Pope Benedict on the Question of Judaism

As Benedict visits the Holy Land, a look at why his views on Judaism are still causing tremors

Ettore Ferrari / EPA

New York moment Benedict XVI, right, with Park East rabbi Arthur Schneier in April 2008, was the first Pontiff to visit a synagogue in the U.S.

In January, when Pope Benedict XVI reversed the 1988 excommunication of four bishops of an ultra-traditionalist Catholic group called the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), he probably knew it would ignite a firestorm. The church has significant unresolved problems with the society, among them its gross disobedience to the previous Pope. Benedict was determined to try to end a schism with a movement that exhibits a fervent piety he shares and is trying to encourage in Europe, where SSPX is strongest. But almost simultaneous with the Pope's announcement, a Swedish-TV interview surfaced in which SSPX bishop Richard Williamson matter-of-factly denied...

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