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In speech to European Rabbis, Pope condemns anti-Semitism

VATICAN-POPE-PRAYER-PEACE-SYNOD2023

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - Isabella H. de Carvalho - published on 11/07/23

While lamenting the Holy Land violence, he observes that Catholic-Jewish dialogue is more than "interreligious dialogue" -- it is "family dialogue."

“The spread of anti-Semitic demonstrations, which I strongly condemn, is […] of great concern,” Pope Francis wrote to a delegation from the Conference of European Rabbis, which he met at the Vatican on November 6, 2023. The speech that the Pontiff had prepared was handed out to the participants, rather than read aloud, as he said he was not feeling well

“My first thought and prayer goes, above all else, to everything that has happened in the last few weeks,” the Pope wrote in his speech without directly mentioning Israel or Palestine. “Yet again violence and war have erupted in that Land blessed by the Most High, which seems continually assailed by the vileness of hatred and the deadly clash of weapons.” 

At the beginning of the meeting the soon-to-be 87-year-old Pontiff told his audience that he preferred to hand out his speech as he was “not feeling well.” The prepared text was published by the Holy See Press Office, which further explained that Pope Francis had “a bit of a cold” and had wanted to “greet the European Rabbis individually.”

Founded in 1956, the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) is an Orthodox rabbinical alliance that brings together more than 700 religious leaders from Europe’s main synagogue communities, according to its website.

The importance of dialogue

In his speech, the Pontiff reminded his fellow religious leaders that they are all “called to build fraternity and open paths of reconciliation for all and before all, in the name of the Almighty” in this time period marked by “violence and destruction.” 

“Not weapons, not terrorism, not war, but compassion, justice, and dialogue are the fitting means for building peace,” the Pope wrote.

The Pontiff explained that human beings “find their fulfillment in the weaving of social relationships” and are thus “dialogue itself.”

“Poised between heaven and earth, it is only in dialogue with the transcendent One and with our brothers and sisters who accompany us that we can understand and mature,” he wrote. 

“The Word of the Most High is the light that illumines the paths of life (cf. Ps 119:105): It directs our own steps to the search for our neighbor, to acceptance and to patience; certainly not to the brusque passion of vengeance and the folly of bitter hatred.” 

Jewish-Christian relations are especially important

“The dialogue with Judaism is particularly important for us Christians, because we have Jewish roots,” the Pope emphasized. “We need Judaism to understand ourselves better. […] One could say that ours is more than an interreligious dialogue. It is a family dialogue.” 

Citing John Paul II’s speech during his visit to the Synagogue of Rome in 1986, Francis said Jews are “’our beloved brothers,’ ‘our older brothers.’”

“Dear brothers, we are linked to each other before the one God; together we are called to bear witness to his word with our dialogue and to his peace with our actions,” the Pope concluded. 

Tags:
JudaismPope FrancisVatican
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