Pope rejects anti-Semitism, praises improved Jew-Muslim ties

Vatican City: Pope Francis decried anti-Semitism and praised the progress Christianity has made in its relations with Judaism and Islam since the ground-breaking Second Vatican Council half a century ago.

“The way traced out by the Vatican II text is: ‘Yes’ to the rediscovery of the Jewish roots of Christianity; and ‘No’ to all forms of anti-Semitism, and a condemnation of all insults, discrimination and persecution that stem from it,” Pope Francis said on Wednesday.

He was speaking to leaders from several faiths who attended his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

The Second Vatican Council’s Nostra Aetate (In Our Time) declaration, adopted by Pope Paul VI on October 28, 1965, was credited with revolutionising Catholic relations with Judaism.

Nostra Aetate repudiated the centuries-old charge that all Jews should be held responsible for the death of Jesus, and urged bridge-building with all other faiths.

The “mutual awareness, respect and esteem” on which the improved Christian-Jewish relations are founded “are worth just as much for relations with other religions. I think in particular for Muslims,” Francis added.