Rabbis Yaakov Ariel & Shlomo Aviner Shlita on the Upcoming Papal Visit


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popeWith about two weeks remaining until Pope Francis arrives in Jerusalem, the Ministry of Education has decided it must act by advancing Christian content in the public school curriculum under the banner “Exposing students to the lights, not only shadows in regard to relations between the Christian world and Jews”.

Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi and noted posek HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Ariel says “[Do you want us] to tell the youth in Israel that Christianity has changed its character? This is an inexcusable injustice.” He adds “Christianity has been hostile to Jews forever. Millions of Jews were slaughtered by Christians and one cannot say the attitude has changed. Merely 65 years ago the pope opposed the creation of the state because they claim Christianity replaces Judaism and the State of Israel contradicts the Christian faith”.

The Education Committee of the Knesset feels introducing the Christian content into the curriculum is an appropriate act towards marking 50 years since the death of the pope who was an ally of Israel and during WWII acted as a Vatican emissary in Turkey. “The Christian theology remains anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli. Christianity cannot recognize the return of the Jewish People to its land. For this contradicts their thesis. According to them, Am Yisrael suffers because it did not accept the man. This confusion being presented to the children is very dangerous for children must be taught of the dangers of missionaries. Christians believe that one day will convert and we must stop the Education Committee and its deviant plan”.

HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Aviner Shlita adds that while the pope did assist many Jews during the Holocaust, he remains adamantly opposed as well. He explains that it is nice and comforting to declare the pope a “righteous gentile” in Yad Vashem but we must see what he did nonetheless. His actions were his own and not in the name of the church. Rav Aviner explains he did what he did because he is a person and not because he is a Christian. “Christianity is not our friend but ontological and hostile. Catholicism wants us to disappear from the face of the earth when that time comes and therefore we recommend to diminish studies [on Catholicism] and increase studies in Judaism, not to seek poisoned bread but rather to commit to keeping the Torah which was given to us by Moshe before Bnei Yisrael”.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. The rabbis are wrong here. The church HAS changed. Pope John XXIII was the first Pope to be favorable to Jews in over 400 years but his successors continued his policies. The Church completely turned its attitude around at Vatican II. Recently the current Pope changed the church’s theology, declaring publicly that God’s covenant with the Jewish people is eternal and irrevocable. These changes are real.

  2. Studies have shown that most children educated in the public school system do not know: a) the names of the Avos, b)the Aseres haDibros and c)Shma Yisroel!!! So let’s teach them catholisicm! zeh leumas zeh. What a trade off!

  3. We are waiting for a STRONG WORDED APOLOGY from the Pope, as the head of the Chrisitian word for their indifference and passivity towards Jews during WWII.

  4. And don’t forget that Vatican II also forgave us for killing… Either we didn’t do it, or we don’t need to be forgiven. Sort of “do you still beat your wife?”

    Changed? The words, but not the tune.

  5. ‘which doesnt stop another “pope” reversing the policy of the vatican.’

    Well we now are on a six pope winning streak. And the bishops and cardinals they appoint are of like mind.

    “additionally, if that was the case, then the pope should outlaw missionaries”

    He basically has. The US bishops in particular have been outspoken that Jews should not be targeted for conversion efforts and haven’t done so in decades. They were even called anti-Semites by one prominent evangelical leader because they were denying Jews the “benefit” of the atonement of Jesus. They have also changed their educational materials and their school curricula to eliminate anti-Semitism.

  6. Christianity HAS changed.

    It used to incite the christians to riot, murder and plunder the Jews. but things have changed.

    Not it denies any role in causing murder, rape and plunder and looks to ‘up’ its image as a ‘user friendly’ religion while hiding the horrible facts that it is responsible for millions of Jewish deaths and property loss for the past 2000 years.

    Things have changed, not the Church is ‘upping’ its image. I say we should ‘up’ the Church and its representative.

  7. As one who worked in anti-missionary work, I think there are a few misconceptions here.
    Although the Pope might think he represents authentic Christianity, he only represents Catholicism. Catholicism is experiencing a downward trend in popularity in recent years. As such, not because they want to, but because it is pragmatic, Catholicism no longer missionizes to Jews, and has pursued a policy of increasing good relations with the Jewish people. Because their creed is much more inflexible than other branches of Christianity, they cannot hope to convince too many in today’s world to join them anyway.
    Thus, although Catholicism is responsible for centuries of death and persecution of Jews through most of the civilized world, except for North America, they present a gentle gentile posture because their power is on the descendancy.
    Protestantism and Lutheranism, and its varying forms, on the other hand, is on the rise. They actively missionize to Jews, which is why we need to examine closely all their lovey-dovey overtures to Jews and the Jewish State. It is for this reason that lumping all of Christianity into one murky soup by increasing study of Christianity in public schools is so dangerous. It may result in helping to bring our Jewish brethren to Protestant Christianity while trying to thank the Catholics.
    And even Catholicism hasn’t really changed. Their New Testament anti-semitic verses are still in print and nothing from the apostolic venom has been retracted as non-prophetic.
    We owe it to the Jewish martyrs of Christian Europe throughout the generations to bear a grudge against Christianity in all forms, even if we acknowledge the positive efforts at human fairness on the part of some Christians, whether they be popes or not.
    And now with the growing scourge of Muslims in Europe, the European continent may receive their long-awaited comeuppance when Christianity might become as persecuted as they did to the Jews.

  8. Charliehall and lazerc:

    Ask any german holocaust survivor, they will tell you that your expressions of optimism was expressed prior to WWII as well.

  9. Spectrum,

    You are wrong. No Pope since the early 1500s had ever done anything good for Jews. Then in 1958 they elected a Pope (who was just declared last month to be a saint) who had had to leave Italy because of his opposition to Mussolini and had worked to save Jews from the Shoah. That Pope’s five successors have been every bit has good.

    We can’t keep fighting battles that have been won.

  10. Sorry charlie

    John Paul II’s most frequent foreign “diplomatic” visitor? Arafat. Pope Benedict restored to the Good Friday mass the latin term “perfidus” (meaning treacherous and faithless, as in “perfidious”) in reference to Jews. This Pope just made them both saints. If that’s your idea of “good” Popes…