CNA Newsroom, Feb 3, 2024 / 14:11 pm
In a letter addressed to “my Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel” and released today, Pope Francis lamented the “terrible increase in attacks against Jews around the world” that has taken place since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war last October.
The Holy Father’s fresh declarations on the subject were made in response to a November appeal, signed by several hundred rabbis and scholars, that called on the Catholic Church “to act as a beacon of moral and conceptual clarity amid an ocean of disinformation, distortion, and deceit” and to “distinguish between legitimate political criticism on Israel’s policy in the past and present and between hateful negation of Israel and of Jews.”
In his letter, which follows on the heels of the Holy Father’s Feb. 2 private audience with Israeli Ambassador to the Holy See Raphael Schutz, Pope Francis stated: “My heart is close to you, to the Holy Land, to all the peoples who inhabit it, Israelis and Palestinians, and I pray that the desire for peace may prevail in all.”
“I want you to know that you are close to my heart and to the heart of the Church. In the light of the numerous communications that have been sent to me by various friends and Jewish organizations from all over the world and in the light of your own letter, which I greatly appreciate, I feel the desire to assure you of my closeness and affection. I embrace each of you, and especially those who are consumed by anguish, pain, fear, and even anger. Words are so difficult to formulate in the face of a tragedy like the one that has occurred in recent months,” the pope said.