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‘May anti-Semitism be banished from every heart,’ says Francis

By on Monday, 14 October 2013

Pope Francis met members of Rome's Jewish community on Friday (AP)

Pope Francis met members of Rome's Jewish community on Friday (AP)

Pope Francis denounced anti-Semitism and recalled the deportation of more than 1,000 of Rome’s Jews to a Nazi death camp in 1943 at a meeting with the city’s Jewish community on Friday.

“It’s a contradiction for a Christian to be anti-Semitic, his roots are in part Jewish,” the Pope said. “May anti-Semitism be banished from the heart and the life of every man and woman.”

Pope Francis gave a delegation led by Rabbi Riccardo Segni, the chief rabbi of Rome, a message commemorating the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Rome’s Jews on October 16 1943. Of the more than 1,000 people sent to Auschwitz by the German occupiers that day, just 16 eventually returned.

“While we return in memory to those tragic hours of October 1943, it is our duty to keep before our eyes the destiny of those deportees,” the Pope wrote. “To imagine their fear, their pain, their desperation, so as not to forget them, to keep them alive in our memory and in our prayer, along with their families, their relatives and friends who mourned their loss and who remain disheartened by the depths of barbarity to which humankind can sink.”

Pope Francis expressed the hope that memory of the atrocity would inspire “new generations not to allow themselves to fall into line, not to let themselves be caught up by ideologies, never to justify the evil they encounter, and not to lower their guard against anti-Semitism and against racism, regardless of where they are from.”

In his spoken remarks, the Pope said: “This anniversary also reminds us how the Christian community has known how to reach out to its brothers in difficulty during their darkest hours.”

Jewish leaders and a number of historians have accused the wartime pope Pius XII of not speaking out against the deportations. When Benedict XVI visited Rome’s main synagogue in January 2010, he heard the president of Rome’s Jewish community lament the “silence of Pius XII”. A prominent Italian rabbi boycotted that event to protest against Benedict XVI’s decision to make Pope Pius eligible for beatification.

But Pope Francis noted that the “papal basilicas, in accordance with the wishes of the pope”, were among the Church institutions that “opened their doors to provide a fraternal welcome” to Jews fleeing the Nazis.

“I like to underline this aspect,” Pope Francis said, “because while it is true that it is important for both sides to deepen their theological reflection through dialogue, it is also true that there exists a vital dialogue, that of everyday experience, that is no less fundamental.”

The Pope recalled his own warm relations with Jews as archbishop of Buenos Aires, where he celebrated Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah in local synagogues and co-authored a book with a prominent rabbi. Pope Francis said he hoped to “contribute here in Rome, as bishop, to this closeness and friendship”.

  • سيوبهان siobàn Vict.

    Being anti-Jewish is wrong..without a doubt..but I do not believe that the Church orders us to be pro-zionists. That I will never be. Zionism is not Jewish is hate. (Jews against Zionism)

  • NatOns

    Along with all irrational fear, hate and anger – regardless of the cause – a fleshly opposition to semitic peoples simply because they are Jews or Arabs or Chaldees etc is to do wrong toward them .. that is, to sin against them, and against God.

    Having a good understanding of why Christians cannot be at one with Jewish belief, nor the Jews at one with Christians or Muslims – though there is but one God – is the basis for genuine understanding .. but never in the politically correct phobia of misunderstanding, which currently pervades the worldly way even in religious souls; as Venerable Pius XII showed in saintly virtue: it is charity in humanity not parity in belief that is our goal.

    After all, Jews (whether Hebrew or Caucasian or African) would cease to follow Judaism if they once accepted the possibility of truth in the claims of Jesus, or if they publicly repented of His death as a law-breaker and rabble-rouser under the Roman imperium, just as Christians would cease to be Catholics if they once more agreed to the necessity of imposing the rigour of the Law of Moses as a discipline, moreover Catholics could not be Catholic if they affirmed Mohammed as God’s final prophet; however, the Jew or Arab or Chaldean can be a good Catholic, and follow Christian Faith, where the good Nazi or Stalinist or Modernist cannot .. thus it is, such apples are too often compared with pears to be of any use in sincere dialogue between religions (therefore, let Pius XII be our guide, like the resolutely gentle pastor he was to Jew and German, ally and foe, sinner and saint alike).

    Santo subito!

  • revolting ewe

    Before we even start it would help if we could define anti- semitism. As one poster pointed out on the other thread “Islamophobia” can be used to play “victim status”. And before anyone says anything, yes I agree that Jews were genuinely victims of the holocaust. The point, I feel, is that we shouldn’t be anti-anyone as people…compassion and care for all. But we need to distinguish between people and beliefs. Although, of course we shouldn’t hate Jews as people any more than we should hate Pakistanis for example, I do not see any way to make Judaism compatible with Christianity any more than you can with Islam. I can’t help wondering if the HF also told the Jews to cut out the anti-Christianity? There seems to be such a trend in universal love and peace these days that one is tempted to forget that a lot of those people are actually quite vehemently anti-Christian. Yes, we should try to be the best in our attitudes towards others, but sometimes I feel a bit of a reality check is needed.

  • Guest


  • John Morrison

    Let us not forget what the late Cardinal Bea S.J. is cited as saying”antisemitism is not religion,It is political,sociological ,economic.See Richard Cohen Washington Post 18 July 2006,Hunker Down With History.Israel is an illegitimate state/See Sykes Picot.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    Those who are ragged to conformity by the Dead of the past carry their death and the stink of the same to the present to corrupt us and make us worthy of them. Let us be careful. Those who belong to Jesus the Lord in truth are called CHRISTIANS and not just anybody. Jesus the Lord taught us to LOVE ALL : JEWS and MUSLIMS, even our ENEMIES and PRAY FOR THEM and BLESS THEM in the Spirit of TRUTH, the Spirit of Jesus the Lord, and he the Lord has given us his own personal example while dying on the cross. This is how heaven – God’s LOVE is brought to earth and it is our SALVATION, the SALVATION of us ALL.

    If we go by our own human thinking and feeling which in themselves are unredeemed realities, we are LOST. But if we go by the teaching and the example of the Son of God, Jesus the Lord we are SAVED and we in turn become saviors together with the Lord by the exercise of APOSTLESHIP in and through the proclamation of his Word of SALVATION.

  • catholic analyst

    Open letter to His Holiness Pope Francis:-

    Don’t just make nice daily sermons and nice weekly wednesday preachings. You are judged sir, by what you do, ather than what you say.
    Do something fast. About 7 bishops need to be appointed in Scotland. Its not enough to appoint a new cardinal and then let him handle things.
    2. In America about 8 bishops and 5 archbishops need to be appointed.
    I know that bishops can be extended beyond 75years and that if there are no better candidates, the onus is to keep the incumbent bishop on the grounds that he did no harm. However if someone becomes a priest at mid-twenties and is promoted to bishop and then serves the church until 75years old that person has devoted 50 years of his life to the priesthood. That should be enough.

    We have to change that mindset.We need new blood to take the church forward into the new evangelisation over the next two decades. (before another change of clerics might be necessary but the next decision twenty years hence is for another Pope)
    Sir, what is your Congregation of bishops doing? And why is its head so slow in suggesting appointments.

    You should continue the Thursday high table at the Vatican where the appointments are agreed. And you should carry on the tradition of Pope Benedict to appoint those to higher office who are solid in their theology so that orthodoxy is maintained, have been former seminary professors or spiritual formators complemented with a simple pastoral touch.

  • guestguy

    Why all the dislikes? Perhaps people think this post is antisemitic? You just seem to be calling for jews to convert to the fulfilled judaism – catholicism. Judaism was never meant to be a religion of its own, it was always meant to be fulfilled by Christ. As much I disagree with BC, he is right in liking this post IMO.

  • Julian Lord

    I do not see any way to make Judaism compatible with Christianity any more than you can with Islam

    Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI argues powerfully in his Jesus of Nazareth trilogy that the conversion of the Jews to Christianity is predicted in Scripture to occur after the conversion of the Gentiles, which has yet to be fully accomplished.

    The core of both Judaism and Christianity is identical, in a manner that the core of Islam is not.

    The Jews do not accept that Jesus is the Christ nor do they accept that He is the Son of God, and the Incarnation of God ; but they do not deny that both of these things are within the power of God. Meanwhile, the Jewish worship of God is a genuine worship of the One God.

    Islam OTOH not only actively denies that Jesus is the Christ, but it denies that the Incarnation is within God’s power. Islam has a fundamental incompatibility with Christianity that Judaism simply lacks.

    Also — it is possible to be Jewish and Catholic simultaneously, regardless of how rare this state of affairs may be ; it is not possible to be Muslim and Jewish, nor Muslim and Christian.

  • Cradle Catholic

    …if one reads the Talmud today one will find only a stream of blasphemies and revolting statements.Be careful about this. A lot of stuff is falsely attributed to the Talmud in order to stir up anger and hatred. I’ve seen people embarrassed to find that they had fallen for it. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t believe anything that is said about the Talmud, good or bad. I would have to kinow Hebrew and read it myself to know what’s in it.

  • Cradle Catholic

    …all men are not equal, nor are they created equal, as hierarchy was created and is maintained by God…I suppose that you are expressing traditional Catholic thinking, but I cannot help but contrast your statement with the following:”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that
    they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
    these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these
    rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from
    the consent of the governed,…”Ain’t that beautiful? Probably the finest words ever written. It stirs such a deep emotion within me, an emotion of — I don’t know what to call it — joy, perhaps, that it almost brings me to tears.

  • Julian Lord

    It is a declaration of masonic principles, and the legal establishment of these principles over and above the Divine Law itself.

    No ; these are far from being the “finest words” ever written …

    Try Matthew 5-7 instead …

  • John Morrison

    Remember the USS Liberty,Jonathan J.Pollard,the AIPAC spy ring.

  • Cradle Catholic

    I know, I know. Freedom, equality, democracy. Horror of horrors! But there’s something about it that I find far more inspirational than the Catholic Church’s “pray, pay, and obey.”Try Matthew 5-7 instead …Some of it is OK but a lot of it is downright dangerous. Don’t worry about tomorrow? Turn the other cheek? Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

  • Dave

    Although my interests fall mostly elsewhere, most of my education was in Hellenistic and Jewish history and I read the Talmud in the original Hebrew and Aramaic. There a very small number of derogatory references to our Lord in the Talmud, and one that is particularly blasphemous. But the authors of the Talmud were less concerned with insulting Christianity than the pagan authors (Celsus, Porphyry, Emperor Julian, et al.) and far less than some Patristic authors were with insulting the Jews. It is not a stream of blasphemies and the Jews are not perfidious, and at least less so than the gentiles of Europe who have broken faith with Christ.

  • Return of the King

    Six million Jews were not systematically exterminated by the Germans in gas chambers. This is a vicious lie concocted by the evil Allies (Protestant Freemasons and Communists) on a par with babies on bayonets from the First World War. Quite a few Jews died from typhus and starvation towards the end of the war because the Germans could not get supplies to the camps (others also in the camps, such as Poles, died for the same reason). Jews are not the victims of the 20th century, but purportators of persecution; for instance Bolshevism and Zionism.

  • Return of the King

    May anti-Pope Francis be banished from Rome.

  • Return of the King

    Blasphemous lies, motivated by political Uncle Tom behaviour (sucking up to the Zionists because they are powerful). Jews do not worship the Holy Trinity, thus they do not worship the One True God at all. Your comments are utterly repugnant and sound like they could come from the mouth of a Protestant, not a Catholic with any ounce of self-respect.

  • Julian Lord

    Your comments appear to be entirely ignorant of Trinitarian theology.

  • whytheworldisending

    Jesus said “Love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to those that hate you, and pray for those who speak evil about you, and persecute you,” [Matthew 5:44], so we should not treat anybody badly, but Jesus also said, “Anyone who is not with me is against me,…” [Matthew 12:30], so we should not pretend that those who reject Christ’s teachings share our attitudes and values. Those who profess and promote atheism, hedonism and the worship of money are headed in the opposite direction. How can we accompany them?