Pope Francis on Monday condemned the “barbaric resurgence” of anti-Semitism, telling a delegation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center: “I will never tire of firmly condemning every form of anti-Semitism.”
The pope told the Jewish delegation from Los Angeles, “It is troubling to see, in many parts of the world, an increase in a selfish indifference” that cares only about whatever is easy for oneself and lacks concern for others.
He said it is an attitude that believes “life is good as long as it is good for me, and when things go wrong, anger and malice are unleashed. This creates a fertile ground for the forms of factionalism and populism we see around us. Hatred rapidly grows on this ground.”
To fight anti-Semitism, the Pope said, “we must commit ourselves also to tilling the soil in which hatred grows and sowing peace instead.”
With integration and seeking to understand others, “we more effectively protect ourselves,” the pope said, therefore, it is “urgent to reintegrate those who are marginalized, to reach out to those far away” and support those who have been “discarded” and to help people who are victims of intolerance and discrimination.
Pope Francis noted that Jan. 27 would mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. He recalled his own visit to Auschwitz, in 2016, and stressed how important it is to hear “the plea of suffering humanity.”
The commemoration of “the unspeakable cruelty that humanity learned of 75 years ago,” the Pope said, should “serve as a summons to pause,” be silent and remember.
“We need to do this, so we don’t become indifferent,” he said.
Eighty years or so too late, but better late than never. Not for the victims of Auschwitz-Birkenau in the heart of Catholic Poland, who perished while another pope, Pius XII, kept his mouth shut. But possibly for the new victims, God forbid. Now, let us meditate.