.- Contrary to comments attributed to an Israeli rabbi, Pope Benedict XVI will not be barred from entering the holy area of Jerusalemâs 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.
âIt is not fitting to enter the Western Wall area with religious symbols, including a cross,â the rabbi reportedly said, according to SIR.
Mordechay Lewy, Israelâs Ambassador to the Holy See, issued a clarifying statement saying that the Jerusalem Postâs quotation was âmisleading.â
Ambassador Lewy said that Israel will ârespect, 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,â following the same procedure applied in Pope John Paul IIâs papal visit to Israel in 2000.
âThis was confirmed to a high Official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Jerusalem personally by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch,â the ambassadorâs statement continued.
Pope Benedict is scheduled to visit the Western Wall on May 12 as part of his journey to the Holy Land.