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'We Must Commit Ourselves to Ensuring Anti-Semitism Is Banned From Human Community,' Says Pope Francis

In Address to Rabbis, Underscores If You Are Christian, You Cannot Be an anti-Semite

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We are called to commit ourselves to ensure anti-Semitism is banned from the human community.
Pope Francis stressed this to delegates of the World Congress of Mountain Jews from different countries this morning in the Vatican, as he stressed the importance of friendship between Catholics and Jews, «who share the same roots,» and underscored why a Christian must never be an anti-Semite.
The Pope began recalling it is the first time that Jewish brothers and sisters belonging to their ancient tradition have come as a group to visit the Pope, and that for among other reasons, this meeting for the Pope is a source of joy.
Francis recalled his Sept. 23 encounter with a Jewish community in Lithuania, a day devoted to the commemoration of the Shoah, 75 years after the destruction of the Vilnius ghetto and the murder of thousands of Jews, and how he prayed before the monument to the victims of the Holocaust and asked the Most High to comfort his people.
So that there will be «a living memory» of the past, the Holy Father said, the Holocaust must be commemorated.
“Without a living memory, there will be no future, for if the darkest pages of history do not teach us to avoid the same errors, human dignity will remain a dead letter,” he said.
Speaking of the Shoah, the Pope also recalled the 75th anniversary of the raid on the Roman ghetto and the 80th anniversary of the Kristallnacht on Nov. 9. “The attempt to replace the God of goodness with the idolatry of power and the ideology of hatred,» Pope Francis decried, «ended in the folly of exterminating…”
“Religious freedom,» the Pontiff went on to underscore, «is a supreme good to be safeguarded, a fundamental human right and a bulwark against the claims of totalitarianism.”
Sadly, the Pope lamented, anti-Semitic attitudes are also present in our own times. “As I have often repeated, a Christian cannot be an anti-Semite; we share the same roots.  It would be a contradiction of faith and life.»
“Rather, we are called to commit ourselves to ensure anti-Semitism is banned from the human community.”
The Pontiff, who has maintained a great friendship with the Chief Rabbi of Buenos Aires, Abraham Skorka, pointed out that he has always sought to emphasize the importance of friendship between Jews and Catholics, saying it “is based on a fraternity grounded in the history of salvation and it finds concrete expression in concern for one another.”
“Together with you, I would like to offer thanks to the Giver of every gift for the blessing of our friendship, which is a reason and an impetus to mutual dialogue.”
In these times, the Pope underscored, we are called to promote and to expand interreligious dialogue for the sake of humanity.
«For now is not the time for violent or abrupt solutions, but rather an urgent moment to engage in patient processes of reconciliation,» the Pope urged, saying: «we are called to this fundamental task.»
Pope Francis concluded, praying: “I ask the Almighty to bless our journey of friendship and trust, so that we can dwell always in peace and be, wherever we find ourselves, artisans and builders of peace.
«Shalom aleichem!” he said.
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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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