World Jewish Congress mourns former pope Benedict XVI

Former pope Benedict XVI passed away on Saturday after having fallen ill last week.

 World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder speaks in a video address to the Jerusalem Post 10th Annual Conference, October 12, 2021 (photo credit: screenshot)
World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder speaks in a video address to the Jerusalem Post 10th Annual Conference, October 12, 2021
(photo credit: screenshot)

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder mourned the passing of former pope Benedict XVI on Saturday night.

“It is with great sadness that I learned today that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has passed away," he said. "He was a towering figure of the Roman Catholic Church, both as pope and before that as the cardinal who gave the Catholic-Jewish relationship solid theological underpinning and enhanced understanding. No pope before him visited as many synagogues, and he made a point of meeting with local Jewish community representatives whenever he visited foreign nations."

Lauder recalled having met the former pope at the Vatican three times and said that each time, he was "deeply moved by his affection and friendship for the Jewish people, his commitment to remembrance of the Shoah, and his unambiguous condemnation of Holocaust denial in any form."

"On behalf of more than 100 Jewish communities across the globe, I extend our most heartfelt sympathies to Pope Francis and to all Catholics around the world mourning this loss," he said. "May the memory of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI be for a blessing.”

Former pope benedict passes away

Benedict passed away on Saturday at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican after having fallen ill last week.

Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful as he arrives in St Peter's Square to hold his last general audience at the Vatican, February 27, 2013. (credit: REUTERS/ALESSANDRO BIANCHI/FILE PHOTO)Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful as he arrives in St Peter's Square to hold his last general audience at the Vatican, February 27, 2013. (credit: REUTERS/ALESSANDRO BIANCHI/FILE PHOTO)

The former pope's body will lie in state in St. Peter's Basilica, and his funeral was set for January 5.