Vatican City, Jan 15, 2010 / 18:07 pm
Pope Benedict's decision to advance the beatification of Pope Pius XII has caused one prominent Italian rabbi to withdraw from Benedict's first visit to Rome's synagogue. However, the Chief Rabbi of Rome plans to go ahead with the event, saying, "We still have to get together, even if we have different opinions."
Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, remains steadfast in his will to bring the event to fruition, despite members of the Jewish community in Rome branding it a "unilateral" decision.
At the root of the debate is Pope Benedict XVI's Dec. 19 approval of measure that put Pope Pius XII a step closer to sainthood. The pope's signature authenticating the 20th century Pontiff's saintly life was met by immediate outcry from members of the worldwide Jewish community.
Fr. Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the Holy See's press office released a statement in the days that followed, clarifying that the Pope's decision was a judgment of the man's faith and not based on the character of his actions during World War II in defense of Jews.