Friday, March 24, 2000

Pope's visit to the Holy Land praised here




BY RICHELLE THOMPSON
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The groundbreaking visit of Pope John Paul II to the Holy Land is a first step toward peace among Christians, Jews and Muslims, Cincinnati-area residents said Thursday.

        But whether other religious and political leaders extend the same olive branch remains to be seen, they said.

        “All faiths respect him highly,” said Sardar A. Tanveer, a retired University of Cincinnati professor and principal of the new Islamic school, the International Academy in Butler County.

        The pope took this trip to promote peace, he said. “Now it's up to the politicians to think that way.”

        The visit indicates how far the Vatican has come in Jewish-Catholic relations, said Lewis H. Kamrass, senior rabbi at Isaac M. Wise Temple in Amberley Village. Until 1994, the Vatican did not formally recognize Israel as a state.

        “It's a major step for him to be there,” Rabbi Kamrass said.

        In addition to helping heal the rift between faiths, the visit is a personal milestone for the pope, said the Rev. Elmer Smith of St. CeciliaChurch in Oakley.

        “For anyone, it's a wonderful thing to see the Holy Land,” said Father Smith, who has visited Israel twice. “It's like seeing the Bible come to life.”

       



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