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October 25, 2013 4:39 pm

Pope Francis I Speaks to Simon Wiesenthal Center Delegation

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Pope Francis I. Photo: Casa Rosada/Wikimedia Commons. A sixty-member delegation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, including Holocaust survivors, Christians and one Muslim, met privately with Pope Francis I in the Vatican Thursday.

In his address to the delegation, Pope Francis commended the organization’s work in defending human rights and in fighting “every form of racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism, preserving the memory of the Shoah and promoting mutual understanding through education and social action,” according to the Official Vatican Network.

The pontiff also reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s condemnation of “any form of anti-Semitism,” adding “today I would like to underline that the problem of intolerance must be faced in its entirety: when any minority is persecuted and marginalised on account of its religious beliefs or ethnic origin, the good of society as a whole is placed in danger.”

In particular, Pope Francis highlighted the persecution of Christians as an example.

“I think with particular sadness of the suffering, marginalisation and real persecution experienced by many Christians in various countries throughout the world.”

In his remarks to the pope, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said that there is no greater virtue in Judaism than “peace or ‘Shalom’…peace dominates our prayers.” But Hier also warned that there is no greater threat to peace today than from “terrorists or rogue nations, like Iran.”.

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