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Pope visits Auschwitz

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Oswiecim, Poland

Pope Benedict XVI, the first German pope, prayed this week at the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz. Benedict said that the Nazi slaughter of millions of Jews was “particularly difficult and troubling for a Christian, for a pope from Germany,” to confront. “Why, Lord, did you remain silent?” he asked. “How could you tolerate this?” Out of deference to Poles, Benedict spoke mostly Italian and Polish during his four-day visit to Poland, birthplace of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. Benedict referred frequently to John Paul, who used his papacy to denounce anti-Semitism and reach out to Jews. “If the present pope follows the path shown by John Paul II, then we can only be grateful,” said Tadeusz Jakubowicz, leader of the tiny remaining Jewish community in Krakow.

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