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Saint Pius X and Theodore Herzl -- Gesture of Apology by Pope Francis?

Saint Pius X and Theodore Herzl -- Gesture of Apology by Pope Francis?

(Jerusalem), the Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayomand internet radio station Arutz Sheva reported a few days ago on the Pope's visit to the Holy Land, the Catholic Church leader's intention to make a "gesture of apology" to the founder of Zionism, because of the "injustice" that Theodor Herzl had received from St. Pius X.. But what did St. Pius X did to the Zionist leader? Theodor Herzl himself reported.

Israel Hayom reported on May 23. "Next Sunday, Pope Francis comes to Israel, where he intends to make a historic gesture of apology for an "injustice" that was committed 110 years ago by the Vatican.

In 1904  the Zionist leader Theodor Herzl visited the Vatican to ask the Pope Pius X, to assist in the establishment of the modern Jewish state of Israel, the homeland of the Jewish nation. But Pius refused."

The Visit to Herzl's Grave

Now Francis plans on visiting Herzl Mountain to visit Herzl's grave    to lay a floral wreath on his grave stone as a sign of apology. 

"Should this be the reason for the visit of Herzl's grave, and not an intended by the Israeli government for state as a guest 
obstacle course, which one could hardly escape from diplomatic considerations, that would be serious,"  wrote the Catholic site Pagina Catolica of Argentina. "On the one hand Pope Francis can not ignore that Zionism is not the identical to Judaism, but represents a particular political nationalist direction, and that this Zionism has caused much suffering among Christians and still causes it. Secondly, such a gesture could be interpreted as distancing and condemning of Pope Pius X, even if this is not the intention of Francis," said Pagina Catolica .

"To create balance in a balancing act is difficult. Playing with compensations can be dangerous in the political ground," said the Catholic site. It seems difficult to imagine that such a gesture would not have been criticized on the Palestinian and Muslim side. As had been already criticized by the Jewish side, the papal commitment to two states in Bethlehem, his prayer at the separation wall and the call for a "just solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict" in Jordan. Is the visit to Herzl's tomb "as compensation" for these statements, gestures and demands?

Israel Hayom reported that Pope friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka, who visited with the Pope and the Muslim Omar Abboud Jerusalem, the Israeli newspaper described the triad as "Holy Trinity", was announced a few months ago  as a "definitive gesture for Israel."

Theodor Herzl's Report on the Meeting with Pope Pius X in 1904

On the 1st of July 1956 in the journal La Terre Retrovée a text of Theodor Herzl was published about his meeting with Pope Pius X on January 26, 1904:
Yesterday I was with the Pope. The route was already familiar since I had traversed it with Lippay several times. Past the Swiss lackeys, who looked like clerics, and clerics who looked like lackeys, the Papal officers and chamberlains.

I arrived 10 minutes ahead of time and didn't even have to wait. I was conducted through numerous small reception rooms to the Pope. He received me standing and held out his hand, which I did not kiss. Lippay had told me I had to do it, but I didn't. I believe that I incurred his displeasure by this, for everyone who visits him kneels down and at least kisses his hand.

This hand kiss had caused me a lot of worry. I was quite glad when it was finally out of the way. He seated himself in an armchair, a throne for minor occasions. Then he invited me to sit down right next to him and smiled in friendly anticipation. 

I began: "Ringrazio Vostra Santità per il favore di m'aver accordato quest'udienza" [I thank Your Holiness for the favor of according me this audience]." "È un piacere [It is a pleasure]," he said with kindly deprecation. I apologized for my miserable Italian, but he said: "No, parla molto bene, signor Commendatore [No, Commander, you speak very well]." For I had put on for the first time—on Lippay's advice—my Mejidiye ribbon.

Consequently the Pope always addressed me as Commendatore. He is a good, coarse-grained village priest, to whom Christianity has remained a living thing even in the Vatican. I briefly placed my request before him. He, however, possibly annoyed by my refusal to kiss his hand, answered sternly and resolutely: "Noi non possiamo favorire questo movimento. Non potremo impedire gli Ebrei di andare a Gerusalemme—ma favorire non possiamo mai. La terra di Gerusalemme se non era sempre santa, è santificata per la vita di Jesu Christo (he did not pronounce it Gesu, but Yesu, in the Venetian fashion). Io come capo della chiesa non posso dirle altra cosa. Gli Ebrei non hanno riconosciuto nostro Signore, perciò non possiamo riconoscere il popolo ebreo [We cannot give approval to this movement. We cannot prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem—but we could never sanction it. The soil of Jerusalem, if it was not always sacred, has been sanctified by the life of Jesus Christ. As the head of the Church I cannot tell you anything different. The Jews have not recognized our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people]." 

Hence the conflict between Rome, represented by him, and Jerusalem, represented by me, was once again opened up. At the outset, to be sure, I tried to be conciliatory. I recited my little piece about extraterritorialization, res sacrae extra commercium [holy places removed from business]. It didn't make much of an impression. 

Gerusalemme, he said, must not get into the hands of the Jews. "And its present status, Holy Father?" 

 "I know, it is not pleasant to see the Turks in possession of our Holy Places. We simply have to put up with that. But to support the Jews in the acquisition of the Holy Places, that we cannot do." I said that our point of departure had been solely the distress of the Jews and that we desired to avoid the religious issues. "Yes, but we, and I as the head of the Church, cannot do this. There are two possibilities. Either the Jews will cling to their faith and continue to await the Messiah who, for us, has already appeared. In that case they will be denying the divinity of Jesus and we cannot help them. Or else they will go there without any religion, and then we can be even less favorable to them. 

"The Jewish religion was the foundation of our own; but it was superseded by the teachings of Christ, and we cannot concede it any further validity. The Jews, who ought to have been the first to acknowledge Jesus Christ, have not done so to this day." It was on the tip of my tongue to say, "That's what happens in every family. No one believes in his own relatives." But I said instead: "Terror and persecution may not have been the right means for enlightening the Jews." 

 But he rejoined, and this time he was magnificent in his simplicity: 

 "Our Lord came without power. Era povero [He was poor]. He came in pace [in peace]. He persecuted no one. He was persecuted. He was abbandonato [forsaken] even by his apostles. Only later did he grow in stature. It took three centuries for the Church to evolve. The Jews therefore had time to acknowledge his divinity without any pressure. But they haven't done so to this day." 

 "But, Holy Father, the Jews are in terrible straits. I don't know if Your Holiness is acquainted with the full extent of this sad situation. We need a land for these persecuted people." 

 "Does it have to be Gerusalemme?"

 "We are not asking for Jerusalem, but for Palestine—only the secular land." 

 "We cannot be in favor of it."

Originally posted at:

• From New York Times, May 25, 2014
"He [Pope Francis] became the first Vatican leader to lay a wreath of signature yellow and white flowers on the tomb of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism."

Pope Francis visit to the western wall together with the western wall Rabbi



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