Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pope denounces the persecution of Christians and anti-Semitism

October 24, 2013 ( Pope Francis met with a delegation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a U.S.-based Jewish human rights group dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, intolerance and racism. The audience took place Thursday inside the Vatican's Clementine Hall.  

The Pope denounced the persecution of any minority group “because of their religious convictions or ethnic identity.” He specifically singled out the suffering of many Christians around the world, living under the threat of persecution. Pope Francis then called for a culture of encounter and respect. He praised the work the Simon Wiesenthal Center carries forward, and urged them to continue.

“To combat every form of racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism, to keep alive the memory of the Shoah, and to promote mutual understanding through education and commitment to the good of society.”

The Pope also asked the delegation to get young people involved and educated. He said it's important to teach youth to work together and to “reject walls and build bridges.”

After his speech, the delegation presented Pope Francis with a special gift from Jerusalem. A city, they pointed out, he will get to know on his trip to the Holy Land next year. The menorah bore a special inscription.

“The righteousness and justice of his throne's foundation, from the Book of Psalms, presented to his holiness, Pope Francis, as a token of our esteem and friendship.”

The Pope gladly accepted the gift. He then greeted each of the delegates individually. The audience was scheduled months ago, and the group had originally planed to meet with Benedict XVI.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is based in Los Angeles. Besides social and education outreach, the international NGO operates three

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