Pope Francis to Jewish leaders: ‘A Christian cannot be anti-Semitic’

Pope Francis. Credit: Casa Rosada via Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) Pope Francis, meeting for the first time as pontiff with leaders from Jewish organizations and communities on Monday, told the delegation that due to “our common roots,” a Christian “cannot be anti-Semitic.”

A delegation of Jewish leaders from the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations gathered in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican to form a private audience for Pope Francis. During his remarks, the Pope praised the landmark Second Vatican Council declaration Nostra Aetate, which he described as a “key point of reference for relations with the Jewish people.”

“The fundamental principles expressed by the Declaration have marked the path of greater awareness and mutual understanding trodden these last decades by Jews and Catholics,” Pope Francis said, Vatican Radio reported.

Jewish leaders who were in attendance praised Pope Francis for continuing the legacy of his predecessors.

“Pope Francis is a very good friend of the Jewish People and we rejoice in the fact that he will continue to advance the path of his predecessors in deepening the Catholic-Jewish relationship even further,” Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s director of international interreligious affairs, said in a statement.

Posted on June 24, 2013 .