Interfaith · Religion

Christians Cannot Be Anti-Jewish or Anti-Muslim, Pope Francis Says

Pope Francis (here Cardinal  Bergoglio) with a Jewish community in Argentina
Pope Francis (here Cardinal Bergoglio) with a Jewish community in Argentina

Pope Francis continues to impress on the interfaith scene. His latest remarks on anti-Semitism among Christians should only strengthen the bonds between Christians and Jews.

In a speech today in front of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, Pope Francis said that due to the common roots shared with Jews, “a Christian cannot be anti-Semitic!”

To support his remark, Pope Francis refers to the Nostra Aetate, or the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on the Church’s relations with non-Christian religions.

The Nostra Aetate, which can be read in its entirety here, states that “God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers.”

In addition, the Nostra Aetate claims that “the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.”

Source: Religion News Service
Source: Religion News Service

In turning to the Nostra Aetate, we also have an idea of where Pope Francis stands in terms of engaging with Muslims. The Nostra Aetate also respects Islam in stating:

The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

In his speech today, Pope Francis also suggested that bridge building between Catholics and Jews “is a journey for which we must surely give thanks to God.” He ended his speech by encouraging Jews and Catholic to get involved in interfaith dialogue.

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