Contrary to comments attributed to an Israeli rabbi, Pope Benedict XVI will not be barred from entering the holy area of Jerusalem’s Western Wall while wearing a cross.
On Tuesday the Jerusalem Post quoted Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, who oversees worship matters at the Western Wall, as saying that the Pope should not wear a cross during his visit to the area.
“It is not fitting to enter the Western Wall area with religious symbols, including a cross,” the rabbi reportedly said, according to SIR.
Mordechay Lewy, Israel’s Ambassador to the Holy See, issued a clarifying statement saying that the Jerusalem Post’s quotation was “misleading.”
Ambassador Lewy said that Israel will “respect, as a matter of course, the religious symbols of the Holy Father and of his entourage, as expected in accordance with rules of hospitality and dignity,” following the same procedure applied in Pope John Paul II’s papal visit to Israel in 2000.
“This was confirmed to a high Official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Jerusalem personally by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch,” the ambassador’s statement continued.
Pope Benedict is scheduled to visit the Western Wall on May 12 as part of his journey to the Holy Land.