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August 26, 2016 / 22 Av, 5776
News & Views
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Pope Francis Calls Jews ‘Big Brothers,’ But It Ain’t a Compliment

We're nobody's brothers. We're God's favorite children without any extra-familial affiliations.

pope with pocket jew

[Editor’s Note: It’s come to our attention that not everyone read or understood the fourth paragraph of this article, so here is a summary of that paragraph:

The Pope used theologically significant and degrading terminology to describe Christianity’s relationship with Judaism. The Elder Brother is always the castoff, always the evil one, and always replaced by the younger brother. It wasn’t an off-the-cuff statement of friendship, it was a religious and ideological attack on Jews and Judaism as illegitimate and evil and having been replaced by the “younger brother” – the central component of their “Replacement Theology”.

Unfortunately, not enough Jewish media outlets understood this insult, and as a result, misunderstood his carefully chosen words.

This also follows in the footsteps of the very public snub of the Jewish State’s Prime Minister Netanyahu during his visit to Rome, right after the Pope found the time to meet with PA Prime Minister Abbas.]

Pope Francis I has called the Jewish people the “big brothers” of the Roman Catholics, on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), the 1938 looting and violence against German Jews and their businesses that is considered the start of the Holocaust atrocities that would follow against European Jews.

Ah, the mischievous things brothers do to each other…

“We renew our closeness and solidarity to the Jewish people, our big brothers, and pray to God that the memory of the past and of the sins of the past helps us to be always vigilant against every form of hate and intolerance,” Francis told worshipers outside of St. Peter’s Square during his Sunday mass, according to the European Jewish Press.

Of course, to understand the full theological meaning of the pope’s “compliment,” kindly refer to your Jewish Bible, where the younger brother always gets the inheritance, as in Jacob vs. Eisav, David vs. his older brothers, Shlomo vs. his older brother Adoniah, etc. The older brother is always dark, brooding, jealous, and not the one favored by God.

It’s heartbreaking to see this papal putdown being copied verbatim and distributed without a comment by so many Jewish media outlets. Perhaps they should use a different questionnaire when they hire new Jewish journalism school graduates.

We’re nobody’s brothers. We’re God’s favorite children without any extra-familial affiliations. I accept the fact that the current pope is not a blood thirsty enemy of our nation like so many of his predecessors, but when he, too, spits on us, it’s not rain.

Incidentally, we have more in common with Muslims than we do with Christians; Jewish law permits Jews to enter a mosque… but not a church.

To insist that we have some kind of bond with religious Christians because of similar core values, is to propagate a terrible lie. Christians who base their views on what they call the Old Testament, don’t view Mosaic law as an abiding legal text. The Church has abolished Torah law as part of its attempt to abolish the very idea of Jewish nationhood.

More on that in my article that was published here last year: There’s No Such Thing as Judeo-Christian Values.

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

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61 Responses to “Pope Francis Calls Jews ‘Big Brothers,’ But It Ain’t a Compliment”

  1. Yes many words can be twisted and turned, what has one meaning can be subtly altered to take on another meaning… just as this article proves. “We’re nobody’s brothers.”?? Peh, who is disingenuous now? Who is turning meanings and casting away truths, eh? To say such a thing you should be ashamed. I for one am just to have read it.

  2. This is really annoying. What the heck would you like him to say?! That he’s suddenly felt pangs of teshuva and is coming to learn in Israel for shana alef and bet? He’s the Pope! Surprise surprise he’s a very frum Catholic with all of what that implies. Let him have his own theology.


  4. Eeropa moet voor israel zijn en niet voor iran de katolieke kerk moet voor israel zijn en niet voor islam

  5. A News and Views writer for The Jewish Press is walking down the street on a beautiful day. He sees the Pope who is walking towards him. As the Pope passes him, the Pope says: "Have a nice day". The Jewish Press writer thinks: "What did he mean by that"?

  6. I like the Yisroel Campbell character sticking out of the Pope’s pocket.

  7. Big brothers? He’s (they are) not even part of the family.

  8. You really have to work at making a generous statement acknowledging the intimate connection between Judaism and Christianity into a slap across the face.
    It's not a compliment, it is an acknowledgement of an historic fact which I hope will
    help Chrisitans and others understand the deep connection in valueswe both share. Thank you Pope Francis, thank you very much.

  9. Lighten up he meant well.

  10. Lighten up he meant well.

  11. Rick Puig says:

    I'd like to see you enter a mosque and a church and see which one accepts your being there. The rabbis may have made the rule, but perhaps it's time has passed.

  12. Tuvia Fogel says:

    Here is another assimilated Obama voter, as ignorant of the Torah (which he probably calls 'Old Testament') as he is eager to wallow in politically correct moral narcissism.

  13. this is mamash hisgarus b'umos – we are in galus and you need to be more respectful – the truth is, from a Torah perspective, even if we have Theological differences with those of other faiths, Hashem accepts the sincere worship even of a heathen (which Christians and Muslims are not), as long as they are good people – read Malachi chapter 1 – the last prophet of the Bible says even if we keep the true Torah as far as ritual, but we are not good people, Hashem does not accept it, but if a heathen, who doesn't know better, is a good person, Hashem accepts his worship as "a pure offering".

  14. Vladimir Weissman says:

    Easy now! Pope Francis said what he, in his job, could. The Church has been anti-semitic for 1800 out of its 1980 year history. But the danger today is not Catholic anti-semitism, but progressive liberalism, aka socialism, and islam – the unholly alliance. I have gone in and out of churches of several denominations and of several mosques. Nobody even looked at this obviously "Yiddishkind"… As for sibblings, who needs a national younger brother, when we have so many individual brothers and sisters, who care about the fate of the Jewish people more than so many borne and bred Jews…

  15. Yori Yanover wrote: "To insist that we have some kind of bond with religious Christians because of similar core values, is to propagate a terrible lie." What a coincidence. A virulent Polish anti-Semite also denied common elements in Judaism and Catholicism. He wrote:

    "The Jewish religion is not, as it is generally believed, based on the Old Testament Mosesism. Jews rejected mosesism, which was a revelation religion. They invented Judaism, which is based on Talmud. Judaism is not preoccupied with God-people relations. Its only purpose is to give Jews absolute power over the entire world. …"

    I am quoting from the very beginning of Document #3, in:


    This webpage shows three recent anti-Semititic statements that I translated from Polish to Engish. They are full of hate. Here is what I added at the end of Document #3:

    "I am a Jew and I have interacted with a large number of non-Jews, during my long life. I know that an average Jew is not very different from an average Gentile. How God's commandments are interpreted in my synagogue is probably not very different from how they are interpreted in Christian churches. Each nation has both good and bad people. It hurts to read declarations of hate; they remind me of similar declarations made by earlier mass murderers. Racist propaganda is a dangerous weapon."
    Common elements in different theologies are worth emphasizing, the more the better.

    Ludwik Kowalski, Ph.D. (see Wikipedia)

    Professor Emeritus at Montclair State University


  16. Why the temptation to slap good-willed Christians in the face? Have we not got enemies at hand in the myriads of Muslims? Aside for the misinterpretation of the Papal utterings all of the tone is supremacist.

  17. Gil Gilman says:

    I can't agree there. I think he would cross to the other side, where the moslem terrorists are lurking 😉 he is probably releasing pent up angst from all the postings by Christians on this site, who fell it necessary to share their not-very-well-thought-out encomiums with us.

  18. "We’re God’s favorite children without any extra-familial affiliations." Not very nice, and terribly arrogant, speaking for God. Better hope you're right.

  19. Gil Gilman says:

    Intended implications and resultant inferences my be very divergent realities. This little diatribe seems to be neither. In this particular case it seems wise to side with all the Yori naysayers, and I have liked most of those comments. It seems to be a blind spot for Yori to imply that he has more in common with moslems (who accept Jesus as one of their prophets) than with the millions of christians who support the permanent existence of the nation of Israel, and the rebuilding of the Temple, which should be in the heart of every Jew, the source being personal irritation. If he truly means what he is saying, I have a few islamists in my neighborhood with whom he could board. If instead, he is living in fear of assimilation himself, well that is a different matter.

  20. Sue Johnson says:


  21. Allan Dane says:

    How dare you, you whose ancestors slaughtered my ancestors. You whose ancestors removed everything Jewish from our faith and in doing so removed the power of the RUACH HA KODESH and replaced it with your pagan garbage. As it is written it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living GOD

  22. Lana Merle says:

    Wow, you are overreacting to what the Pope said The Pope's comment that we are like the elder brother was meant to acknowledge that the roots of his beliefs are in Judaism. To call that a slap against us is is far fetched, IMHO.
    . We were "chosen" to be an example of G-d's goodness to the world, not to put ourselves above everyone else.

  23. Yori, I think you're being just a tad paranoid.

  24. Joseph Colen says:

    Jews have to learn that the important thing whether younger or older is to keep rabbinical and ecclesiastical teaching in harmony with the Torah. The rest is just liberal nonsense that approves sin without limits and violations without limits.

  25. Stuart Kaufman says:

    I am appalled by what I have just read. I spend my time working closely with Christians in support of Israel and the Jewish people. Their devotion is genuine and laudable. The problem is that too many Jews cannot understand the deep faith possessed by these people. These Christians believe literally in Genesis 12:3: "I will bless those who bless you, and those who curse you I will curse." They want to be blessed. Perhaps the problem is not with them. Perhaps we Jews need to deepen our own faith in the Torah, then we might be able to understand the faith of these Christians. Of course, we cannot and should not ignore the long history of Christian anti-semitism, but it would be foolish and self-destructive to refuse to recognize that many (if not most) believing Christians have moved past that. As to Yanover's comment that we Jews have more in common with Muslims than Christians, it is so stupendously foolish that I can't think how to respond. Ever since Muhammad murdered the 50,000 Jews of Medina it has been the rule in Islam that Jews (and Christians) must either convert to Islam or be killed. The only other option, if accepted by the Muslims, is that Jews and Christians must pay the jizya, the tax upon infidels. I can only suggest that in the future someone should carefully read Yanover's copy before it is published, since he has evidenced in this column a singular lack of wisdom or sense.

  26. Leslie Green says:

    what Jew would want to enter a mosque? Not I.

  27. I am appalled as well. True Christians know God gave the land of Israil to the Jews and that they will never again be uprooted from it. Mr. Yanover is confused indeed if he thinks Muslims have more in common with Jews than do Christians. He obviously has a very big chip on his shoulder. I am not Catholic but it sounds like the Pope was simply meaning that the church of today is looking out for and standing with the Jewish people.

  28. Pauluxita Anahatha Santos says:

    do you have more in common with MUSLIMS??? really???? so maybe what you 're trying to say is that we haven't to care so much when they BLOW YOU UP?? hum … there are many kind of NAZI / FASCISM… WHAT A SHAME…

  29. The Catholic Church has thoroughly repudiated replacement theology. Yanover's interpretation of Pope Francis' simple statement is a reach at best. I know of no Jewish scholar who views the Mosiac law as legally binding on gentiles.

  30. Danny Tesvich SJ says:

    Pope Francis' words are a restatement of Pope John Paul II's words: “With Judaism, therefore, we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers, and in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.” Both popes mean only to express the great affection the Church has for the Jewish people and to affirm the many good, true, and beautiful aspects that we share in common (without denying the differences), aspects which obviously predate the Church and are thus 'elder'. Just as sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, sometimes brotherly affection is just brotherly affection.

  31. Theresa Cardinale says:

    I'm laughing at the guy who wrote this…Jews are closer to Christians than muslims because the FIRST CHRISTIANS WERE JEWS …..HAHAHAA…

  32. Dear Jewish Press,

    I know Jews utterly and totally reject the Christian concept of Messiah. My question to you is what about the of Rabbi Kadura? But how can you say you are closer to Muslims than to Christians? If you feel closer to them then your history is screwed up.

  33. Dear Jewish Press,

    I know Jews utterly and totally reject the Christian concept of Messiah. My question to you is what about the of Rabbi Kadura? But how can you say you are closer to Muslims than to Christians? If you feel closer to them then your history is screwed up.

  34. Yori Yanover's rant against Pope Francis lends more credence to anti-Semites than anything any Catholic May have ever said. The Catholic Church and most Christian denominations have been greater supporters of Israel than any US administration in living me empty. To rail against the Church, and to make the absurd claim that Muslims who claim Jews to be dhimmis to be slaughtered, only gives proof Yanover's ignorance of fact and history. As a journalist since the age of 17, it seems that Yanover never actually graduated high school,or else must take a refresher course in 20th century Catholicism and Islam,

  35. Ch Hoffman says:

    for the first time, a pope is in office who really has legitimate ties to Jews

    But Mr Yanover, drowning as he is in hatred and virulence, still rambles like a broken record

  36. Zvi Raviv says:

    The narrow (and wrong!!) view of the writer and the liberty he takes in slandering the Pope (which I met, when he conducted activities in Argentina in memory of the Holocaust and of Raul Valenberg) and Christians that are friends of the Jewish people, is unacceptable, One thing is a "Freedom of speech" and something else is "Freedom of incitement" . it is a pity that you give him a platform to express his racist ideas

  37. my opinion, I am pretty sure the pope says the same thing when he is among the muslims, that he calls them his brothers also. I trust the pope, We still as christians listen to the ten commandments given on Mt Sinai to Moses and the people of Israel. I will never trust the pope who is now the head of the roman empire instead of the ceasars they had at one time. we must put our trust in the Living G-d shalom

  38. Wow. What an over-reaction. Not a mind-reader, but everyone considers the Old Covenant the predecessor to the New Covenant, the religion of the Old Testament the predecessor of the New, etc. Most people recognize a connection between the religion of the Jews and the Christian religion. I don't think the pope was spitting on anybody (I'm not a Catholic BTW). Contrary to your statements, not all Christians reject the Torah or the Old Testament. I find your comments uninformed and frankly offensive. The core values of Jews and Christians are the same for the most part. Those values are based on the Ten Commandments. Jesus said that we are to live by every word of God. That includes the Hebrew scriptures. Not all Christians honor the Sabbath, but I know of none who do not believe that God's commandments are the basis of morality. To deny a connection is to deny reality.

  39. Gill Funnell says:

    The New testament reveals what is concealed in the Old and one cannot fully understand the New without a good knowledge of the Old Testament!!

  40. I think Francis I is by no means aware of these subtle connotations that the term 'big brother' bears for some knowledgeable commentators… And it unjust to label him altogether with former deceitful personalities.

  41. Ellen Francis says:

    So much political correctness. Someone speaks the truth and everyone squeals. Why not join hands and sing Kumbaya? Don't you realise the Pope is saying he's the little brother, and therefore the favored one? Get real, everyone, the Vatican never changes.

  42. I also think the author over-reacted, don't think the Pope meant any offense, neither directly nor by insinuation.

  43. Mike Brado Sr. says:

    The author needs to discern between The Catholic Church and Biblical Christianity. They are not the same!

  44. Dan Silagi says:

    I am an assimilated Obama voter. Got a problem with that, Tuvia?

  45. Tuvia Fogel says:

    After Kerry's last pronouncements, I would have thought YOU were the one with a problem, Dan. But no-one is as blind as those who refuse to see…

  46. Dan Silagi says:

    What does this have to do with Kerry, numbnut? This is about the Pope, and Yori Yanover's libelous comments about him. It is truly a shanda that right-wing morons like yourself call themselves Jewish. It gives a whole new meaning to the expression, "Yiddische Kopf."

  47. Dan Silagi says:

    Yanover will find out soon enough. My suspicion is that God is not amused.

  48. Yori Yanover says:

    Dan Silagi – Please behave. We don't use this kind of language in civilized discussion. If you use offensive language like that again, you'll be banned. Also, I would strongly urge you to apologize.

  49. Dan Silagi says:

    I suppose it's "civilized" to insult a progressive Pope who has nothing but nice things to say about Jews. Or to insult me by calling me a "assimilated Obama voter,:" which in fact I am, and am proud to be one. You, Yanover, are the one who needs to apologize, and the vast majority of people who posted on this thread called you out for your statements.

  50. Tuvia Fogel says:

    So now you know, Yori, that even a website like The Jewish Press crawls with 'post-Jews'. The double entendre 'our elder brothers' was already used by the Polish Pope in Rome's main synagogue, with the exact same intention as the Argentinian: to place two messages inside the same words: one for Jews who know thair Scriptures (you've been supercede by your younger brother), and one for the ignorant, politically correct media and public. Sadly, as you can see, in these sorry times the second group includes a vast number of 'Jews'…

  51. Tuvia Fogel says:

    And of course, Silagi would know…

  52. Dan Silagi says:

    So I'm a "post-Jew"? Yanover wants me to apologize to you? That'll happen when shrimps learn to whistle.

  53. Al Zimmerman says:

    What's a "Catholic May"?

  54. Eric Hartman says:

    Lenin and Trotsky and all the Bolsheviks leaders were Jews and nearly wiped out Slavic christendom. Killed 10's of millions in the Holodomor. You guys don't mention that very often.

  55. Eric Hartman says:

    Lenin and Trotsky and all the Bolsheviks leaders were Jews and nearly wiped out Slavic christendom. Killed 10's of millions in the Holodomor. You guys don't mention that very often.

  56. So much anti-Catholic hatred in this article.

  57. Jessica Naomi says:

    You lefty out the original BIG BROTHER – Cain. Is that the BIG BROTHER Pope Genocide is referring to, the brother who was rejected by G-d and killed his younger brother (as in the Constantine's Jesus Myth that Jews murdered that mythical character created by Constantine as the First Solution to the Jewish Problem)?

  58. Jessica Naomi says:

    there is no biblical Christianity without the cult of Catholics invented by Constantine as the First Solution to the Jewish problem

  59. Jessica Naomi says:

    How much does Pope Francis charge you to rent space in his head?

  60. Mike Brado Sr. says:

    I'm a Bible Believer that has been born again by the Holy Spirit of God and I wash been washed spotless by the blood of the lamb, who is The Lord Jesus Christ.

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