Vatican assures Jews of its respect, esteem despite Good Friday prayer

The Vatican expressed its respect and esteem for Jews on Friday despite tension over a Good Friday prayer, issuing the assurances shortly before the pope begins a visit to the United States that includes a stop at a synagogue in New York. The Vatican acknowledged that some Jewish groups had expressed "disappointment" over the prayer Pope Benedict XVI revived from the old Latin rite that had historically been used as an excuse for violence and discrimination against Jews. But it insisted that a landmark document of the Second Vatican Council continues to sustain bonds of esteem, love and cooperation between Catholics and Jews, and repudiates any form of anti-Semitism.