Pope Francis says due to “our common roots” with the Jewish people, “a Christian cannot be anti-Semitic!”
The Pope was speaking to 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 Monday. The IJCIC is committed to developing relations with the Vatican’s Commission on Religious Relations with the Jews, the Orthodox Christian Church, the World Council of Churches, and other international religious bodies.
Though he acknowledged he has met “important personalities of the Jewish world,” Pope Francis admitted this marked the first time he was addressing an official group of representatives of Jewish organizations and communities. And as such, he wanted to recall that landmark Second Vatican Council declaration Nostra Aetate which he described as a “key point of reference for relations with the Jewish people.”
“The fundamental principles expressed by the Declaration,” he continued, “have marked the path of greater awareness and mutual understanding trodden these last decades by Jews and Catholics” – a path very much supported, he noted, by his predecessors.
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.”
The Pope encouraged those present to “follow this path trying, as you do so, to involve younger generations.” “Humanity,” he said, “needs our joint witness in favour of respect for the dignity of man and woman…and in favour of peace.”
Read more, including the full text of his remarks, here.