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Rabbi Abraham Skorka of Buenos Aires and Pope Francis after visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem in 2014 (CNS/Paul Haring)

In a letter addressed to “my Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel”, Pope Francis expressed his heartbreak at the violence unleashed by the Hamas attack on Israel in October and repeated the Church’s condemnation of all forms of antisemitism and anti-Judaism. Source: CNS.

“The path that the Church has walked with you, the ancient people of the covenant, rejects every form of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism, unequivocally condemning manifestations of hatred toward Jews and Judaism as a sin against God,” said the letter dated February 2 and released by the Vatican the next day.

Pope Francis met privately with Raphael Schutz, Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See, on February 2. His letter did not mention the meeting but spoke of “the numerous communications that have been sent to me by various friends and Jewish organisations from all over the world” and “your own letter, which I greatly appreciate”.

“Together with you,” he said, “we Catholics are very concerned about the terrible increase in attacks against Jews around the world. We had hoped that ‘never again’ would be a refrain heard by the new generations, yet now we see that the path ahead requires ever closer collaboration to eradicate these phenomena.”

The Pope said his “heart is torn” at the “unprecedented violence” engulfing the Holy Land since the Hamas attack and “the power of so much division and so much hatred”.

As he has done repeatedly since October, the Pope called on Hamas to release the hostages they still hold, and he expressed sympathy for all those feeling overcome by “anguish, pain, fear and even anger.”

Still, he said, people must not give up hope for peace, and “we must do everything possible to promote it, rejecting every form of defeatism and mistrust.”

“We must look to God, the only source of certain hope,” Pope Francis wrote.


Pope, in letter to Jews in Israel, condemns antisemitism as a sin (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via USCCB)