Does the Vatican Serve Pizza?

I awoke this morning to an unusual surprise…. An invitation from Father Etienne Veto, priest of a Catholic community in France, extending to me an official invitation to attend a round-table discussion on “The Bible From Three Points of View” to be held on Wednesday, 12 December, at the Centro Cardinal Bea in the Pontifical Gregorian University in the Vatican City of Rome.

The Cardinal Bea Center is named for the late former Rector of the Vatican’s Pontifical Institute, as a devoted friend of the Jewish people. During the war years, he had served under Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, then the Papal nuncio (ambassador) to Germany prior to and during the beginning out the 1939 outbreak of war. Following the death of Pope Pius XI, Pacelli was recalled to Rome and became Pope Pius XII.  Cardinal Bea did not accept the silence of the new Pope regarding the massacre of the Jews.

After the end of the war, Cardinal Bea did everything possible to aid suffering Jews both in his native Germany and in the Rome in which he served. His memory was treasured especially by Italian Jews who had survived the tragedies of the war.

The December 12th discussion at the Vatican to which I have been invited will begin with remarks by Professor Peter Machinist of America’s Harvard Divinity School who will offer the Jewish perspective. He will be followed by Professor Daniele Garrone of the Waldensias Faculty of Theology in Rome who will deliver remarks from his point of view grounded in a Protestant tradition. The final speaker will be Professor Jean-Louis Ska, a priest and Jesuit theologian of the Pontifical Institute of Rome who will present the Catholic view.

Interestingly, the entire program will be moderated by Rabbi Dr. David Meyer, specialist in Rabbinic studies at the Cardinal Bea Center in the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome in Vatican City.

All lecture remarks will be delivered in Italian and English with simultaneous translation.

While the program looks promising and interesting from three points of view, I had to reply with a mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, the Catholic equivalent of slach li, m’chal li, caper li.

The inability to attend and to be deprived of Italian pizza, the world’s very best, (Israel’s version is a very bad imitation of what good pizza should be) is disappointing.  The air travel and hotel costs in Rome are not within my present budget.

Hopefully I will receive a transmitted copy of the proceedings.

Sadly, pizza cannot be sent by fax nor by e-mail.

La vita puo essere molto triste. Dovro accontentarme di pasta fatta in casa.

Life can be very sad.  Unfortunately I’ll have to settle for a home-made pasta!

As my parents would have said, “schwer zu sein a yid”.   It’s not easy to be a Jew!

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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