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Meeting with Rome's Jewish community, Pope calls for vigilance against anti-Semitism, racism

October 11, 2013

Pope Francis met on October 11 with representatives of the Jewish community in Rome, led by Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, to mark the 70th anniversary of the date when Nazis rounded up the Jews of Rome for deportation to Auschwitz. Recalling the genocidal campaign, the Pope said:

“We remember and pray for the many innocent victims of human barbarism, and for their families. It will also be an occasion to recall the importance of remaining vigilant in order that we do not regress, under any pretext, to any forms of intolerance and anti-Semitism, in Rome and in the rest of the world I have said it before, and I would like to repeat once more: it is a contradiction for a Christian to be anti-Semitic.

The “common tragedy of the war” had a devastating impact on both Christians and Jews, and “taught us to walk together,” the Pope remarked. He reminded his audience that many Christian communities, “in accordance with the wishes of the Pope, opened their doors to provide a fraternal welcome” to Jews seeking to escape the Holocaust.

The recollection of the Holocaust, the Pope continued, “could be defined as a memoria futuri, a call to the new generations not to allow themselves to merely fall into line, not to let themselves be caught up by ideologies, never to justify the evil they encounter, and not to lower their guard against anti-Semitism and against racism.”

In his greetings, the Pope observed that the Jewish community of Rome “may claim to be the most ancient in western Europe.” He acknowledged that the history of relations between Christians and Jews had “often been marred with misunderstandings and real injustice,” but said that “many decades of development of friendly and brotherly relations” have improved ties in recent years.


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