Italian Rabbis Pull Out of Church's Jewish Celebration

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Italy's rabbis say a decision by Pope Benedict is negating 50 years of interfaith progress, so they're pulling out of the Italian Catholic Church's annual celebration of Judaism.

The chief rabbi of Venice cited the pope's decision in 2007 to restore the old Latin Mass, which includes a prayer for the conversion of Jews on Good Friday.

In a bid to stem the criticism, the Vatican issued a new prayer last year. But Jewish groups objected that the prayer still suggests that they need to convert to Christianity to find salvation.

The rabbi of Venice says that shows disrespect, so he and other Italian rabbis won't participate in the Italian Catholic Church's celebration of Judaism this Saturday.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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