Last week, almost two years into his role as leader of the Catholic world, Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now called Pope Francis, spoke of the sinfulness of anti-Semitism in a lengthy talk with Yedioth Ahronoth’s (Ynet News) Henrique Cymerman.
“We must make it absolutely clear that anti-Semitism is a sin,” the Pope said. “One of the reasons I’m here is to remind the Christian world that our roots are in Judaism. In every Christian, there is a Jew; and you can’t be a true Christian if you don’t recognize your Jewish roots. I don’t mean Judaism in the ethnic, origin sense, but from the religious aspect. And I think interfaith dialogue must place an emphasis on the inseparable connection between the religions, on the fact that Christianity grew from within Judaism. That is our challenge.”
“For me, the real revolution is to go back to the roots, to recognize them and to understand their significance in relation to the present and the future,” the Pope told Cymerman. “The vessel for affecting real changes is identity; and in order to discover my identity, I need to know where I come from, and what my cultural and religious surname is.”
Pope Francis conveyed his message of co-existence through a story about a group of anti-Semitic priests sitting together and speaking badly about the Jewish People. In the room in which they are sitting is a picture of Yeshua (Jesus) and Miriam (Mary) hanging on the wall above their heads. “And then, suddenly,” Pope Francis says, “Jesus steps out of the picture and says, ‘Mom, let’s go, they don’t like us here either.”