EWTN Catholic Q&A
Benedict XVI - Relationship With Judaism
Question from Annie on 04-19-2005:

Do you know if Benedict XVI has a record of reaching out to those of the Jewish faith?

Also, now that he's been elected, what happens to the interim staff that's stayed on (i.e., Piero Marini and the rest of his staff, and the interim cardinal that's run things?)

Answer by David Gregson on 05-02-2005:

Jewish groups have been more receptive of Pope Benedict's election than some Catholics. From ZENIT 30 April 2005:

"... spokesmen from a diversity of Jewish groups quickly defended Benedict XVI. Rabbi David Rosen, the international director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee, dismissed the attacks. The Jerusalem Post on April 19 reported Rosen saying of the new Pope: 'His own national background makes him sensitive to the dangers of anti-Semitism and the importance of Jewish-Catholic reconciliation.'

"And on April 20 the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz cited Israel Singer, chairman of the World Jewish Congress, who said Cardinal Ratzinger 'was the man who provided the theological underpinnings for Pope John Paul II's decision to open relations with Israel. He solved the real problem that existed -- the 2,000-year-old theological question. He was the one who had the keys to open that lock. In the last 20 years he has changed the 2,000-year history of relations between Jews and Christianity. I believe he will continue the policies of John Paul II with regard to relations with the Jews and Israel.'

"One of the first acts of Benedict XVI was to send a message to Rome's chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni. Following this gesture, in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa on April 23, Rabbi Segni commented that the Pope's desire to send a message so soon after his election was a strong sign that Benedict XVI wished to continue the special relationship between the Church and the Jewish community in Rome which begun with Pope John XXIII and reached new heights under John Paul II."

Most of the Curia have been confirmed in their offices, at least for the time being.