Recalling his 2016 visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, Pope Francis yesterday condemned anti-Semitism in every form. Source: Vatican News.
The Pontiff yesterday welcomed a delegation from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre at the Vatican. The centre is a global human rights organisation that, according to its mission statement, researches “the Holocaust and hate in a historic and contemporary context”.
The Pope noted how the centre actively “seeks to combat all forms of anti-Semitism, racism and hatred towards minorities”.
The centre has maintained contacts with the Holy See for decades, said the Pope, “in a shared desire to make the world a better place in respect for human dignity”.
“This dignity is due to every person in equal measure, regardless of his or her ethnic origin, religion or social status,” Francis said.
“It is essential to teach tolerance, mutual understanding and freedom of religion, and the promotion of peace within society”.
January 27 will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The Pope recalled visiting the camp in 2016, “to reflect and to pray in silence”. “In our world, with its whirlwind of activity, we find it hard to pause, to look within and to listen in silence to the plea of suffering humanity,” he said.
“May the anniversary of the unspeakable cruelty that humanity learned of 75 years ago serve as a summons to pause, to be still and to remember,” he said. “We need to do this, lest we become indifferent.”
Expressing his firm condemnation of anti-Semitism in every form, the Pope described “an increase in selfishness and indifference” in many parts of the world.
“This creates a fertile ground for the forms of factionalism and populism we see around us, where hatred quickly springs up,” he said.
We need to address the cause of the problem by committing ourselves to “tilling the soil in which hatred grows and sowing peace instead,” he said.