Vatican seeks to calm furor over Rydzyk meeting

The Vatican on Thursday sought to calm Jewish anger over the pope's meeting with a prominent Polish priest accused of anti-Semitism, declaring the encounter did not imply any change in the Church's desire for good relations with Jews. The Vatican issued the assurances after Pope Benedict XVI's brief meeting Sunday with the Rev. Tadeusz Rydzyk, which drew protests from worldwide Jewish organizations. The meeting "did not imply any change in the Holy See's well-known position regarding relations between Catholics and Jews," the Vatican statement said. A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said the pope has spoken out often against anti-Semitism and has frequently expressed the desire for close relations between Catholics and Jews.