synagogue leader excitedly preparing for papal visit
Cologne , Aug. 05 (CWNews.com) - The president of the
Cologne synagogue that Pope Benedict XVI will visit
later this month says that his community is excited and
"very, very happy" about greeting their distinguished
Michael Rado told a Vatican Radio audience that he is
working energetically to ensure that the Pope will find
a reception "which is adequate to the visit from such an
extremely important person."
Rado remarked that although the papal visit takes on
added significance because the Pontiff is German, the
Jewish community understand the Pope to be representing
the worldwide Church, rather than a specific
nationality. "The Pope is the Pope for all the Catholic
people of the world," he remarked.
In Germany, Rado continued, relations between Catholics
and Jews have been characterized by "a tremendous work
of collaboration" since the promulgation of the Vatican
II document Nostra Aetate . He also noted that
the Cologne synagogue, which was destroyed by the Nazi
government in 1938, was re-opened in 1959 largely
because of support from Konrad Adenauer, a devout
Catholic who was then the chancellor of West Germany but
had earlier been the mayor of Cologne.
Pope Benedict will be one of three people to speak
during the synagogue service; his address will follow
talks by a board member of the synagogue, followed by
the rabbi. The hour-long service will include a reading
from the Old Testament, the Psalms, and prayer.