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Guests and good manners

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Oct 07, 2008

Yesterday's appearance by Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen before the Synod of Bishops was an unprecedented event:  that assembly had never before invited a Jewish leader. So it's unfortunate that most news coverage of the Israeli rabbi's talk centered on his public opposition to the beatification of Pope Pius XII.

For the record, that was not the topic that Rabbi Cohen covered at the Synod. He spoke to the bishops about the Jewish perspective on the Scriptures; his speech did not mention Pope Pius. He raised that issue later, outside the Synod Hall, in a meeting with reporters.

Still, the rabbi's criticism of the wartime Pontiff was a display of bad manners. He was an invited guest at the Vatican, given a place of honor at a historic assembly. Exploiting the prominence he gained by that invitation to launch an attack on Pope Pius was rude.  

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