican II teaching on its relationship with Judaism.

When the pope travels to Israel, he does so as representative of my faith community. I’m an American, not a German. Regrettably, Benedict’s Germanness renders his presence in Israel immutably problematic. Israelis (to judge from lefty comment) deem him a German first and religious leader second. As a result, Catholic-Jewish relations have been set back. His visit has cemented Bendict’s gaffe-prone reputation. It has perhaps also blinded some in Israel to the advantages of a friend at the Vatican in this era of Muslim immigration and rising anti-semitism in Europe.

Catholics in the US and elsewhere now have to deal with German-Jewish tensions, to which we have not contributed and have no wish to inflame.

It would have been better if Benedict had chosen to interact with Jewish/Israeli leaders in Rome. I suspect his visit to Yad Vashem was the last we will see from this or any other pope for a long time.