Pope Blocks Beatification of French Priest, Plans to Investigate Alleged Anti-Semitism

June 16, 2005

Source: The Washington Post


On June 16, 2005 The Washington Post reported, "Pope Benedict XVI has temporarily blocked the beatification of a French priest and appointed a commission to investigate the priest's anti-Semitic writings, drawing praise from Jewish leaders who called it a sign of the new pope's sensitivity to other religions. Last December, Pope John Paul II announced plans to beatify Leon Dehon on April 24. The ceremony would have been a major step toward sainthood for Dehon, who lived from 1843 to 1925 and founded the Priests of the Sacred Heart, a religious order that today has nearly 2,400 members around the world. In February, however, a French historian drew attention to seven controversial texts by Dehon. According to extracts published in the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, Dehon wrote that Jews were 'thirsty for Gold' and that 'lust for money is a racial instinct in them'; he called the Talmud 'a manual for the bandit, the corrupter, the social destroyer'; and he recommended several measures later adopted by the Nazis, including that Jews wear special markings, live in ghettos and be excluded from land ownership, judgeships and teaching positions."