In a meeting with a delegation from the American Jewish Committee, Francis expressed “great concern” over “a climate of wickedness and fury” that has brought about an “outbreak of anti-Semitic attacks in various countries.” In his view, “for a Christian any form of antisemitism is a rejection of one’s own origins, a complete contradiction.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis met this morning with a delegation of 40 people from the American Jewish Committee. In his address, he said that “for a Christian any form of antisemitism is a rejection of one’s own origins, a complete contradiction.” At the same time, noting that today is International Women’s Day, he said that “we must look at the world with the eyes of a mother, with the gaze of peace”.
“Today, 8 March, I would also like to say a few words about the irreplaceable contribution of women in building a world that can be a home for all. Women make the world beautiful, they protect it and keep it alive. They bring the grace of renewal, the embrace of inclusion, and the courage to give of oneself. Peace, then, is born of women, it arises and is rekindled by the tenderness of mothers.
“Thus, the dream of peace becomes a reality when we look towards women. It is not by chance that in the account of Genesis the woman comes from the side of the man while he is sleeping (cf Gen 2:21). Women, that is, have their origins close to a heart and a dream. They therefore bring the dream of love into the world. If we take to heart the importance of the future, if we dream of a future peace, we need to give space to women.”
“At present, however, a source of great concern to me is the spread, in many places, of a climate of wickedness and fury, in which an excessive and depraved hatred is taking root. I think especially of the outbreak of anti-Semitic attacks in various countries. Today I also wish to reiterate that it is necessary to be vigilant about such a phenomenon: “History teaches us where even the slightest perceptible forms of anti-Semitism can lead: the human tragedy of the Shoah in which two-thirds of European Jewry were annihilated”.
Since a Christian cannot be anti-Semitic, interfaith dialogue is crucial. “In the fight against hatred and antisemitism, an important tool is interreligious dialogue, aimed at promoting a commitment to peace, mutual respect, the protection of life, religious freedom, and the care of creation. Jews and Christians, moreover, share a rich spiritual heritage, which allows us to do much good together.
“At a time when the West is exposed to a depersonalizing secularism, it falls to believers to seek out each other and to cooperate in making divine love more visible for humanity; and to carry out concrete gestures of closeness to counter the growth of indifference.
“n Genesis, Cain, after having killing Abel, says: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9). Before the murder that takes life, there was the indifference that cancels out the truth: yes, Cain, you really were your brother’s keeper! You, like all of us, by God’s will. In a world where the distance between the many who have little and the few who have much grows every day, we are called to take care of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the poor, the weak, the sick, children, and the elderly.”
“In serving humanity, as in our dialogue, young people are waiting to be involved more fully; they want to dream and are open to discovering new ideals. I want to emphasize, therefore, the importance of the formation of future generations in Jewish-Christian dialogue. The shared commitment in the area of educating the young is also an effective means of countering violence and opening new paths of peace with all.”