ROME - Pope Benedict made his first visit to Rome's synagogue on Sunday, which he hopes will be a milestone in Catholic-Jewish relations despite Jewish anger over his decision to move a wartime predecessor nearer to sainthood.

The visit, Benedict's third to a Jewish temple since he became pope in 2005, has deeply split Italy's Jewish community after he advanced Pius XII on the path toward sainthood last month. Many Jews say Pius, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, did not do enough to help Jews facing persecution by Nazi Germany.

Benedict was welcomed by Rome and international Jewish leaders as he arrived at the synagogue on the banks of the Tiber a short distance from the Vatican to begin the two-hour visit.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton)