Pope stuck in 'Groundhog Day' scenario with Jews, expert says

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Pope Benedict XVI is set to take one step forward in Catholic-Jewish relations Sunday when he becomes the first pope since 1986 to visit the main Jewish synagogue in Rome, Italy.

The problem is, the step forward comes immediately after he took one step back last month by moving his Holocaust-era predecessor closer toward sainthood.

In fact, much of Benedict's papacy has seen swings back and forth in the Vatican's relationship with the Jewish world.

The visit to Rome's synagogue is part of what should be an annual Catholic Day of Dialogue With Judaism, but it didn't happen last year. The Vatican had recently reinstated an ancient prayer calling for the conversion of the Jews, decades after it was shelved as part of 1960s-era reforms. Italy's Jewish community pulled out of the 2009 Day of Dialogue in protest.

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