Italian rabbis: Pope Benedict XVI negating 50 years of interfaith progress

Italy's rabbis have said they are pulling out of the Italian Catholic Church's annual celebration of Judaism, saying recent decisions by Pope Benedict XVI were negating 50 years of interfaith progress. The chief rabbi of Venice, Elia Enrico Richetti, cited the pope's decision to restore a prayer for the conversion of Jews deemed offensive to Jews in Easter Week services of the old Latin Mass. In an article published Tuesday in the Italian Jesuit magazine Popoli, Richetti said the Assembly of Italian rabbis felt the prayer, and subsequent comments by church officials about the controversy, showed a lack of respect that was necessary for dialogue to continue. "If we add to this the recent positions taken by the pope about dialogue, said to be useless because the superiority of the Christian faith is proven anyway, then it's evident that we're heading toward the cancellation of the last 50 years of church history," he wrote.