October 28, 2018

The IRWF remembers Cardinal Angelo Roncalli (Pope John XXIII)

60 years ago, on October 28th, 1958, Angelo Roncalli became Pope John XXII

7 years later, on October 28th, 1965, his successor, Pope Paul VI, proclaimed the Declaration of the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, or Nostra Aetate, which was originally conceived by Pope John XXIII and was the expression of a new era in the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jews.

The first draft of Nostra Aetate, presented in 1961, under the name Decretum de Iudaeis, underscored the fraternity between Christian and Jews.

Years earlier, during the Holocaust, Roncalli was the Apostolic Delegate in Istanbul, and in such position he went out of his way to help save the lives of the persecuted Jews. He did so in strong cooperation with the highest representatives of the Jewish community in Palestine.

Back in 2011, the IRWF submitted to Yad Vashem a thick dossier documenting the life-saving feats of Roncalli during WWII and asking the Israeli authority to recognize him as Righteous among the Nations.

In July 2013, a high-ranking delegation from the IRWF travelled to Sotto il Monte Giovanni XXIII (Roncalli’s birth place) to pay tribute to his personal secretary, Cardinal Loris Capovilla, who accompanied Roncalli in his road to reconciliation with the Jews. On that occasion, Cardinal Capovilla was awarded the Raoul Wallenberg Medal.

Baruch Tenembaum, Founder of the IRWF added that “Angelo Roncalli was a unique human being. During the war, he tried to save as many innocent lives as possible and as Pope, he paved the way to a better relationship between Jews and Christians. We cherish his remarkable legacy”