The Pope strongly spoke out against anti-Semitism
"The Church rejects all forms of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism," declared Pope Francis. The pontiff expressed his concern over the rising anti-Jewish sentiment worldwide.
The Catholic Church leader stated: “We live in a time filled with pain and anxiety, the number of wars around the world is increasing, and division is intensifying. Indeed, as I have previously declared, we are in a third world war in pieces, with serious consequences for the lives of many peoples.” The pain caused by war did not spare the Holy Land, which on October 7 “plunged into an unprecedented whirlwind of violence” – the Pope referred to the date of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas’ attack on Israel.
Pope Francis stated that his heart is torn by what is happening in the Holy Land, “because of such strong division and the great force of hatred.” He added that the whole world follows the events in the Middle East with concern and pain, sympathizing with the peoples living on the land that played a role in the history of divine revelation. Also acknowledged that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has led to divisive behavior in international public opinion, which sometimes manifests as anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism.
The pontiff emphasized that he joins his predecessors who have already made it clear that the Church rejects any form of anti-Jewish sentiment, “unequivocally condemning expressions of hatred against Jews and Judaism as akin to a sin against God.” He explained that Catholics are also concerned about attacks against Jews, which have “horrifically” increased worldwide.
The Pope noted: “We hoped that the refrain of ‘never again’ would be heard by the new generations, but now we see that much closer cooperation is needed to eradicate the roots of these phenomena.” The Pope wrote that his heart is close to the Jews, the Holy Land, and all the peoples living there, Israelis and Palestinians, and he prays that the desire for peace will prevail.
“I embrace all of you, especially those consumed by torment, pain, fear, and anger,” wrote Pope Francis. He noted that it is difficult to respond in words to the tragedy of recent months. He added that he mourns the dead, the wounded, and all those who have suffered trauma with his Jewish brothers and sisters, and asks God to end the war and hatred, “which in recurring cycles pose a threat to the whole world.”
The Pope also advocated for the return of hostages. Pope Francis quoted his words from the Israeli-Palestinian prayer meeting held in the gardens of Vatican City in June 2014 and also proclaimed that the whirlwind of hatred and violence can only be broken by a single word, “brother.” He acknowledged that it is difficult to see the future during a time of destruction, as darkness replaces light, friendship is replaced by hatred, and cooperation by war.
Pope Francis believed that Jews and Catholics, starting from the Holy Land, must work together for peace and justice, doing everything possible so that new prospects can open for everyone, Israelis and Palestinians alike. Jews and Catholics must jointly commit themselves in the areas of friendship, solidarity, cooperation in rebuilding the destroyed world, “regaining the ability to see the face of God in every person.”
“There is still much we need to do together to leave a better world for those who follow us,” Pope Francis emphasized.