Pope John Paul II received a miniature menorah today, given in memory of the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust and in tribute to the pope's efforts to fight anti-Semitism.
    The 12-inch menorah, presented by Jewish and Catholic leaders during John Paul's general audience, was a replica of the 4-foot-high bronze menorah erected on Tuesday night as the first permanent Holocaust memorial on Vatican territory.
    ``He said he was very appreciative,'' said Rabbi Jack Bemporad, an American long involved in interfaith conferences.
    The ceremony Tuesday took place in a courtyard of the Pontifical North American College, a seminary that overlooks St. Peter's Basilica and is Vatican property. Cardinal Edward Cassidy, president of the Commission on Religious Relations with Jews, represented the Vatican.
    Both Catholics and Jews spoke of the progress in Catholic and Jewish relations, particularly under John Paul, but there was also acknowledgment of recent strains. John Paul was the first pope ever to visit a synagogue, and he established formal relations between the Vatican and Israel, eliminating a major point of contention by Jewish groups.

9:38am 15/4/99 / AP


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