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

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

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

We hope the Holy Father, during his historic trip to Israel, will seize the opportunity to address the matters missed in today's Liturgy of Forgiveness.

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