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Pope Francis condemns anti-Semitism

By on Monday, 24 June 2013

Pope Francis: A Christian caanot be anti-Semite (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

Pope Francis: A Christian caanot be anti-Semite (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

“A Christian cannot be anti-Semitic,” Pope Francis has said, due to “our common roots” with the Jewish people.

Addressing a 30 strong delegation from the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) who gathered in the Apostolic Palace’s Hall of the Popes for a private audience today, the Pope recalled the Second Vatican Council declaration Nostra Aetate, which he described as a “key point of reference for relations with the Jewish people.”

He said: “The fundamental principles expressed by the Declaration have marked the path of greater awareness and mutual understanding trodden these last decades by Jews and Catholics” – a path supported by his predecessors.

Though he acknowledged he has met “important personalities of the Jewish world,” this was the first time the Holy Father had addressed an official group of representatives of Jewish organizations and communities.

Pope Francis recalled his own friendships with leaders of the Jewish world while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, saying these “friendly relations are in a way the basis for the development of a more official dialogue.” Recently a series of conversations between the then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio and Rabbi Abraham Skorka were published in English as On Heaven and Earth.

  • Benedict Carter

    So where are the boundaries?

  • Cecilia

    Thank you for this, pope Francis, very, very good!

    Unfortunatey, I have met catholics wh are ant semitic. Well, of coures they claim they aren’t, as do most anti semites nowadays, still, they never seem to be able to say anything good about the jews. Aso, several comments to this article are not exactly very positive.

    I would like to stress that most catholics I know never, ever say anything negative about the jews, thank God! Above all, catholics MUST know that pope Pius XII saved, directly and indirectly, about 850.000 jews during WWII, according to many historans, among them prof Rychlak, fr Gumpel,SJ, Sr Marguerite Marchione, several known rabbies. Being ignorant of this historical fact, slowly putting an end to te horrendous calumny and lies abot this pope, five years after his death, mainly stemming from communist propaganda, from Russia and the DDR. Admittedly so.

    Also, how many catholics know that 6 millions christians were murdered or lost their llives through perescutions, concentration camps during WWII? First through the naziz, then, even more (in numbers) through the communists. That in the infamous concentration camp, Dachau, outside Munich, there was a special camp for catholic priests and other religious?

    Albert Einstein wrote, in an article in New York Times, shortly after the war, that the catholic church had been THE ONLY one WHO fought for the jews.

    The catholic church has an obligation to teach and inform all catholics on this legacy of the church. Often, I have the impression that many catholics ar not very proud ot being catholic. I suspect this has a connection with ignorance of the innumerable, heroic catholics, many of whom were martyrs, from our own Century.

    .

  • scary goat

    I think the boundaries are as Our Lord showed us. Yes He ate with sinners etc. but didn’t He also say forsake sin and follow me? He was kind to “outsiders” in order to teach them…He didn’t join them in false beliefs or wrong behaviour. He taught by example…isn’t that what we are supposed to do? Not compromise our Faith.

  • Timotheos

    Benedict, I am not insulting you. I am passing on to you the Church’s magisterial teaching in all its purity, shorn of the late 19th century ‘Baptism of Desire’ heresy which has occasioned the apostasy of almost everyone and which led directly to Vatican 2 ecumenism. Don’t treat theology as ‘fun’. That’s unworthy of a serious Catholic. Do you pride yourself on treading some
    kind of via media between me and the foolish Peter? Don’t. Never compromise with untruth.

    Follow the Church’s teaching, summed up by Pope Gregory XVI: “You know how zealously Our predecessors taught that article of faith which these dare to deny, namely THE NECESSITY OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH AND OF UNITY FOR SALVATION … The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that ALL WHO ARE OUTSIDE OF HER WILL NOT BE SAVED.”

    And follow Jesus’ teaching: “Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, HE CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD.” Water baptism is essential. That’s why in the past God created miraculous sources of water for baptism, and that’s why many of the dead were temporarily restored to life at the prayer of holy missionaries so that they could be baptized and immediately die again to enter eternal life. Saints have bilocated to preach the Gospel in foreign lands, and missionaries gave their lives to preach it and baptize catechumens. Why? Because of the absolute necessity, as willed by Almighty God, of membership of His Church. Anyone who teaches you anything else is of Satan.

  • scary goat

    Someone in my parish loves Bede Griffiths. She gave me his first book about his journey to Catholicism which I found wonderful. She then took me to see a film of the sequel, where he went to India. I began to have my doubts about where it was going at that point, although there was nothing too bad in the film…it wasn’t syncretism as such…just enculturating Catholicism into Indian norms. Seems my instincts were right not to follow the story any further. And that explains a lot about some of the rather strange views held by that person. Oh dear, what a pity…such a good start…

  • scary goat

    I thought Dorotheus was Anglican?….oh ok, I see.

  • Benedict Carter

    You get a recommend from me for highlighting the necessity of faith, baptism and membership of the Catholic Church for Salvation. Nevertheless, both Pius IX, Pius X (a Saint) and Pius XII (a Venerable or Blessed) were quite happy with baptism of desire, either implicit or explicit. This is an addition to the doctrine of No Salvation outside the Catholic Church which I accept without any difficulty.

    I cannot of course accept Peter’s theory of universal salvation for anyone, even for atheists who openly deny Christ, as long as they do the odd bit of charity. That’s a denial of the Catholic Faith, and a most impious one too I think. So if I am adopting a via media, then so be it, although I’ve never been accused of that before.

  • Benedict Carter

    Ah, an Anglican? Well, all is explained.

  • Dave

    You mean Pope Urban’s speech at the Council of Clermont? What on earth do you think it says!?!

  • Dorotheus

    “Parallel” does not mean “the same as.” Have you not met Buddhists, Hindus or Muslims who are obviously prayerful and close to God? I have, and when one does it cannot but make you question whether all truth lies with Christianity and all falsehood with other religions.

    Perhaps you should say that Christians believe their faith has been divinely revealed to them by God himself, but the belief does not make it so. It is a matter of faith. I am, incidentally, as RC as you, so all is not explained.

  • Dorotheus

    It could have been a pity that you did not follow the story any further. Why were you afraid to do so? What were the strange views? Where did they come from?

    As you say, Bede Griffiths was not pursuing syncretism: you don’t need that “as such.”

  • Benedict Carter

    ” … it cannot but make you question whether all truth lies with Christianity and all falsehood with other religions ..”.

    Oh dear oh dear. Christians have fallen to THIS state?

  • Dorotheus

    Oh dear, oh dear. Yes, if we believe in truth we must recognise that we Christians do not know all the truth about God. You cannot even prove that he exists at all. It is as I said a matter of faith, which is not the same as knowledge, and people of other religions can have just as much faith as any fundamentalist Catholic bigot. Christians have fallen to THIS state!!!

  • scary goat

    My friend has bought into the 5 fingers of the hand theory quoted by Dave above. That did not feature in what I watched…it must be a later book…that explains why she has those views. I wasn’t afraid…I lost interest because I sensed that it was veering off course. In the film he seemed way too keen on embracing all things Indian. After his wonderful writing about his journey to Catholicism which I really related to, I felt disappointment and doubt as to where it was going in the film. I said it did not seem to be syncretism as far as I watched….but I had a hunch that was what was coming.

  • scary goat

    Hello Timotheus. Do you mind if I ask something? Not trying to be funny….but I really don’t get the sedevacantist position. All this talk of traditional teachings..which I do find interesting…but how do you get round Jesus’ promise to be with us till the end of time and “on this rock I build my Church” ? I mean, I have got a sort of general understanding of your position…but I really don’t get it. Could you explain please, just for education’s sake.

  • PaulF

    Faith is not knowledge? Dorotheus, are you serious? ‘For this is eternal life, to KNOW you, the ONLY true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’ (John17:3).
    Faith is knowledge, the only knowledge really worth having.
    Don’t ever suggest that anything comparable to faith in Jesus can be found anywhere else. It is the death of true faith, because the true God will not give his glory to another, or his honour to idols (Isaiah 42:8). He tells us so throughout Scripture.

  • Anthony Zarrella

    “Have you not met Buddhists, Hindus or Muslims who are obviously prayerful and close to God?”

    Sure, why not? But if they are close to God, it is because they found their way to him in spite of the falsehoods that they (innocently, in most cases) profess, not because of them. God will draw all sincerely yearning souls unto Himself, but this does not mean that Buddhism (for example) is “just as good” a path to God as Christianity, or even a path to God at all. Rather, it means that God’s love, expressed through Christ’s sacrifice, is great enough to save even those sheep who are badly lost in the mists of well-intentioned error.

    It’s like the blind men and the elephant (which is actually, if I recall, an Indian story, ironically enough) – all sincere seekers may come to know parts of the truth of God. Only through following Christ directly can these blind men and women be sent to wash in the Pool of Siloam and be granted full sight.

  • Dorotheus

    Perfectly serious. Knowing God, as one might know a person, is a matter of faith, which is not the same as e.g. scientific knowledge. The John quote is about knowing God by faith, which may well be a way of knowing God which is deeper than other forms of knowledge.

    I did not suggest that anything comparable to faith in Jesus can be found anywhere else, only that other religions show examples of faith that suggest they are in touch with the same God – what you would expect if God is one and able to reveal himself to those genuinely seeking him.

    To Anthony Zarrella I would say that if people of other faiths can be close to God, as he admits, that seems to show that there is a measure of truth in those faiths, so why talk so much about their errors and falsehood? Why not at least balance that by focusing on our unity in God? Jesus teaches above all non-dualism and non-violence, but orthodox Catholicism sadly seems to be dualistic to the nth degree – which will often lead in practice to violence.

  • Meditatio Divina

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6) I have looked at the various topics on this blog. Allow the Gospel to reply your queries. Jesus claimed that He alone is the way of salvation. Desires or not desires, good works or not good works, are insignificant without the belief that He is the Son of God and the only way to salvation. True, a Christian cannot sanction anti-Semitism or any other form of racism, because Christ truly illustrates this in the parable of the Good Samaritan. But who are we on this blog to determine who can and cannot be saved on the basis of intentions and desires. An old priest once told me “hell is paved with good intentions” Do we believe that – like the Ancient Egyptians – God will weight a good actions against the bad deeds and then decide if we are to be saved, even if we have never believed in Christ? Are we kidding when Moslems teach their children since they are small “God has no Son” – in telling ourselves that people “ignorantly” do what God requires in spite of their religion? Are we dull in believing that other religions are utterly unaware of what Christianity is – in 2013? Islamic, Hindu Fundamentalism as well as some form of strict and severe Buddhism are aware of Christianity hence their anti-conversion laws and campaigns. (just search the net and you will be surprised). Now there is a difference between a religious belief and our duty to love all our neighbours. And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
    Luke 10:26-27:” He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?”
    And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.”
    Notice first we must love God and to love God is to obey His commands (John 14-15-16)
    then we must love our neighbour being full of the love of God who loves Truth (1 Corinthians 13).

  • PaulF

    The views you express are very popular in the world of today, and even in church circles, which makes it extremely difficult to see through them.

    The best answer I know is the writings of the apostle John who, I like to remember, lived under the same roof as the Mother of God, which in my opinion helps to explain why his writings are so full of the Holy Spirit. John tells us that now that the Son of God, Yahweh of Israel, has come among us in the flesh, it is no longer possible to approach God while rejecting him. That is why in the First Letter of John, Chapter 4 verses 1-4, he tells us that not every spirit is to be trusted, but we are to test the spirits to see if they are of God. Those spirits that confess the full truth about Jesus are of God. Those that do not are not of God but are of the spirit of Antichrist.

    It is not easy to take your stand on this truth. Jesus promised that it will bring us persecutions, but we trust in his power to bring us through. As the passage just cited concludes: ‘Children you are of God and have overcome them, because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world’ (1 John 4:4).

  • Cradle Catholic

    Without a definition of anti-Semitism we are left with nothing but more V2-style ambiguity. Is it anti-Semitic to pray for the conversion of Jews? Is it ant-Semitic to believe that the Old Covenant has been revoked and replaced with the New Covenant? Is it anti-Semitic to oppose Zionism?

    The Jewish audience that Francis addressed believes so, but what does Francis believe? He’s not saying and he never will.

  • Dorotheus

    Saying my views are popular and therefore difficult to see through sounds like a good way of dismissing them as unworthy of reply. I at least do you the courtesy of respecting your views. In fact I do not so much disagree with your latest post as believe there is more to be said about other religions than merely consigning them to the spirit of Antichrist.

  • PaulF

    Other religions are good if they lead people to faith in Christ. That is the point of the Three Magi episode in Matthew 2.
    The problem with the religions you mention is that we are two thousand years on and they are still holding out against Christ. The Holy Spirit does not inspire people to do that.
    I thank God that the Bible tells us so clearly how to see these things. Our Church can save itself so much trouble by heeding the word of God rather than the ideas the world throws up.
    I do not regard your views as unworthy of reply. If I did I wouldn’t reply to them.

  • Dave

    I suspect the remark was, at least in part, a response to the IJCIC chairman, Lawrence Schiffman and others , who were there raising objections to the canonisation of Pius XII, and not some sort of fork-tongued PC denial of Catholicism.

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/speeches/2013/june/documents/papa-francesco_20130624_international-jewish-committee_en.html

  • Dorotheus

    Well you did say that my last post was popular and therefore difficult to see through.
    To say other religions are holding out against Christ does not sound to me like the right way of putting it. In fact they often greatly respect the person of Christ. If people of other religions do not become Christian one might well ask why is that if what we claim is as self-evidently true as some Christians maintain. Is it entirely their fault or perhaps ours? Simply holding that Christianity is all right and true and other religions false is not the way to reach out to others. Nor does it respect the mystery of God.

  • PaulF

    Thanks Dorotheus. I respect your views but you understand that I find the word of God totally reliable on the issue we are discussing. And the word of God addresses this issue from beginning to end. I encourage you to read it through and see for yourself.
    The point I was making in the earlier post was that it is very difficult for people when church circles line up with the world’s view rather than with the word of God.

  • Dorotheus

    I do understand that and have actually read the word of God many times, both on this and other issues, and consider it likewise to be totally reliable. If you have studied Scripture you will know, however, that the interpretation of the meaning of God’s word is not always as straightforward as some may think, so that it might be thought a little arrogant to claim that I can be sure I am totally faithful to God while other church circles who read his word differently from me must be seduced by the world’s views. If God is, as I think we must all acknowledge, mystery, a degree of humility and reserve in how much we claim we know and understand of him might well be appropriate – and would certainly save us from the hideous distortions that fundamentalist religion nearly always gives rise to.

  • Peter Beck

    I’m quite sure the Holy Father is referring to the original, legitimate definition of anti-Semitism, and not the dumbed down new definition. The new version includes any legitimate criticism of the Israeli government and it’s treatment of the Palestinian people, the relentless, illegal occupation of their land, the demolition of Palestinian homes and farms, and imprisonment without charge for years on end. We Americans get a sanitized version of Middle East news- that’s why your thinking to yourself, “occupation- what occupation?”

  • Peter Beck

    When the “I Remember USS Liberty” bumper sticker on my car fades, I paste a new one over it. I was on active duty in the Navy then, and remember it well including LBJ’s coverup.

  • PaulF

    It is possible for the church to disobey the word of God, not in its infallible teaching, but in pastoral practice. The flirting with other religion of the past fifty years is a departure from church Tradition and from the word of God. It is the root cause of great evils in our church and in the lives of individual Christians. It is not arrogant to point that out. On the contrary, to remain submitted to the word of God while even the most admirable people go astray is a mark of true humility.
    ‘Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.’
    God tells us throughout his word that he has an intense hatred of idolatry, that he does not want his people even to mention the names of other gods. He calls us to worship him alone and trust him alone and receive our salvation from him alone.
    It is not difficult to understand this. We don’t need to pay theologians millions of pounds to confuse us about this central message of his word. God tells us what we most desperately need to know in a language we can easily understand. Praise and glory to him forever!

  • PaulF

    Death is NOT the gateway to eternal life Dorotheus. Please do not misrepresent the Christian gospel. Only the Cross of Christ is the gateway to life. Without Christ, death is not overcome.