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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 April 2007, 23:49 GMT 00:49 UK
Pope envoy ends Holocaust protest
Monsignor Antonio Franco
Monsignor Antonio Franco attends the Yad Vashem event
The Vatican's envoy to Israel has attended the annual Holocaust remembrance event in Jerusalem after earlier threatening not to be present.

Archbishop Antonio Franco was angered by a caption in the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum describing the actions of wartime Pope Pius XII.

The photo caption had said the Pope remained silent even when reports about the murder of Jews reached the Vatican.

The museum's chairman has now said he is happy to review the matter.

Archive request

"Yad Vashem believes it was inappropriate to link an issue of historical research with commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust," the museum said in a statement.

The museum added that it would be glad to study Vatican archives from the period "to possibly learn new and different information than what is known today".

The Vatican has denied access to its archives, including those covering the period during World War II, to researchers.

The caption in question said that during World War II, Pope Pius XII "abstained from signing the Allied declaration condemning the extermination of the Jews" and "maintained his neutral position throughout the war".

Archbishop Franco had protested that the caption was offensive to Catholics.

The Vatican has always maintained that the wartime Pope led quiet diplomacy that saved the lives of thousands of Jews.

The memorial ceremonies are traditionally attended by all foreign diplomats in Israel.

The museum said that the Vatican envoy's absence would have been the first case of a diplomat missing the official events.


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