If we do not do this – we who believe in Him who from on high remembered us and showed compassion for our weaknesses – then who will?
Decrying a “barbaric resurgence” of anti-Semitism, Pope Francis called on Christians and Jews to “till the soil” in which hatred grows and instead to sow peace.
The pope encouraged getting to the roots of hatred in an address to representatives of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a global human rights organization that researches the Holocaust and hate in a historic and contemporary context.”
Francis said it is “troubling to see” that in many parts of the world, there is an “increase in selfishness and indifference, lack of concern for others and the attitude that says life is good as long as it is good for me, and when things go wrong, anger and malice are unleashed.”
the attitude that says life is good as long as it is good for me
He said this is “fertile ground” for factionalism and populism, where “hatred quickly springs up.”
“Once more I firmly condemn every form of antisemitism,” the pope said clearly.
But to till the soil of peace, he said, we need integration and the search to understand others.
He said it is “urgent to reintegrate those who are marginalized, to reach out to those far away, to support those ignored for lack of resources or funds, and assist to those who are victims of intolerance and discrimination.”
In this, said the Bishop of Rome, Jews and Christians have a particular mission, with their “rich spiritual patrimony.”
I feel that we, above all, are summoned, especially today, to such service: not to take the path of distance and exclusion, but that of proximity and inclusion; not to force solutions, but to initiate ways of drawing closer together. If we do not do this – we who believe in Him who from on high remembered us and showed compassion for our weaknesses – then who will?
Pope Francis noted that on January 27, we will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
He recalled his own visit there in 2016, where he spent time in silent prayer.
In our world, with its whirlwind of activity, we find it hard to pause, to look within and to listen in silence to the plea of suffering humanity. Our consumerist society also squanders words: how many unhelpful words are spoken, how much time is wasted in arguing, accusing, shouting insults, without a real concern for what we say.
Silence, on the other hand, helps to keep memory alive. If we lose our memory, we destroy our future.
May the anniversary of the unspeakable cruelty that humanity learned of seventy-five years ago serve as a summons to pause, to be still and to remember. We need to do this, lest we become indifferent.