Controversy hits pope’s Rome synagogue visit

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ROME (AP) — Some Jewish leaders are protesting Pope Benedict XVI’s planned visit to Rome’s main synagogue, angered by Vatican moves to make World War II Pope Pius XII a saint.

A top rabbi and at least one other prominent community member have announced they will not attend the Sunday event.

It will be the German-born Benedict’s third visit to a synagogue as pope after ones in Cologne, Germany, and New York.

Rome’s chief rabbi Riccardo Di Segni says the visit will be “an example of how to coexist even if we have differences.”

Some Jews and historians have argued that Pius was largely silent on the Holocaust. The Vatican insists Pius used quiet diplomacy to try to save Jews and that speaking out more forcefully would have resulted in more deaths.