Thursday, May 22, 2003

Jewish leaders hopeful about Vatican archives

...after a private audience with the pope on Thursday, World Jewish Congress (WJC) chairman Israel Singer said they were seeing eye to eye on the archives issue.

"I wouldn't normally say this, but we agreed on everything," he said in a telephone interview.

The Jewish leaders said before the audience that they now better appreciated the complexities of opening archives and did not want the issue to block progress on inter-faith dialogue that has improved tremendously in the past 40 years.Singer said WJC President Edgar Bronfman raised the archives issue with the pope during the meeting."We did this in a friendly way. We were encouraging them to open the archives, but it's not like we came in with an aggressive approach. We came in with a negotiated approach," he said.Singer said archives relating to Pius XII's papacy may start being opened to scholars between 2005 and 2007 in phases.