Jewish human-rights group energized by meeting with Pope Francis
October 24, 2013
The head of a Jewish human-rights organization expressed enormous excitement after an October 24 meeting with Pope Francis.
“Unbelievable, extraordinary, electrifying!” said Rabbi Marvin Heir, the head of the Simon Weisenthal Center, in describing the meeting with the Pontiff. Originally founded to pursue Nazi war criminals, the Simon Weisenthal Center has expanded its mandate to fight anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance.
In his remarks to the group, Pope Francis endorsed the need to combat “every form of racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism.” He said that “when any minority is persecuted and marginalized 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.”
Pope Francis reminded the group that he had repeatedly condemned any form of anti-Semitism. At the same time he asked his visitors to be mindful of the “marginalization and real persecution experienced by Christians” in many countries today.
The papal audience for the Simon Wiesenthal Center had been arranged months in advance, and the group had originally planned to meet with Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Francis assured the group that the retired Pontiff is always “in our affectionate thoughts and prayers.”
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