Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Wherever a "minority is persecuted and marginalised on account of its religious beliefs or ethnic origin, the good of society as a whole is placed in danger, and we must all consider ourselves affected." This applies to "any form of anti-Semitism" as well as "real persecution experienced by many Christians in various countries throughout the world."
In this morning's audience with a delegation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organisation set up to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, Pope Francis took the opportunity to renew his condemnation of all forms of discrimination, be they religious or ethnic. He also stressed the need to "to promote a culture of encounter, of mutual respect, understanding and forgiveness".
The center's participation in such meetings is "a sign of respect and consideration for the Bishops of Rome," Francis said, "for which I am grateful". In addition, for the pope expressed his respect for "the work to which you dedicate yourselves, i.e. fighting all forms of racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism, preserving the memory of the Shoah and promoting mutual understanding through education and social action."
The Holy Father went on to say, "I have repeated many times, in recent weeks, the Church's condemnation of any form of anti-Semitism. Today I would like to underline that the problem of intolerance must be faced in its entirety: when any minority is persecuted and marginalised on account of its religious beliefs or ethnic origin, the good of society as a whole is placed in danger, and we must all consider ourselves affected. I think with particular sadness of the suffering, marginalisation and real persecution experienced by many Christians in various countries throughout the world. Let us unite our strengths to promote a culture of encounter, of mutual respect, understanding and forgiveness".
"In order to build such a culture, I must underline the importance of education, which is not only the transmission of knowledge, but also the passing down of lived experience, that presupposes the establishment of a communion of life, of an 'alliance' with the young generations, always open to the truth. Indeed, we must be able to transmit to them not only knowledge about Jewish-Catholic dialogue, about the difficulties overcome and the progress made in recent decades; we must, above all, be able to transmit to them our passion for encounter and knowledge of the other, promoting the active and responsible involvement of young people. In this, shared commitment to the service of society and to its weakest members takes on a role of great importance".
In concluding his address, the Holy Father encouraged the members of the Simon Wiesenthal Center to continue "transmitting to the young the values of common efforts to refuse walls and to build bridges between our cultures and traditions of faith. Go ahead, with trust, courage and hope. Shalom!"