Yes, it’s true. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Antonio Franco met Moshe Katzav, Israel’s President who is now well known for refusing to call Conservative and Reform rabbis by anything other than their first and/or last names. It turns out Katzav has also refused to call Archibishop Franco, “Rabbi.” The disappointed Archibishop is returning to the Vatican quite angry at the affront and has vowed to tell the Pope that Katzav has done wrong by him.
In his own defense, Moshe Katzav told the press that he would have called the Archibishop, “Rabbi,” had he grown up calling anybody who isn’t an Orthodox Jew “Rabbi” and anyway, how dare Franco the non-Rabbi complain in public or to the Pope for that matter when he should first have had a coffee with Mr. Katzav to talk it over. It wouldn’t have made a difference, but at least Katzav would have had coffee.
Okay, not really. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Antonio Franco did visit Katzav and was apparently addressed as Archibishop because in Katzav’s home growing up, they would always call an Archibishop, “archibishop” even if he were Greek Orthodox.