Christian can’t be anti-Semite, Pope insists

“Given our common roots, a Christian cannot be an anti-Semite!” Pope Francis has declared to a delegation from a broad-based coalition of Jewish organisations representing Judaism to other religions.

The Pope said Christians and Jews can work together to challenge the contemporary problems of secularism and disrespect for the human person.

“Humanity needs our joint witness in favor of respect for the dignity of man and woman created in the image and likeness of God, and in favour of peace which is above all God’s gift.”

Pope Francis was speaking to members of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations.

He noted the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate, on the relation of the Catholic Church to non-Christian religions, as the Church’s “key point of reference for relations with the Jewish people”.

The Pope said this document had been the basis for “greater awareness and mutual understanding” between Jews and Catholics in the past 40 years.

“In that Council text, the Church recognises that ‘the beginnings of its faith and election are to be found in the patriarchs, Moses and prophets’,” he said.

He pointed to the writings of Saint Paul, who “firmly condemned hatred, persecution and all forms of anti-Semitism” and called the gifts and call of God “irrevocable”.

Pope Francis also reflected on his ministry as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, when “I had the joy of maintaining relations of sincere friendship with leaders of the Jewish world”.

“We talked often of our respective religious identities, the image of the human person found in the Scriptures, and how to keep an awareness of God alive in a world now secularised in many ways,” he said.

“I met with them on various occasions to discuss the common challenges faced by both Jews and Christians. But above all, as friends, we enjoyed each other’s company, we were mutually enriched through encounter and dialogue, with an attitude of reciprocal welcome, and this helped all of us grow as persons and as believers.”


Catholic News Agency

Vatican Information Service

Image: Haaretz

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