Pope Francis receives Jewish world leaders ahead of Rosh Hashana
JERUSALEM POST – Pope Francis received a delegation of the World Jewish Congress, headed by Ronald S. Lauder, at the Vatican on Monday evening. The pope addressed the issues of world peace and the refugee crisis, specifically with regards to Europe. “Europe often forgets that it has been enriched by migrants. Europe is closing itself up. Europe is lacking creativity. Europe has a falling birth rate, and problems of high unemployment,” the pope said.
“We need to reflect on integration, which is important. The people who committed the terrorist attacks in Belgium were not properly integrated,” he said.
Reiterating comments made to Lauder at a previous meeting, the pope said a good Christian cannot be an antisemite.
He said to the Jewish leaders that Christians and Jews must speak out against brutality in the world, and that they “should go on a joint journey together to make the world more secure.”
The pope also wished the Jewish world a sweet year ahead of the High Holy Days.
Lauder, the WJC president, said in response, “We Jews have all been immigrants. We understand the situation the immigrants find themselves in.” He also added that “we pray for peace. We need to live in peace.”
The pope visited Auschwitz in July and prayed silently in tribute to 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, who were murdered there. The visit came after he visited the Great Synagogue of Rome in January and appealed to Catholics to reject antisemitism and said that the Holocaust should remind people of the need to defend human rights.
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