Anger as Jewish-born nun is canonised

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The Independent Online
JEWISH LEADERS reacted with outrage yesterday after Pope John Paul canonised Edith Stein, a nun gassed at Auschwitz who became what the Vatican believes is the first Jewish-born Catholic saint since the time of the Apostles.

Although the Pope twinned the canonisation with one of his strongest appeals to the world to guarantee that a "bestial plan" like the Holocaust was never repeated, Jews said the move offended the memory of the Holocaust's Jewish victims.

"It's outrageous. This is a very public slap in the face to the Jewish community," said Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Jerusalem office.

"The Pope is sending an extremely negative message to the Jewish community that in the eyes of the Catholic Church the best Jews are those that convert to Catholicism," he said.

The Pope's words at the ceremony in St Peter's Square tried to soothe Jewish concerns. The pontiff said Stein was both "an eminent daughter of Israel and a faithful daughter of the Church". He also paid tribute to all victims of the Holocaust.