crime is intolerable

VATICAN CITY, 12 FEB 2009 (VIS) -- At midday today, the Holy Father received members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Speaking English, the Pope began his remarks by recalling his first visit to a synagogue, in the German city of Cologne in August 2005. He then mentioned his trip in May of the following year to the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

"As I walked through the entrance to that place of horror, the scene of such untold suffering," he said, "I meditated on the countless number of prisoners, so many of them Jews, who had trodden that same path into captivity at Auschwitz and in all the other prison camps.”

"How can we begin to grasp the enormity of what took place in those infamous prisons?” he asked. “The entire human race feels deep shame at the savage brutality shown to your people at that time."

The Pope then noted how today's visit "occurs in the context of your visit to Italy in conjunction with your annual Leadership Mission to Israel. I too am preparing to visit Israel, a land which is holy for Christians as well as Jews, since the roots of our faith are to be found there."
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