Pope Francis: Attacks on Jews are anti-Semitism, as are attacks on Israel

Jewish leaders met with Pope Francis in Rome on the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate, the declaration promulgated by Pope Paul VI that led to improved relations between Jews and Catholics.


“Yes to the rediscovery of the Jewish roots of Christianity. No to anti-Semitism,” the pope said Wednesday morning during the public audience on St. Peter’s Square.


Later, Francis said, “Since Nostra Aetate, indifference and opposition have turned into cooperation and goodwill. Enemies and strangers became friends and brothers.”


The landmark document inaugurated historic changes in the Catholic Church’s relations with other faiths. Its 600-word section on Judaism – approximately one-third of the document – rejects the long leveled charge against the collective Jewish people that Jews are guilty of killing Christ.


“True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today… Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures,” that document read.


The Jewish leaders were part of a delegation of representatives of the World Jewish Congress in Rome, there for a meeting of its governing board.


The meeting focused on the situation of Jews around the world, as well as the current tensions in the Middle East, the refugee crisis in Europe and the Iranian threat.


In St. Peter’s Square, Francis effusively greeted a Jewish leader from his native Argentina.


“You’re still alive?” the pope greeted Julio Schlosser, head of the DAIA umbrella organization of Argentina’s Jewish community, giving him a hug.


Prior to the public audience, the pope received WJC president Ronald Lauder in a private audience and met with representatives of the American Jewish Committee.


The AJC issued a statement on Wednesday praising the document as having “transformed Catholic-Jewish relations.”


“AJC is proud of the singular role it played in advisement, research and creation of an environment facilitating the Nostra Aetate achievement,” said David Inlander, chairman of AJC’s Interreligious Affairs Commission.


Speaking to a mixed audience of Christians and Jews in June, Pope Francis said that over the past fifty years “we are able to see the rich fruits which it has brought about and to gratefully appraise Jewish-Catholic dialogue.”


Read More: Pope Francis: Attacks on Jews are anti-Semitism, as are attacks on Israel – Christian News – Jerusalem Post