New York, NY, March 12, 2000--Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of theAnti-Defamation League, issued the following statement in response to PopeJohn Paul II's call for forgiveness for sins of Catholics committed over thelast 2,000 years.

Pope John Paul II has missed a historic opportunity to bringclosure to Christian responsibility for specific sins against the Jewishpeople over the past 2,000 years. We are saddened and disappointed that thispontiff, who has done so much to further Catholic-Jewish relations, stoppedshort in addressing specific Catholic wrongs against the Jewish people,especially the Holocaust.

Since the beginning of Christianity and over two millennia, Jewshave suffered as a result of the Church's teaching of contempt, whichcreated the anti-Semitic environment that made the Holocaust possible.Because Pope John Paul II has been so courageously outspoken on behalf ofthe Jewish people and the legitimacy of Judaism, we are especiallydisheartened that there was no specific mention of the greatest sin of thiscentury tolerated by Christianity and committed by many Christians - theHolocaust.

We hope the Holy Father, during his historic trip to Israel, willseize the opportunity to address the matters missed in today's Liturgy ofForgiveness.