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June 24, 2013 1:52 pm

Pope Francis to Jewish Leaders: ‘A Christian Cannot be Anti-Semitic’

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Pope Francis. Photo: Casa Rosada/Wikimedia Commons 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.

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