Jewish leaders set to meet with pope


ROME: February 11, 2009. (AP) American Jewish leaders are scheduled to meet with Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday for their first face-to-face talks since a furor erupted over a bishop who denies the Holocaust.

Wednesday that he plans to thank the pope for a commitment to strong Catholic-Jewish ties that Benedict expressed to dampen the controversy over he bishop. The Vienna-born rabbi is a Holocaust survivor and he said the position of Bishop Richard Williamson was "very painful" to him. "I'm an eyewitness," he said by telephone from his Rome hotel. Schneier fled Nazi forces in Austria for Budapest in 1939 and was confined to a labor camp before Hungary was liberated by the Red Army. He has said most of his family was deported to Auschwitz and died there. Schneier said the controversy was a "temporary setback" to relations between the two religions and he was now hopeful that ties can be further strengthened, especially after the pope's affirmation of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, which led the Church to reach out to other religions.

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