Pope says ‘never again’ at Jerusalem Holocaust memorial

During the final day of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Francis made an emotional visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

On May 26, the Pope kissed the hands of half a dozen Holocaust survivors and heard their stories of persecution by the Nazis.

He left an inscription in the Yad Vashem guest book.

“With shame for what man, who was created in the image of God, was able to do.

“With shame for the fact that man made himself the owner of evil.

“With shame that man made himself into God and sacrificed his brothers.

“Never again, never again.”

The inscription is signed “Francisco” and the date.

Pope Francis crammed 10 events and five private meetings into the last day of his trip.

He visited the Al-Aqsa mosque at the Dome of the Rock, the third holiest site in Islam, and met the Chief Mufti of Jerusalem.

A Vatican spokesman said this was the first time Pope Francis had entered a mosque.

Pope Francis pleaded for “all communities who look to Abraham” to come together in tolerance and respect.

He also visited the Western Wall, the remnant of the Second Temple, which is sacred to Jews, and placed a written prayer in the wall.

In a meeting with Chief Rabbis, the Pope called the progress made in Catholic-Jewish relations “a genuine gift of God”.

Pope Francis showed just how much interfaith relations have improved by laying a wreath at the Mt Herzl memorial, the resting place of Zionism pioneer Theodor Herzl.

When Herzl met with Pope Pius X in 1904 to plead for the establishment of a Jewish state, Pius rejected the request.

“The Jews have not recognized our Lord; we therefore cannot recognize the Jewish people,” Pius told Herzl.

At the request of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on May 26 Pope Francis also stopped at a West Jerusalem memorial for victims of terrorism.

The Pope was shown the section dedicated to the victims of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish association in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.

The Pontiff also celebrated Mass in the Cenacle, believed to be the site of the Last Supper.


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