GlobalPope reaffirms special relationship between Christians and Jews amid growing anti-Semitism

Pope reaffirms special relationship between Christians and Jews amid growing anti-Semitism

Pope Francis reaffirmed on Saturday the special relationship between Christians and Jews, amid growing anti-Semitism since the start of the war in Gaza, in a letter to the Jews of Israel that, in his words, was motivated by messages from organizations Jews from all over the world.

The letter was a belated attempt to smooth things over after Francis was criticized for his initial response to Hamas’ attacks on Israel on October 7. Francis said the Holy Land has “fallen into a spiral of unprecedented violence,” some of which the pope described as “a kind of ‘miniature world war,’ with grave consequences on the lives of many peoples.”

“My heart breaks when I see what is happening in the Holy Land, because of the power of so much division and so much hatred,” the pontiff wrote. “Everyone watches with pain and fear what is happening in that land.”

In November, the pope unleashed a barrage of criticism for using the word “terrorism” in separate closed-door meetings with relatives of Israeli hostages in Gaza and Palestinians suffering from war.

Without giving details, Francis said in the letter to Israeli Jews that communications from friends and Jewish organizations around the world led him to “assure you of my closeness and affection. I embrace each of you and especially those who are consumed by anguish, pain, fear and even anger.”

He noted that Catholics “are very concerned about the terrible increase in attacks against Jews in a world where we hoped that ‘never again’ would be a phrase that new generations would hear, but now we see that the future path requires even more collaboration “close to eradicate these phenomena.”

“My heart goes out to you, to the Holy Land, to all the people who inhabit it, Israelis and Palestinians, and I pray that the desire for peace prevails in all,” he added.

Reconciliation between Jews and Catholics offers “a horizon” to imagine a future “where light replaces darkness, where friendship replaces hate, where cooperation replaces war.”

“Together, Jews and Catholics must commit to this path of friendship, solidarity and cooperation to seek ways to repair a destroyed world, working together in every part of the world, and especially in the Holy Land, to recover the ability to see in the face of each person the image of God, in which we were created,” Francis wrote.

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