The European Rabbinical Council said Monday that it hoped that Pope Benedict XVI's replacement would continue to fight anti-Semitism, as Benedict himself had continued from his predecessor. In the wake of Benedict's announcement that he planned to resign at the end of the month, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, head of the group, said that Benedict had made “historic strides” in combating anti-Semitism.
“He continued the policies of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, in reducing the historic levels of anti-Semitism in the Catholic Church, by staging visits to synagogues and conducting dialog with the Jewish people, and by improving relations with the State of Israel.
“It;s clear that there are still many painful issues that need to be worked through,” Rabbi Goldschmidt said. “We hope that his replacement will continue the dialog with the Jewish people and continue fighting anti-Semitism, both inside and outside the Church.”
On Monday, Benedict announced that he will be resigning from his post on Feb 28, as he no longer has the strength to fulfill the required duties. The office will be left vacant until a successor is chosen, a Vatican spokesman said.
Benedict will be the first leader of the Church to step down voluntarily in almost six centuries.