Italian media quoted a spokesperson for Pope Benedict XVI as saying that he would not visit Israel until a caption below a photo of Pope Pius XII, who reigned during the Holocaust era, was removed. The caption, attached to a photo of the pope hanging in Yad Vashem, states that Pius "abstained from signing the Allied declaration condemning the extermination of the Jews" and "maintained his neutral position throughout the war." According to the Church, Pius worked "secretly and silently" during World War Two to "avoid the worst and save the greatest number of Jews possible."
Jews have opposed recent attempts by the Church to turn Pius into a saint. At a Vatican meeting earlier this month, Haifa Chief Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen said that Jews could not “forgive and forget” the lack of action by the Church to save Jews during the Holocaust.
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